David Lee Riggs Jr.
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January 1956 – June 6, 2021
David Lee Riggs Jr., 65, a longtime local journalist and journalism teacher, died June 6, 2021, after a short battle with cancer.
He was born in 1956, to Ariel (Crook) Riggs and David Riggs, in Spokane, where he lived until his family moved to Seattle in 1965. He graduated from Nathan Hale High School in 1974, then attended Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, Ore. He graduated from Oregon State University in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism.
Dave worked for the Skagit Valley Herald and the Anacortes American from 1980 to 1981, when he began work as a sportswriter for The Wenatchee World. He joined the World’s copy desk in 1990. Dave left the Wenatchee World in 2009 when he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Heritage University. He was a substitute teacher until 2011 when he was hired as the journalism teacher at Wenatchee High School. He was the advisor for the Apple Leaf student newspaper and the WaWa student yearbook.
He loved “his kids” and always said he was privileged to work with amazingly talented students. Dave loved his journalism career but said his teaching years were the best.
Before his passing, friends compiled memories from his students. Among them:*
— “After all these years, I still feel lucky to have had such a determined, dedicated, kind teacher during such an impactful time in my life.”
— “You cannot imagine the great deal of good you’ve done, or the amount of joy you’ve created. Thank you for all of it. I love you.”
— “I am now an elementary teacher and try my best to live up to Mr. Riggs’ glowing example.”
— “He has a way of making everyone feel important.”
— “I credit you as my reason for getting through the hardest year of my life.”
— “Thank you so much for caring about every single student you’ve had like they were your own kid.”
— You were always there for me, always told me you were proud of me, always put a smile on my face.”
— In the chaos of Wenatchee High School, I felt peace walking into third period Apple Leaf and seeing your smiling face.”
In 1983, Dave married Dolores “Dee” Anslow and they made their home in Wenatchee where his wife was also employed as an editor and reporter at The Wenatchee World.
Dave and Dee retired in 2017 and immediately went off to Australia and New Zealand, which was Dave’s dream trip. Other travels took them to Switzerland, Bonaire, Grand Cayman and Costa Rica and the national parks in Utah.
Dave was past president of a nonprofit women’s pregnancy care organization, and past president of the Wenatchee Valley Men’s Softball Association. For several years, he ran local men’s softball and boy’s baseball tournaments. He also was secretary for the Washington Journalism Education Association, and taught journalism at conventions and summer camps. In 2016, he was named one of four Distinguished Advisers in the Dow Jones News Fund National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year competition.
Dave was a lifelong Christian and a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic in Wenatchee.
Dave was preceded in death by his son, J.D. Riggs, in 2012. Survivors include his wife, Dee; his daughter, Anna Riggs, of Redmond; and his brother, Brian, of Morton.
A funeral Mass will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 24, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Wenatchee. A celebration of life will follow at 3 p.m. in the church hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the J.D. Riggs Memorial Scholarship Fund through the Community Foundation of North Central Washington (cfncw.org).