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Willie “Gene” Riggs was born, the son of Lee and Erdie Heriford Riggs, on March 12, 1928, in Thornfield, and departed this life on Jan. 29, 2005, in Springfield.
Gene spent most of his early years in the Thornfield community working and going to school. It was there that he met his future wife, Deatta Johnson, and they married in 1949, in Yakima, Wash. Gene and his family returned to the Ava area where they raised their two daughters, Carol and Sandy. He operated a trucking service between Springfield and Ava for several years and continued a delivery service after moving to the Springfield area. After retirement Gene enjoyed watching NASCAR, traveling, working in his yard and feeding the local birds.
Gene was also a charter member of Elks Lodge #2777 in Ozark, which he helped establish in 1992.
Gene is survived by his companion of 18 years, Roberta Hodges, of Springfield; his two daughters, Carol Hosier, Dallas, Texas, and Sandy and Richard Anglin, of San Diego, Calif.; three grandchildren, Jeff and Megan Hosier, Dallas, Texas, and Brian Anglin, of San Diego, Calif.; one brother, Ralph Riggs, of Moline, Ill.; and a sister, Maxine Johnson, also of Moline, Ill.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Quincy and Norman Riggs, and one half brother, Cleo Herd.
Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Clinkingbeard Chapel, Ava, with burial following in the Thornfield Cemetery