Will L. Riggen


Posted: Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Former Juneau resident Will Riggen, 78, died Jan. 1, 2005, of multiple myeloma.

He was born April 1, 1927, and raised in Spokane, Wash. After graduating from Rogers High School in December 1944, he served in the Navy as an electrician until the end of World War II. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Washington State University and completed two years of doctoral studies at the University of Oregon. He met his wife, Jennie (also a teacher), while teaching music in Wilbur, Wash. He taught and served as principal in the Washington communities of Farmington, Anatone, Prescott, and Glenwood.

In 1966, the family moved to Ketchikan, where he served as assistant superintendent of the school district for eight years. The family next moved to Juneau where he served in the same capacity. He also served as superintendent of the Yukon Flats, McGrath and Kake school districts. Will and Jennie returned to Washington in 1986, and he served as school principal in Endicott before retiring and returning to Spokane.

Throughout his life, he demonstrated his love and support of music, singing in barbershop quartets and serving as choir director and community symphony director in several communities. He also enjoyed woodworking, home remodeling, computers and electronics. His family says, "He will be sorely missed."

He is survived by his beloved wife of 53 years, Jennie; daughters, Kit McLaughlin of Portland, Ore., (sons Shaun and Brendan), Anne Colella, of Prescott, Ariz., (husband Frank, sons Tony, Dominic, and Alexander), Mary Riggen-Ver, of Juneau, (husband Joe, children Aaron, Lydia, and Anastasia), and Nancy Shields, of Spokane Valley, Wash., (sons Benjamin and Nicholas); and his sister, June Klump.

A private service to honor Will's life was held on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2005. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Spokane Valley office of Cancer Care Northwest.

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