Raymond Riddick.

That name that hangs magically over the local sports-legend landscape, weighted with responsibility for the proud son who carried it on so well.

Raymond E. Riddick Jr. often said the greatest gift his parents Raymond and Marjorie gave him was his father’s good name. He carried it with dignity and ease through his bountiful life.

Riddick, a former Lowell High and Yale University lineman who seemed interested in everything and made friends with everyone, died last Sunday after a brief illness. He was 63.

“We lost a good one,” said Walter Nelson, one of Riddick’s countless friends, who followed Riddick’s father as Lowell High’s head football coach.

We also lost an interesting one. Where do you begin to describe Raymond E. Riddick Jr.?

“The sporting arena is self-explanatory,” said Tim Green, a friend and former Lowell High teammate of Riddick. “But outside the sporting arena he had so many likes and passions. A fascinating person. He could sit down at a dinner table on Middlesex Street or a kingdom in Dubai and fit right in.”

“He had a great sense of humor and a wonderful laugh,” said Nelson. “He was an interesting character with a lot of different kinds of friends. A Renaissance guy who collected Kerouac and antique Buicks and could play the drums. I remember him also growing prize orchids out at the Haynes Greenhouse on Gorham Street.

Everything about the name, though, sooner or later swung back to football. Riddick’s father was a former Green Bay Packer end (a teammate of Don Hutson) and the legendary Lowell High football coach from 1947-75. He died in 1976 at age 58. He casts an enormous shadow still.

But as was noted during the son’s memorial service on Thursday at Congregation Shalom in Chelmsford, Raymond Jr. also cast a big shadow — even if the only coaching this son of a famous football coach ever did was coach his daughter Sage’s flag-football team.

Among Riddick’s multitude of talents was the long snap. Even before long-snapping became a fashionable football specialty skill, Ray Sr. made certain Ray Jr. mastered this fine art.

Riddick once told this reporter about how his dad would have him as a youngster long snap a football from one room to another to show off for coaches visiting their house. “Like I was some sort of novelty act,” Ray Jr. would joke. There was a story told during Riddick’s memorial service about him long-snapping a football through a tire at a carnival on his first try.

“Looking upside down between his legs, he could snap the ball better than Tom Brady can throw it. Bullet spirals, right on the money,” recalled George Bossi, Lowell High’s legendary wrestling coach, who was an offensive line coach under Riddick Sr. at Lowell High from 1964-78.

“I was the holder on extra-points, so I can attest to that,” said Green, who was a co-captain of Lowell High’s legendary 1967 team.

Riddick as a sophomore that year was the long-snapper as well as a backup center and defensive end. That 1967 team finished 9-0, outscored its opponents 299-12, and is generally regarded as the greatest in school history. The son later co-captained his father’s 1969 LHS squad that finished 6-3.

“Ray Junior was a football player,” said Bossi. “We had a lot of big tough kids in those days and he had a lot of good contemporaries to work with. A great era.”

Riddick went on to play at Yale, where he met Rosanne, his future wife, and helped block for Dick Jauron. From Yale he went on to get his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and thrived in the software industry.

His most recently acquired passion was University of Oregon football. His daughter Sage is a student at Oregon. The family went to the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day to see the Ducks whip Florida State, 59-20, in college football’s playoff semifinal. “The last time I talked to him he was analyzing Oregon’s offense and all their different uniforms,” said Nelson.

Though he moved to Westford several years ago, Lowell High stayed dearest to Riddick’s heart. His busy community involvement included time on the Lowell School Committee and as treasurer of the Friends of Lowell High School.

And 20 years after his father had been posthumously inducted as part of the inaugural class into the Lowell High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Raymond Jr. in 2006 joined Raymond Sr. as an LHS legend. The night of his induction Riddick recalled piling with his teammates into the showers in full uniform while celebrating a victory at Cawley Stadium. “That moment captured the spirit of youth and unbridled joy of being part of a team,” Riddick said, feeling that joy again.

Hardly a week went by without someone he met asking him if he was related to that Ray Riddick, the former football coach and Green Bay Packer. Raymond Jr. was always proud they did. “He was a very proud but humble man,” said Green. “If Raymond was in your life, you were truly blessed.”

While driving back from California with his family a few years ago, Riddick made a detour to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and received the behind-the-scenes tour and special treatment when they found out who is dad was.

The son was pretty special, too.

The line of cars on Thursday morning from Congregation Shalom in Chelmsford to Edson Cemetery in Lowell “I bet was three miles long,” said Nelson.

Follow David Pevear on Twitter and Tout @merganser10.



Raymond E. Riddick, Jr.
Of Westford, formerly of Lowell

WESTFORD — Raymond E. Riddick Jr., loving husband, father, brother, uncle, brother-in-law, friend, and devoted son of Lowell, Massachusetts, died on Sunday, May 24, 2015, after a brief illness. He was 63 years old.

Ray was a big man with a heart and spirit to match. He possessed what his wife, Rosanne, called “the friendly gene,” and his relationships with people all over the world were legendary. He maintained his friendships from elementary school, high school, college, and his professional life in the high tech industry. He made friends wherever he lived and worked to keep those friendships through the years.

Ray was born and raised in Lowell. He was the son of the late Marjorie (Haynes) and Raymond Riddick, the legendary football coach of Lowell High School. Ray played football for his dad, and was a talented center, tight end and tackle. He and his teammates are still reveling in their 1967 undefeated season and State Championship. He received many athletic honors, and among others, was named to the Boston Globe All Scholastic team and as Lowell High’s Most Outstanding Lineman. Much later, he would be named to the Lowell High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He loved everything about Lowell High School to his core. Years later, he served on the Lowell School Committee.

