Staff

John Franklin Ridings

John Franklin Ridings, 37, of Denton, died March 10. A groundskeeper since 2016, he loved nature and plants. During his life, he attended military school, worked as a pipefitter and long haul trucker, and was a Master Gardener in Denton County. While studying psychology at UNT, he was a McNair Scholar. His family is especially appreciative of UNT employees who donated sick time during his illness.

Steven Ross Thompson

Steven Ross Thompson, 34, of Denton, senior food service manager for catering, died July 8 in Denton. Steven, who was a psychology major at UNT from 2004 to 2008, worked his way up from dishwasher as a student employee in 2004 to chef garde manger (pantry chef) for UNT Dining Services. He mentored other workers, and his food was known for its beauty and deliciousness. He enjoyed spending time with his family, especially in at his parents’ home in the East Texas Piney Woods. Services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, July 13, at Rader Funeral Home in Longview.

Alvin Pair

Alvin Pair, 87, of Denton, died Dec. 13 in Plano. Known as “Buddy,” he retired from UNT in 1992 as supervisor of the grounds department, where he was widely respected. He excelled at dominos and horse riding. He had just celebrated his 65th wedding anniversary.

John Franklin Ridings

John Franklin Ridings (‘10), 37, of Denton, died March 10 in Denton. A groundskeeper since 2016, he loved nature and plants. During his life, he attended military school, worked as a pipefitter and long haul trucker and was a Master Gardener in Denton County. While studying psychology at UNT, he was a McNair Scholar. His family is especially appreciative of UNT employees who donated sick time during his illness.

Rodney Mitchell

Rodney Mitchell ('96, '99 M.P.A.), 45, who served as associate dean of students and had worked at UNT since 2001, died Feb. 26 in Denton. He began his career as a management assistant in the Denton city manager's office and then began working at UNT, where he had earned degrees in applied arts and sciences and public administration. He served as assistant director for academic development for Upward Bound and as director of TRIO Upward Bound and student support services before being named associate dean of students in 2013. As associate dean, he took an active approach to student services. He established the UNT Food Pantry; helped students navigate problems through the Seeking Options and Solutions program and other intervention programs; and oversaw several programs designed to keep students in college. His work as president of the Residence Hall Association and College Inn hall director led to the association naming the Rodney T. Mitchell Advocate of the Year award in his honor. He was an avid Mean Green football fan and a lifetime member of the UNT Alumni Association. His wife, Melanie ('98, '05 M.Ed.), works in the UNT Learning Center. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 2, at Singing Oaks Church of Christ, 101 Cardinal Drive in Denton. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 3, also at Singing Oaks.

Edmond Williams

Edmond G. Williams, 59, of Krum, died May 9 in Denton. He worked in the facilities department at UNT for 28 years. He will be remembered as an outgoing man who gave nicknames to his close friends.

Margaret King

Margaret King (’10 M.S., ’13 M.S.), Haltom City :: She worked as a custodian at UNT, had earned master’s degrees in information science and computer education and cognitive systems, and was a graduate student in interdisciplinary studies. She worked in the U.S. Air Force for 30 years, including the Naval Aviation Depot from 1974 to 1997 in Virginia and then at the Defense Contract Auditing Agency in Fort Worth from 1997 to 2003. Services with full military honors are scheduled at 11:30 a.m. May 16 at DFW National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Pkwy in Dallas.

Glenda Cole

Glenda Mae Cole, 71, died Aug. 3 in Denton. She had worked as an administrative coordinator in the Institute of Applied Science, retiring after 28 years with UNT. She was honored with a staff contribution award for her outstanding contributions to the university. She loved to cook and play piano, but her favorite way to spend her spare time was with her grandchildren.

Venita Williams

Venita Williams, 64, died Jan. 1 in Denton. She was a native of Denton and worked in the printing department on campus from 1995 to 2005. Her friends remember her as a thoughtful person who was always there when needed.

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