Sunday, November 30, 2003

David Riddle, dentist who made many smile

Finneytown doctor worked at city clinics

By Joe Wessels
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FINNEYTOWN - If Tom Bove is in charge when fireworks explode in the night sky, he's going to make sure his friend's name is on at least one casing.

David Riddle and Tom Bove spent most of the past 10 years handling fireworks shows around Greater Cincinnati. The licensed "shooters" only charged enough to cover their expenses. Giving pizazz to events was their hobby.

Dr. Riddle died Tuesday after a four-year battle with cancer. The Finneytown resident was 48.

This past summer, as Dr. Riddle's cancer was making him weaker and he had to miss a show at St. Vivian Church, he asked Bove, his friend of 33 years, to write his name on a casing.

Dr. Riddle wanted to make sure he "could be there, too," Bove said Saturday.

The next day, as Bove combed the grounds in daylight to make sure nothing dangerous remained, he found something amazing.

"Damned if I didn't find that duct tape with his name on it," Bove said. "It went up and it came back down. From now on, I'm going to always have a shell with his name on it. He'll always be with us."

But putting on fireworks displays wasn't the only way Dr. Riddle gave back to his community. Though he was a dentist, he chose not to open his own practice. Instead, he chose to take a less financially lucrative job working in community health centers, said his wife, Lynda Roberts-Riddle, also a dentist.

"He felt he was giving something back. And he wanted to spend the time with his family and he thought a practice would take away from that," she said. "But truly, he felt that was his way to give back to the community."

Dr. Riddle worked at three separate City of Cincinnati clinics during his 18-year career. Though clients who came to these clinics generally had severe problems because they had little or no previous dental care, this didn't matter to the doctor. "He made them feel comfortable, he made them feel respected - no matter where they were (in life)," his wife said.

Other survivors include his daughter, Aliya; his son, Alex; his mother, Louie Williams of Mount Airy; three sisters, Marion Crutcher of Northside, Julie Neil of Forest Park and Brenda Carter of College Hill; and two brothers, Tony Riddle of Sayler Park and Kenneth Neil of Louisville.

Visitation is 4-5:30 p.m. today at Thompson, Hall & Jordan Funeral Home in Forest Park. A memorial service will be 11 a.m. Monday at St. Vivian Church in Finneytown. Memorials can be sent to Angelflight Mid-Atlantic Cooperative, 4620 Haygood Road, Virginia Beach, Va. 23455.


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