Many colleges were interested in Ray and not just for his prowess on the football field. Ray was an excellent student, too. He chose to attend Yale where he majored in American Studies. He maintained excellent grades while playing as the starting center on the Yale football team his junior and senior years. On the field, he perfected the long snap, a skill he later taught to many of his nephews, friends’ children, and his own daughter.

At Yale he was named the Eli’s Lineman of the Week seven times. He was also named to the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Team of the Week in 1973. In his senior year, when Yale played Cornell, Ray was awarded the game ball. Also in 1973, he was named to the All-New England team by the Boston Herald. Above everything, Ray was most proud of blocking for Dick Jauron, the All-American half-back soon to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Ray will be sadly missed especially by his freshmen year teammates, “The Bullpups,” who still meet up every year at one Yale game.

Ray’s life was more than just football and academics. At the start of his junior year, Ray met a young freshman named Rosanne Marcus, who was pioneering the women’s swimming program at Yale. Ray followed the women swimmers to all of their meets, and introduced them to the football training tables after practices. He eventually became the swim team’s first manager. Ray and Rosanne were never apart after that. They were married in 1979.

After graduation from Yale, Ray went on to graduate school at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he earned his MBA. After graduate school, Ray worked for the consulting side of Arthur Andersen, but soon embarked on a career in the burgeoning high tech field, working for such firms as Digital Equipment Corporation and Compaq, in positions that gave him the opportunity to travel the world. Many of those business colleagues became Ray’s life-long friends.

Ray became known as one of the country’s experts in software licensing. In the early ’90s, Ray was named a vice president of 800-Software, a company with headquarters in Berkeley, California. He and Rosanne loved California and the west coast lifestyle. They enjoyed going to Cal sporting events, dining in the many restaurants, touring California and its many wonders, and of course, making friends.

Their greatest accomplishment in California, though, was the birth of their daughter Sage. Both admitted that of all their awards and accolades, Sage was the best thing that ever happened to them. After a few years in California, however, Ray and Rosanne had to admit that they wanted Sage to know her large family back home. So they said goodbye to Berkeley, built a house in Westford, and returned home, much to the delight of Sage’s grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins.Back in the Lowell area, Ray spent a great deal of time on community activities. He was a board member of Community Teamwork, Inc., in Lowell, the treasurer of the Friends of Lowell High School, and most recently, was a member of the School Committee for the Nashoba Valley Technical High School. He also served as the treasurer for Lowell House, Inc. and served on its board for ten years. He helped jump start the Friends of Westford Softball. In addition to this, he also found time to coach Sage’s flag football teams and attend all of her swim meets and games. He was known to some of her teammates as “Papa Riddick,” as they loved his funny sayings, his fierce loyalty to their teams, and especially his fabulous lasagna meals on nights before competitions.

Most recently, Ray served as vice president of business development at Data Compliance Partners and then as executive director of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation.

Ray will be remembered as a great collector, notably of antique Buicks and Buick parts. He would scour the country searching for treasures to buy and sell, and last summer, he drove on a solo trip across country attending swap meets, meeting friends from the car world, and visiting Sage in Oregon, where she was going to summer school. He also loved and acquired collections of his favorite childhood books, vintage musical equipment, as well as memorabilia from his father’s years at Fordham University and as a team member on the Green Bay Packers.

Ray was a huge Packer, Patriot, and Red Sox fan, but recently adopted the Oregon Ducks, since Sage is a proud student at the University of Oregon. He enjoyed dissecting their offense on TV and on trips to games in Eugene. One of the family’s adventures was their attendance at the 2015 Rose Bowl game to watch the Ducks play – and win the National Championship Semi-final.

Ray’s loving family, besides Rosanne and Sage, includes his sister Marjorie Miller (brother-in-law Frank Miller who predeceased Ray) and her sons, Matt, Jon, and Paul, and sister Betty Dick, of Lowell, her husband Ed, and their sons, Barry, Brian, and Christopher. He also leaves his in-laws, Abe and Jean Peck, George and Nancy Marcus, Saul and Beverly Marcus and nieces and nephews, Abby, Joel, Naomi, Hillary, Harry J., Hayley, and Harry B. Everyone will miss Ray beyond words.

RIDDICK — In Cambridge, May 24, 2015. Raymond E. Riddick Jr., 63, of Westford. Beloved husband of Rosanne (Marcus) Sage. Services for Ray will be held on Thursday, May 28, 2015, at 9:30 a.m., at Congregation Shalom, 87 Richardson Road in Chelmsford, with burial to follow at the Edson Cemetery in Lowell. Shiva will be held and Memorial prayers will be said on Thursday night, 7 p.m., at Ray and Rosanne’s home in Westford. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Ray’s memory may be made to his father’s scholarship fund for Lowell High students: The Raymond E. Riddick Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Enterprise Bank, 222 Merrimack Street, Lowell, MA 01852, or to the Arthritis Foundation at http://www.arthritis.org/massachusetts/. Arrangements in the care of MORSE-BAYLISS Funeral Home, 122 Princeton Boulevard, Lowell. Funeral Directors, Frederick W. Healy and Walter F. Bayliss Jr. Please visit Mr. Riddick’s memorial tribute at www.morsebaylissfuneralhome.com.