Elizabeth ``Rusty'' Rigger, 72, volunteer for charitable causes

June 09, 1996|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Elizabeth "Rusty" Rigger, a volunteer in charitable causes and familiar figure at community affairs in Cockeysville and Timonium, died May 28 at Johns Hopkins Hospital of complications from hepatitis. The Cockeysville resident was 72.

A native of Baltimore and a 1941 graduate of Forest Park High School, Mrs. Rigger worked with her husband, Ira C. Rigger, on many entrepreneurial projects, including the founding and operation of Padonia Park, a recreational facility in Cockeysville that began as a swim club.

"No matter where she walked, somebody always spoke to her," Mr. Rigger said. "She was the aura of friendship."

She often was a host for parties to raise money for charities that help the blind, and was a member of the Dulaney Valley Woman's Club and the Lioness Club of Cockeysville/Timonium.

"She was very philanthropic," said Elaine Coniff, a member of both organizations and a friend for more than 40 years. "She was strictly a lady, and always the first to volunteer for anything."

Friends said that even as Mrs. Rigger's health deteriorated in recent years, she continued to work hard for charitable affairs.

"She never dwelled on her illness, never complained about her illness," Mrs. Coniff said. "She even came out of the sick bed for some of the parties."

Jane Sheats, a longtime friend, called Mrs. Rigger "selfless."

"She would always be the first to say, 'Come to my place,' for anything," she said. "And when we did, we always had a good time."

Some of Mrs. Rigger's other activities over the years included serving as a Cub Scout pack den mother and, for 17 years, leading a Girl Scout troop. She also was active in the PTA of county schools her children attended.

"As great as her tangible achievements are, the intangible exceed them," Mr. Rigger said. "She made her home home to everyone who approached the door. Untold numbers of kids from all over the world came to her house as freely as they went to their own.

"Any meal might have an extra participant, and she made them feel like they were doing us a favor."

Surviving, in addition to her husband of 52 years, are a son, Fred Rigger of Cockeysville; four daughters, Pam Rigger of Cockeysville, Betsy Lynch of Columbus, Ohio, Peggy McClure of Pasadena and Kathy Angstadt of Timonium; and nine grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Padonia Park, 12006 Jenifer Road.

Donations may be made to the Rusty Rigger Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Cockeysville-Timonium Lions Club, Bob Summers, Treasurer, 406 Ivy Church Road, Timonium 21093.

Pub Date: 6/09/96

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