A Tribute to Rhonda A. Ricks, Buffalo’s First Minority Female Developer

Two years ago, Rhonda A Ricks, PhD., the head of Buffalo’s first certified minority and woman owned development firm, was joined by the community and top state officials in celebration of   the opening of Parkview Apartments; an $8 million project that converted the vacant Public School 59 building in the East Side community  across from MLK Park,  to 26 units of affordable apartments for low-income residents.

It was a dream come true for the visionary young developer, who saw the need to create  safe, affordable places to live for all city residents.

Last week, on June 19, Dr. Ricks lost her long battle with cancer at the age of 56.  She  made her transition not long after the start of  the next  phase of her $50 million  signature project “The Forge on Broadway”  into a mixed-income development with 158 affordable  apartments. The family received friends Wednesday, June 26,  at True Bethel Baptist Church, 907 E. Ferry St., with a beautiful celebration of life .Bishop Darius G. Pridgen officiated. 

Aside from being president and CEO of R+A+R Development, Dr. Ricks founded Inclusion Development Associates Inc., which helped monitor large-scale public projects to make sure they met requirements for hiring woman and minority owned firms. She was compliance monitor on Buffalo’s $1 billion dollar school reconstruction project and before that did community outreach for LPCiminelli, helping the company win the contract for the restoration project.

-She Will be Missed by Many-

Dr. Ricks was know by many as a loving and proud daughter, mother, grandmother and sister. In the city of Buffalo there has been an outpouring of love and response from the community on social pages from friends, colleagues and people she inspired.  NYS Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes  wrote on her Facebook page: “I am devastated by this loss and will miss this beautiful, intelligent and God-fearing woman …I know she’s in a better place.”  Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown praised her in a Facebook post as   “a pioneer, a barrier breaker and an inspiration…Her legacy will live on through her projects.” During the services held on Wednesday Mayor Brown declared June 26 Rhonda Ricks Day in the city of Buffalo.

 -A message  from the Ricks Family-

“Even though we already miss Rhonda we know there are brighter days ahead. As we reflect on the life of our loved one, it is evident that she touched so many people and made an impact on the community and the City of Buffalo. Because Rhonda passed your way so many of you have touched us individually and collectively as a family. The outpouring of love that has been shown and extended to us in so many ways are far too many to count or name. We are strengthened and encouraged and hopeful by your kindness. Our family is eternally grateful for everything that has been done to lift us during our sadness. We pray that God’s favor and blessings enrich the hearts of each of you. Our Love, The Ricks Family.

Rhonda is the loving mother of Domonique E. Washington and Denzell M. Washington; grandmother of D’Angelo M. Washington; cherished daughter of Mary E. Ricks-Stephens and the late Clarence H. Ricks; dearest sister of Elett D. Ricks-Chambers, D. Stephanie Ricks-Albert and Clarence H. “Bud” Ricks; and niece of Dolores G. Smith. She is also survived by a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and cherished friends.

Final arrangements were entrusted to THOMAS T. EDWARDS FUNERAL HOME, INC.  Send Your Condolences to www.thomastedwardsfuneralhome.com