Tribute for Mary B. Riggs (Guest book)
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Welcome to the memorial page for

Mary B. Riggs

February 15, 1945 ~ February 1, 2018 (age 72)
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Message from Anita Rossell
November 15, 2018 6:18 PM

Mary was my mentor as I am sure she was for countless young educators trying to understand the system and trying to connect with their students. She always had an encouraging word and just refused to give up on anyone. Even when she was going through her cancer ordeal back in 1997 she was there to encourage me personally.

I moved away to the South Bay several years ago yet was fortunate enough to see her on a couple of occasions. Our conversations took twists and turns and we would lose track of time. Theres was always laughter, even at the most unexpected moments. I could pour out my heart to Mary or ask her for advise. She was so kind, honest and truly patient. She was wise and sometimes silly and had the sweetest smile and the softest eyes. Mary had a gift for teaching and connecting with students at a profound level. As a young teacher, I was awed by her authenticity, her intellect and her seemingly endless patience. Her family meant everything to her. She took so much pride and care in speaking about each and everyone of them. One could get a real sense of who they were and how much she loved them.

She was an amazing storyteller, who could captivate you in such a way that you literally lost any sense of time. I could listen to her for hours on end. After spending an hour with Mary, I felt spiritually and emotionally lifted.

I remember the anecdotal cartoons she used in her high school classroom to entice students to become a part of her teaching experience. Although the years went by, I often thought about my friend. She made me fall in love with teaching and encouraged me to do my best. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have known her.

RIP Mary and may God continue to comfort your beautiful family.
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A candle was lit by Anita Rossell on November 15, 2018 5:41 PM
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A candle was lit by Marilyn Zick on March 3, 2018 2:54 PM
i met mary 35 years ago at adult school. we were both teaching ESL at the time. mary was so knowledgable and fun...she was the go-to person if you had a question. i'm so glad that i was able to have lunch with her a couple of months ago...she was frail, but still as witty and sharp as ever!
larry, i'm so happy to know that you feel mary's presence still. bryan and i offer our condolences to you and your family... i know that you will all be a comfort for each other.
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A candle was lit by Joan and Bill Gunning on February 9, 2018 5:33 PM
Message from Larry & Kathleen Turner
February 8, 2018 12:42 PM

Larry, Cathy, Jenny, Brian and David. We extend our condolences to all of you. Mary had a quick smile and a very gracious manner to her friends and neighbors. We will offer our St. Maximilian community prayers for Mary this weekend at mass.
Message from Larry Riggs
February 8, 2018 2:09 PM

Thank you, Larry and Kathleen. She was a warm, kind, and loving person. I miss our Christmas get-togethers at the Graves' home when we would see you, but nothing stays the same. Sometimes you wish time could stand still, especially when you see the one you love going through progressively more difficult times. We miss you over here at St. Julie's and you're always welcome to come back--we are a forgiving parish. Joking aside, Father Paul has been so helpful and accessible in recent weeks. We are so grateful he was able to visit Mary the day before she died. Thanks again for your condolences. I have tasked Mary to be my guide during the time I have left; I hope she is up to the task, because I know I will occasionally challenge her.
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A candle was lit by The Beaman Family on February 6, 2018 7:59 PM
Dear Larry,
A part of our neighborhood heart is gone and we are so terribly sad. We pray for your comfort and strength. We are thinking of your children and their families. What a beautiful wife, mother, and grandmother you all were privileged to have. Mary will always be thought of with love and affection by us.

Message from Larry Riggs
February 8, 2018 11:01 AM

Thank you, Max and Jean. She was a wonderful partner. I went on the Rate My Professors website. As educators, I'm sure you're familiar with it. Among the 27 comments posted there, the word "sweet" appeared in five of them. She was a role model for so many people.
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A candle was lit by Deborah, Gabe, Brandon & Rachel Baldazzi on February 6, 2018 12:40 PM
Message from
February 6, 2018 10:07 AM

Mary was such an amazing woman who will be missed by all who were blessed to know her. Our deepest condolences to Larry and all the family.
Message from Larry Riggs
February 8, 2018 11:11 AM

