Linda D. Riggins passed away peacefully on December 23, 2023 with loved ones by her side. She fought a sudden acute illness for 4 weeks before choosing to yield to nature. She was born on August 18, 1942 in Johnstown NY to the late William and Grace H. Dawes.
The two words that best describe Linda were Nature and Nurture. She spent many years of her life enjoying the sights, sounds, and wonders of nature and encouraging others to do the same. She was a bird watcher, a hiker, and could identify an amazing number of plant life, rock types, and land formations while on hikes and walks. She loved to continually learn about the geography of Central New York and the role that glaciers played in it. She was involved with Lime Hollow Nature Center from its beginning and served on its Board of Directors for 30 years. She had a passion for Lime Hollow and it was one of her favorite places to contribute time and energy to. Linda also had quite a green thumb and cultivated multiple flower beds around her yard and potted plants inside and outside of her home. She loved to share plants with friends and occasionally helped others rescue plants that weren’t exactly thriving. She had quite a few success stories.
Her nurturing side lead her down the path to becoming a teacher. She loved children and the difference she was able to make in their lives. Her final 22 years of teaching were at the McGraw Elementary School. She retired at the age of 53 and spent many years of that time with her grandchildren Ben and Kati. She enjoyed watching them grow into the kind, caring, respectful, and successful people that they are today. She was so proud of them and grateful for the “gift of time together” as she would say.
In her ongoing quest for finding new things to do, she announced many years ago to her family that she was now playing a new sport called pickleball, to which we replied “Pickleball?!?”. She faithfully played several times a week and always gave it her best, even competing in the Empire State Senior games one year. Her fellow pickleball players became a family of faithful friends. Her competitive nature also translated to playing cards, board games, word games, and anything else she could convince you to play! Let’s just say that she won a lot…..
Later in life she developed a passion for watercolor painting. Some of her work was displayed in local galleries and she enjoyed the art community, many of them becoming close friends as well. Painting opened her eyes to seeing and appreciating the world for not only its colors, but its depths, shades, and compositions. Imagining how you would paint a picture of your surroundings is a great way to see the world!
Up until the time of her illness, you could find Linda at the YMCA every morning, starting her day swimming 36 laps before she was off to the next event of the day. She won many Gold and Silver Medals swimming in the Empire State Senior Games over the years. Twice she completed the lap challenge at the YMCA which was equivalent to swimming the length of all 11 Finger Lakes end to end. The water was her second home.
It was truly a life well lived.
She is survived by her husband Joe Riggins, Sister Deborah Zimmerman, son Michael (Patty) Hammond, Grandson Benjamin (Brianna McNamara) Hammond, Granddaughter Kati (Austin Lafferty) Hammond, three nieces and several cousins.
Her family would like to thank all of the wonderful people that took the time (some every day) to visit Linda in the hospital and spent time talking, brushing her hair, rubbing her shoulders & feet, holding her hand, and comforting her. We’re not sure what the record for the average number of visitors per day is, but she may have set a new one.
Linda will be put to rest at home. A gathering in her honor will be held at The Lime Hollow Nature Center in the spring. An announcement will be made once it has been planned. Please consider a donation to The Lime Hollow Nature Center in Linda’s memory and the Upstate Medical University Anatomical Gift Program.