Eva Ursula RIGNEY
January 7, 1928 – November 4, 2019
Eva Ursula Rigney of Peachtree City, Georgia, passed away quietly on November 4, 2019, surrounded by family, after a brief illness. Her 91 years began in Berlin, Germany, where she was born between two World Wars to her loving parents, Hermann and Helene Goerlitz. She was 11 years old when Germany invaded Poland and World War II ignited, and just 17 on VE Day 1945 near its end. She worked as a translator for the U.S. Army after the war in shattered Berlin, fell in love with and married an American soldier, and moved to California. That marriage brought her three children who survive her: Katherine Helene (Jeffrey) Haugen, Michelle Karin (Clifford) Craig and Patrick Heinrich (Erin) Rigney. She completed her education and became a paralegal, working at prestigious firms in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. Although her first marriage dissolved after twenty years, she found the true love of her life in Robert Maurice Rigney, a lawyer in another firm in the building in which she worked. They joined families with his children, also surviving her: Michael John Rigney, Roberta Kay Rigney, and Jonathan Leaf (Tricia) Rigney. She and Bob lived and worked together in Berkeley until his passing in 2007. Shortly thereafter, she moved to Contra Costa County, eventually settling in the Rossmoor community, before finally moving to Georgia in 2018. Her experiences as a teenager during the war, the losses from air raids and direct confrontations with soldiers from both sides of the conflict, gave her an indomitable spirit, determination, and compassion. In 1991, the Oakland Hills Fire destroyed her home and took with it every family heirloom and memento from among the precious few that escaped the ravages of war over four decades earlier, yet she stood tall and determined, rebuilt the home, and remade a place where friends and family were welcomed. She loved entertaining friends and gathering family. She delighted in meeting and bringing people together who otherwise might not have met, or even avoided one another. Using her persuasive smile and girlish charm, she wove friendships, and in some cases, romances. Anyone who would meet her halfway was enveloped in her friendship. Yet she was not without strong opinions. As an immigrant having had a front-row seat for the consequences of political choices and the atrocities of war, she was staunchly pro-American and fiercely proud of her citizenship. This history and her career made her a tenacious ally to anyone wronged, and she could be firm and quite stubborn in her pursuit of fairness and justice when needed. But the Eva most people experienced was warm, cheerful, and even bubbly—ever the teenager she could not be during the war. As a mother and daughter, she was devoted and loving. She was an active member of the Rotary Club of Berkeley, California, for many years, and a Paul Harris Fellow many times over. She and Bob often housed Rotarians from other countries while they attended universities nearby, and thus developed lasting friendships all around the world. After their retirement, she and Bob enjoyed traveling all over the globe, missing only Antarctica from among the continents. She loved fashion and took great pride in her personal style to the very end. In her brief time in Georgia, she lived at Arbor Terrace near her daughter Helene and son Patrick and their families. She loved becoming part of the community there and adored the staff. In addition to her children, she is also survived by ten grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and her beloved dog Rambini. For those inclined, the family suggests a memorial donation to the Southern Grace Hospice Foundation in McDonough, Georgia.