For­mer QA Commissioner William Riggs dies

Record Observer - - Front Page - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­

CEN­TRE­VILLE — Long­stand­ing Queen Anne’s County farmer and for­mer County Commissioner William V. Riggs III of Cen­tre­ville is rem­bered fondly for his con­tri­bu­tions to his fam­ily and county. Riggs died at his home in Cen­tre­ville on Mon­day, June 26. He was 74.

Clerk of the Court for Queen Anne’s County Scott MacGlashan worked along­side Riggs to aid with the sup­port of the Repub­li­can party. Riggs was a great be­liever in the val­ues of the party, MacGlashan said. Riggs and MacGlashan’s fa­ther, Sandy, also served to­gether on the Ap­peals Board, as County Com­mis­sion­ers and as mem­bers of the farm­ing com­mu­nity. He was a great man in the com­mu­nity and he will be greatly missed, MacGlashan said.

An In­di­ana na­tive, Riggs moved to Cen­tre­ville when his fa­ther pur­chased Bloom­field Farm in 1948. Riggs grad­u­ated from Cen­tre­ville High School, Class of 1960, and af­ter at­tend­ing Per­due Univer­sity he worked as as­sis­tant man­ager of Great Mead­ows Farm in Wye Mills, owned by Esskay.

Later, Riggs would work as a driver and sales­man for G&G Dis­trib­u­tors be­fore re­turn­ing to Bloom­field Farm ac­tively en­gaged in grain and live­stock farm­ing while liv­ing on the fam­ily farm from 1977 to 2005.

Riggs was ap­pointed as a Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Oc­to­ber 19851986. He was elected to a four-year term in the fall of 1986 and again in 1990 to serve a to­tal of nine years for his county, ini­tially fill­ing out the term of the late Ver­non “Tex” Sul­tenfuss in 1985 be­fore be­ing re-elected to two more con­sec­u­tive terms.

For­mer fel­low Commissioner Os­car “Sonny” Schulz said Riggs was fun to work with. “He was very opin­ion­ated — not un­like my­self,” said Shulz, “but he was good to work with and ev­ery­one who knew him liked him.”

Ac­tively in­volved in the Queen Anne’s farm­ing com­mu­nity, Riggs and his fam­ily were rec­og­nized in Au­gust

2013 by the Agri­cul­ture Ad­vi­sory Board as one of Queen Anne’s Farm Fam­i­lies of the Year. Dur­ing the cer­e­mony, Riggs said his fam­ily was en­am­ored by the ru­ral life­style cre­ated by his great un­cle who had pur­chased the Bloom­field Farm in Cen­tre­ville in the 1920s.

By 1960, the fam­ily was milk­ing 120 cows and had 120 heifers and calves, which at the time was a large herd. Riggs said, “Dad would never sell a heifer he would say.” The farm op­er­ated as Riggs Brothers with Bill and his youngest brother David, un­til David’s un­timely death in 1980. In 1985, William V. Riggs III & Son was es­tab­lished to in­clude Riggs’ son.

At the cer­e­mony rec­og­niz­ing their fam­ily, Riggs’ son Billy quipped, “I re­mem­ber Pop an­swer­ing the phone and the per­son on the other end would ask for Bill and Pop would say, which Bill do you want, the 70-yearold, the 50-year-old or the 15-year-old?”

Dur­ing the peak of the Riggs’ farm­ing op­er­a­tion, from 1986-2006, the fam­ily tilled ap­prox­i­mately 2,000 acres. Dur­ing that time, Riggs was also been very in­volved in the com­mu­nity and was a mem­ber of the Jaycees, the Li­ons Club, Good­will Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany, Na­tional Grain Pro­duc­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, Ru­ri­tan, Soil Con­ser­va­tion, Agri­cul­ture Sta­bi­liza­tion & Con­ser­va­tion Ser­vice, Cen­tre­ville United Methodist Church, and the Fair Board.

In­ter­viewed dur­ing Au­gust 2013, Riggs shared, “The first year I was the fair board chair­man there was a fire at the 4-H Park and in­door ex­hibit build­ing burnt down. You would fig­ure it had to be my first year on the board.”

Riggs also worked and vol­un­teered with the Queen Anne’s Ap­peals Board, MD & Na­tional Pork Pro­duc­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, Board of Di­rec­tors Ag­way Inc. and QA Park Board, among oth­ers.

In 2006, Riggs and his son es­tab­lished Riggs Trans­port Inc., fin­ish­ing out his ca­reer, although he had by then moved off of Bloom­field Farm — which was sold to the county by Riggs and his brother and nephew. Riggs con­tin­ued to work part time with some close friends and lo­cal farm­ers.

Dur­ing that 2013 in­ter­view Riggs said of farm­ing, “I’m so thank­ful for still be­ing able to do what I love.”

“All in all,” said Riggs, “I’ve had a good life and am most proud of the birth of my chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.”

A funeral ser­vice for Riggs is planned at 11 a.m. Fri­day, June 30, at the Fel­lows, Helfen­bein & New­nam Funeral Home, P.A., in Cen­tre­ville. Burial will fol­low at Ch­ester­field Ceme­ter y.

Memo­rial con­tri­bu­tions may be made to Com­pass Re­gional Hos­pice, 160 Cour­se­vall Drive, Cen­tre­ville, MD 21617; or to the Queen Anne’s County 4-H Pro­grams.


The Riggs fam­ily are rec­og­nized at the Queen Anne’s County Fair on Wed­nes­day, Aug. 14, 2013. From left: Trent Wil­l­lis, Cathy Wil­lis (daugh­ter), Har­ley Wil­lis, Billy Riggs (son) and Bai­ley Riggs. Bot­tom left to right: Rea­gan Riggs, Bill Riggs, Camp­bell Riggs. Not pic­tured are Chris, Christopher and Vic­to­ria.

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