Thank you, John and Chris. A person's greatest legacy is the ones you leave behind, and her love, kindness, and sympathy for the underprivileged are reflected in our four children. (I'm not sure what I gave them!} Enjoy the next part of your life in Meridian, ID, where Mary and I lunched with her three cousins at the Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery a couple years ago..The next time you're there, raise a glass in Mary's memory.
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A candle was lit by John and Chris Murray. on February 6, 2018 10:05 AM
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A candle was lit by Jim and Jaye Hogan on February 5, 2018 8:54 PM
Message from Jim and Jaye Hogan
February 5, 2018 8:54 PM

Mary touched many lives as attested by her tributes, especially her career as a teacher. Her picture and that warm smile say it all. Our deepest condolences to Larry and family.
Message from Larry Riggs
February 8, 2018 11:40 AM

Thank you, Jim and Jaye. Your condolence brings back memories. Jim, when Litton sent you and me to Freiburg, Germany in 1998 for the summer, Mary was undergoing monthly chemo treatments, and remained in California. When in 2001, Litton recognized us for our brilliance once again and sent us there for a number of months, both Mary and Jaye were able to join us in Freiberg. Before Jaye came, you and I would often sit in the bar and talk, and one of your favorite topics was your first grandson, Isaiah, who had been born only a few months before you were sent to Germany. He's now an upperclassman in high school. Family is so important to all of us, and there's no question that it hurts deeply when someone dear to you departs this life. Thanks for remembering Mary.
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A candle was lit by Bo Freeman on February 5, 2018 7:38 PM
My deepest condolences to all of you. I started out as friends with Cathy. I remember when I met Mary. Such a light. Such a heart. The Riggs family all carry that beautiful light. I remember visiting the neighbors while I was at the house with the family. I had recently had a bad car accident and was not feeling well. Mary saw me from sitting across the room and sent me to her healing room to rest. Such a lovely soul. I am sending all of you hugs, prayers and love.
Message from Larry Riggs
February 8, 2018 12:08 PM

Thank you, Bo. I am so fortunate having Cathy living here. She is a "take charge" kind of person, but she does it in such a friendly, loving way. Cathy and I share the grief that comes from losing a mother and a spouse, but so far we're doing OK. We both miss Mary deeply.
Message from Pamela Whittenbury
February 5, 2018 12:42 PM

Mary - we will miss you so - but feel you smiling down on us right now. Love and light to my favorite angel!
Message from Larry Riggs
February 8, 2018 12:20 PM

Pam, I'm relying on her to look down and guide me on the right path during my remaining days.
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A candle was lit by Pamela Whittenbury on February 5, 2018 12:41 PM
Message from My sincere sympathies. Mary was an angel here on earth.
February 5, 2018 12:39 PM

My sincere sympathies. Mary was an angel here on earth. She made the best 7 bean salad for our JPL get together's and her Christmas letters were a work of art and love. She was very kind and generous to me when I visited in the UK!
Message from Larry Riggs
February 8, 2018 12:19 PM

Pamela, our shared time at JPL brings back fond memories. I wonder if they still have bowls of ice cream for 30 cents in the cafeteria there. I remember carrying a huge 5 MB Winchester disk with one arm as I pedaled a bike from one building to another. I told people I lived in La Canada, where the richer you were the higher up on the hill you lived. We lived right at the bottom. While there, our number 3, Brian, was born at Verdugo Hills Hospital.
Mary and I recently talked about the time you visited us later in the UK, and how alert and motherly you were when we had to cross a street with our then three kids.
All these sweet memories are coming back. Thanks for remembering Mary with your kind words.
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A candle was lit by Pamela Whittenbury on February 5, 2018 12:36 PM
Expression of Sympathy

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A Traditional Funeral Basket was ordered on February 5, 2018

Message from Kate and David Murray
February 5, 2018 10:10 AM

Mary was one of the loveliest and kindest people David and I have known. Although it has been many years, we enjoyed the times we spent together, felt lucky to know Mary and Larry, and have always appreciated hearing from them through the Christmas letter. All our love and warm thoughts we are sending you way.
Kate and David Murray
Message from Dave and Kate
February 8, 2018 12:34 PM

