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Remembering John Riggle – Former Council President and Commissioner

John Riggle

It is with great sadness that we remember and salute the life and volunteer Scouting career of John Riggle, 72, former president of the York-Adams Area Council and the inaugural Council Commissioner of the New Birth of Freedom Council.  John passed away at his home in St. George, UT on Saturday, August 22.

It was a privilege for me to have worked closely with John for nearly 20 years.  John received the Silver Beaver Award for his 25+ years of service with the Boy Scouts of America and his service included many different roles at all levels of Scouting.  John was the General Manager at WPMT Fox 43 when I became the Scout Executive of the former York-Adams Area Council in 1997 and he was instrumental in so many of our successes as a council over the years.  John possessed great marketing instincts that benefitted Scouting.  He was incredibly creative and his fertile mind seemed to be continuously whirling at top speed churning out one great idea after another.

John’s talents were in great demand in the community and he served on numerous other boards and he was deeply involved in leadership positions with his church for nearly 50 years.  

One of the things I will always remember about John was his willingness to take on difficult challenges and situations that others might seek to avoid.  He used to joke that he was my “dirty jobs” guy – a role that I think he quietly relished.  It’s easy to find people to volunteer to handle the fun and enjoyable tasks, but when there was a difficult problem that needed to be addressed, John was our “go-to” guy.  He always seemed to know the right words to say and how to find a “win-win” outcome for everyone involved.

There are many Scouting memories I could share about John.  But perhaps my most memorable time with John was back in 2012 when he, Alan Boynton, and I were invited to instruct a “Council & District Key 3” course together at the Philmont Training Center.  The 2010 merger creating the New Birth of Freedom Council had been successful beyond expectations and being invited to lead a course at PTC was certainly a very nice recognition and a great experience for the three of us together at Philmont.

John notoriously loved to doodle during meetings and whenever I would gather up materials from the tables afterward, I would come across his drawings that were often quite humorous and gave me a good laugh.  Here’s a sample of John’s artwork that he did that included all of us involved in that Philmont training course that reflects his fun-loving personality.

A sampling of John Riggle’s doodling prowess.

There is an old cliche that I certainly feel applies to John – they broke the mold when they made him.  He was truly unique.  You’ll never find a kinder, more authentic, more caring person.  John was passionate about many things, including Scouting, but most especially his family and his many friends.  We have sorely missed him around these parts since he moved to Utah several years ago and even more today. 

Please take a few minutes to read John’s obituary.  John is survived by his wife, Marlene, their six children, and 21 grandchildren.

Yours in Scouting,

Ron Gardner
Scout Executive & CEO

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