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Legends of Port Norris

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William H. Riggin
b.March 8, 1918
d. January 17, 2018


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The son of Legend Sheriff Bill Riggin, William H. “Bill” Riggin was born in Port Norris March 8, 1918, in his Grandfather’s house on the corner of Brown and High Streets. He would become the fourth generation of Riggin and Riggin, the oyster and clam business started by his Great Grandfather Lewis Riggin in 1860.

Life on the Delaware Bay began at age six, when young Bill accompanied his father for two weeks on his oyster boat. He had no working duties then but by age twelve, Bill was put to work. Among his early jobs was unhooking fish for fishing parties.

When Bill’s father was elected Sheriff, the family had to move to Bridgeton. A fortuitous move, as it was there that he met his wife, Pauline "Polly" Lasenko. The high school sweethearts married in 1940, and would go on to have three children, Barbara, Kathleen, and William, Jr.

In 1941, Bill took over as head of the family business. In 1953, with the oyster industry in decline, he would merge with Robbins Bros., creating Riggin and Robbins. His oyster boats were modified to catch clams, with great success. They sold surf clams all over the United States. In 1962, he again merged, this time with Gorton’s Seafood, a New England company. In 1968, they were acquired by General Mills, which built a large processing plant in Millville.

Since retiring in 1983, Bill has remained active with his oyster business William P. Riggin and Son.

On November 16, 2008, Bill Riggin was recognized as a Living Legend of Port Norris.

Source: William H. Riggin

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William P. Riggin

 

Obituary for William H. Riggin

WILLIAM HALEY RIGGIN, 99, of Port Norris died Wednesday, January 17, 2018, at the Maurice House under hospice care. Born in Port Norris, he was the son of William P. and Mary Hinson Riggin.

Bill resided in Port Norris for 96 years. He would become the fourth generation of Riggin and Riggin, the oyster and clam business started by his great grandfather, Lewis Riggin in 1860.

When Bill’s father was elected Sheriff, the family moved to Bridgeton where he met the love of his life, Pauline “Polly” Lesenko. They married in 1940.
In 1941, Bill took over the family business. He later merged with Robbins Brothers, creating Riggin and Robbins. He later merged with Gorton’s Seafood which resulted in the building of the Gorton plant in Millville.
  
Since retiring in 1983, Bill remained active with his oyster business William P. Riggin and Son.

He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Port Norris. His family was one of the greatest joys of his life. Bill was honored as a 2008 Living Legend by the Port Norris Historical Society for his contributions to the community.

He was predeceased in death by his wife of 77 years, Polly, who passed away on January 13, 2018. He is survived by his daughters, Barbara Dale Guardiola and Kathleen Ross, his son, William P. Riggin, II (Mary). He was the proud grandfather of Bryan Reiners (Stacey), Christopher Reiners (Beth), Lindsey Gioielli (Anthony), Jonathan Riggin (Lindsey), Rebecca Duncan (Gary). There are 9 great grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren. He is survived by his sister, Jean Comuso and a niece and nephew. 

Private joint graveside services were held at Overlook Cemetery in Bridgeton.
Memorial contributions honoring Bill can be sent to the First United Methodist Church of Port Norris P.O. Box 123 Port Norris, NJ 08349.





Bill Horseman, left, presents Bill Riggin at the Legends of Port Norris dinner.

 

Riggin

Bill Horseman sharing memories in Bill Riggins basement office.

 

Riggin

Bill Riggins and Bill Horseman, good friends pose in the
living room of the Riggin home.

 

Pauline E. Riggin
July 30, 1919 - January 13, 2018

Obituary for Pauline E. Riggin

PAULINE “POLLY” E. RIGGIN 98, of Port Norris died Saturday January 13, 2018 at the Maurice House under Hospice Care. Born in Bridgeton, NJ she was the daughter of the late Max and Anna Benshowsky Lasenko and the wife of William H. Riggin. Polly was formerly of Bridgeton and resided in Port Norris for 78 years. She was a former School Teacher for the Commercial Township Board of Education and was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Port Norris. Her family brought great joy and love into her life.

Surviving are her husband of 77 years, William H. Riggin, son, William P. Riggin (Mary), II, daughters, Barbara Dale Guardiola and Kathleen Ross, grandchildren, Bryan (Stacey) Reiners, Christopher (Beth) Reiners, Lindsey Gioielli (Anthony), Jonathan (Lindsey) Riggin, Rebecca (Gary) Duncan, 9 great grandchildren, 3 great great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. 
Private graveside services will be held at Overlook Cemetery in Bridgeton.
Memorial donations may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Port Norris P.O. Box 123 Port Norris, NJ 08349.

 

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