Thanks so much. Two memories come to mind. When you and I were working at System Development Corporation in Camarillo in the early 1980s, Mary and I visited your home, where I saw my very first Macintosh computer. I could be wrong, but wasn't Kate putting recipes on it? Second, in 1996, when Mary and I were standing in line to see the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, Dave suddenly appeared and looked at me and said "Larry Riggs?", proving you can run but you can't hide. You two and Mary and I and our 16-year old son Dave [two Daves!] had dinner that night. That's the last time we saw you in person, but I am so delighted we have been able to stay in touch with our annual Christmas missives. Thanks for your kind words regarding Mary.
Message from Covington, KY
February 4, 2018 2:28 PM

May the good Lord embrace Mary and reward her for all the good she has been and done for so many! Her visit to St. Julie Mission in Uganda in 2008 was truly a blessing for all of us. I pray for all left behind, but following in her footsteps. May you meet again!
Message from Larry Riggs
February 8, 2018 1:36 PM

I was fortunate to travel to Buseesa, Uganda, in February 2008, to visit the schools there supported by the Sisters of Notre Dame, which has four provinces in the U.S. among them one in Covington, KY, and one in Thousand Oaks, CA. I was the computer guru and showed the students some capabiliities of computers. Although Mary was unable to be with me, she was there in spirit. Her love transcends time and space. At the time, she was sharing my experiences with her students at CSUN, where one of the upper division classes she was teaching was "Language Acquisition of Chicano/a and ESL Speakers," of interest to anyone living in a multilingual environment. I remember Skyping her from Africa while walking around the lobby of a hotel, showing her details of where I was using the camera above the laptop screen--what a rich experience! I enjoyed my trip and since then Mary and I talked about returning there together, but the Lord had other ideas. She was a good woman and I and so many others will miss her.
Message from Barbara Shannon
February 4, 2018 10:37 AM

I told Mary on Tuesday she was one of the nicest people I've ever known. I've known Mary since we were both teaching at the Adult School campus, long before Cathy was my high school drawing student. In recent years, Mary's marvelous personality added to the ambience of my painting classes. She was known as the fastest landscape artist ever. She regaled us with stories from family and teaching experiences to law enforcement adventures to discoveries. Mary was a joy to be around and her loss will be felt forever. God bless. - Barbara Shannon
Message from Larry Riggs
February 8, 2018 1:55 PM

Barbara, you mention one of Mary's passions: painting. Our home and Cathy's work has many of her works on display. Toward the end, she could not muster the strength to go to painting class, and that saddened me. I had taken her to some classes before then as you know, but at some point she just stopped. Her paintings are everywhere in our home but I have my favorites, among them the lion over our mantelpiece and her painting of a famous Scottish bridge we had visited in 2012: see (The link is from Mary's 2016 Christmas letter: Thank you for your kind words and for all the skills that you have passed on to Mary. You have been friends with Mary and Cathy for decades. I shall be in touch with you in coming weeks regarding constructive disposition of Mary's unused painting supplies.
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A candle was lit by Jeannine, Jeff, and Eli Blakefield on February 4, 2018 10:27 AM
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A candle was lit by Barbara and Ron Shannon on February 4, 2018 10:27 AM
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A candle was lit by Marion JC Armijo on February 3, 2018 9:01 PM
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A candle was lit by Toni and Steve Friedman on February 3, 2018 8:22 PM
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A candle was lit by "Sister" Sue on February 3, 2018 4:15 PM
Message from Betsy Potts
February 3, 2018 3:46 PM

Mary was a joyful, love-filled, brilliant woman. Her beautiful smile and positive attitude radiated from her. None of that changed with cancer. Her courage and faith deepened, but the essential Mary remained. She touched everyone who knew her.

What a privilege and a blessing to have known her.

Our deepest condolences to her family.

Betsy and Chuck Potts
Message from Larry Riggs
February 3, 2018 9:23 PM

Thank you for your kind words, Betsy and Chuck. Mary and I had a great ride together. We had hoped it would be longer, but I guess the Lord needed her a bit sooner than we had expected.
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