William "Bill" Russell Riggs

October 7, 1923January 5, 2019
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Bill Riggs, 95, of Liberty, Missouri, died January 5, 2019. He was born October 7, 1923, in Ft. Worth, Texas, to Milford Dudley Riggs and Mary Ardelia (Prince) Riggs. When young, his family lived mostly in Webster Groves, Missouri. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Joanne Tolle (Howard) Riggs, on August 29, 1978. They were married May 24, 1948. He is survived by his dear sister, Mary Lou (Riggs) Palmer; his children Mary Eugenia Stilley (Jim), Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Robert “Bobby” Dudley Riggs, (Ruby), Paonia, Colorado, and Thomas “Tom” Howard Riggs (Mona), Liberty, Missouri; grandchildren Robert Stilley, Aaron Stilley, Jeff Stilley, Matt Riggs, J.J. Riggs, Stephanie Coburn, Jesse Riggs Horton, Leah Warren; and thirteen great-grandchildren, plus numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and too many friends to count.

Bill had a variety of careers: Admissions counselor for William Jewell College, Insurance Claims Adjuster, Minister of Education for Second Baptist Church of Liberty from 1959-1973, Saint Paul Title, self-employed Business Appraiser, and then School Bus Driver and “Number 1 Fan” of several Liberty High School teams as he drove them to special events.

Bill, sometimes called “Mr. Liberty,” loved his town and he lived a life of service to the community. During his college years at William Jewell College he gained the nickname “Senator.” Those years were interrupted by service in the Army during World War II, when he served in Patton’s Third Army, 11th Armored Division, and fought in the Battle of Bulge. After returning from his service, he graduated from William Jewell in 1947. Later he served on the WJC Alumni Board of Governors and in 1996, was honored with the first Alumni Lifetime Service Award. One of Bill’s proudest accomplishments was the co-founding (1973) and leadership of Liberty’s Meals on Wheels program.

Bill was Past President the Liberty School Board, serving as a Board Member from 1963-1972. He also served on the Missouri Baptist Home for the Aged Board of Trustees for many years; the home was founded by his grandparents. He was a member of the Liberty Hospital Board of Trustees 1996-2012 and received their Distinguished Service Award in 2007. Other community service awards include: Liberty School District Foundation Community Volunteer, 2006; Liberty’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Award, 2002; and the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat at Kauffman Stadium in 2012. He was also a volunteer for Liberty Hospital Hospice, the very organization that helped ease his last days.

One of the greatest joys of Bill’s life was his involvement in Second Baptist Church, Liberty, where he was a member for seventy years. Worship services sustained his strong faith, and friendships he made there gave him great happiness. He sang in the church choir for 64 years and was active in leadership roles. Bill enjoyed crossword puzzles, travel, sports, and spending time outdoors. Most of all, he enjoyed time with his friends.

A memorial service will be held 4:30 p.m. Saturday, January 26, 2019; visitation preceding will begin at 2:30 p.m.; both at Second Baptist Church, 300 E. Kansas St., Liberty, Missouri.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in his memory to the Second Baptist Church Memorial Fund, Liberty Meals on Wheels, Our Lady of Mercy Country Home, or a charity of your choice.

Fond memories and condolences may be left at, as Arrangements are under the direction of Church-Archer-Pasley Funeral Home, 119 East Franklin in Liberty, Missouri.


  • Milford Dudley Riggs, Father
  • Mary Ardella Riggs, Mother
  • Joanne Tolle Riggs, Wife
  • Mary Eugenia Stilley, Daughter
  • Jim Stilley, Son-in-law
  • Robert Dudley Riggs, Son
  • Ruby Riggs, Daughter-in-law
  • Thomas Howard Riggs, Son
  • Mona Riggs, Daughter-in-law
  • Mary Lou Palmer, Sister
  • Robert Stilley, Grandchild
  • Aaron Stilley, Grandchild
  • Jeff Stilley, Grandchild
  • Matt Riggs, Grandchild
  • J. J. Riggs, Grandchild
  • Stephanie Coburn, Grandchild
  • Jesse Riggs Horton, Grandchild
  • Leah Warren, Grandchild
  • Thirteen Great-Grandchildren

    Numerous Cousins, Nieces & Nephews


  • Memorial Gathering Saturday, January 26, 2019
  • Memorial Services Saturday, January 26, 2019

William "Bill" Russell Riggs

have a memory or condolence to add?

Lena Fairless

January 29, 2019

Mr. Riggs was always kind and positive whenever we talked at church. His voice was unique; it was one you recognized immediately. I am sorry for your loss.

MaryAnn and Jim Meyers

January 26, 2019

Such fond memories of Bill! I first met him when we were both volunteers for Liberty Hospital Hospice. He was one of the few men who volunteered, making him invaluable to the male patients who needed a man who talked their language.
Next as my husband and I volunteered at Our Lady of Mercy Country Home, there he was! It was a joy to find him again. I know every person at Our Lady misses him and will forever, as will we. We were able to meet some of his big loving family over the years, caring people who were there for him until the very last. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

Steven Craven

January 21, 2019

Several years ago I was blessed to serve with Bill on the Liberty Hospital Board of Directors during his leadership as Chairman. Never have I known such a thoughtful and caring person. My sincere condolences to the family.

Shelly Wright

January 9, 2019

What a legacy he has! Through the years he always had a smile and kindness that drew you in. He loved being a Bluejay and he made my childhood years, he was so fun because he drove the cheerleaders and Pom to all our games. So glad he guided my safety and path in life. I am forever grateful he was a positive role
Model and a geltlemen . So kind and loved his hometown!

Carmella KOVACH

January 8, 2019

Bill Riggs was one of the kindest gentleman I've ever known. A person you would certainly want on your
team, which he was as a hospice volunteer for a good many of the years I coordinated Liberty Hospital
Hospice volunteers (2002 - 2016). He was a great asset to that organization. I was so delighted to get
reconnected when I came to work at Our Lady of Mercy Country Home. It was a blessing to have known
Bill. I will always remember him and his hugs. RIP Bill.