Samuel Armstrong Riggs

July 18, 1941 ~ April 29, 2021 (age 79)


Sam A. Riggs was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Louie and Lela Riggs on July 18, 1941 and passed away of Alzheimer’s on April 29, 2021 at the age of 79.

Inurnment will be held in the Ryan, Oklahoma Cemetery at a later date. Cremation arrangements have been entrusted to Whitt Funeral Home/Oakcrest Cremation Center of Duncan.

He spent his early years in Sequoyah, OK but later his family moved to Claremore, Oklahoma where his parents owned Riggs Tire and Supply, as well as the Rockin’ R Ranch.

He graduated High School from the Oklahoma Military Academy in Claremore ,Oklahoma.

At the age of 14 he entered the Oklahoma National Guard serving with the 45th Recon Company, 45th Infantry Division where he served for 3 years in the Active Reserves. He was drafted into the Army in December 1960 during the Berlin Crisis. After finishing up his assignment he then re-enlisted for an additional three years. His training included working in the Finance Corp, Signal Corp, and Transportation Corp.

He served in Seoul, South Korea with the 8th U.S. Army Command and traveled extensively. His next duty station with the U.S. Army was with the Aviation and Maintenance Activity in Brienne-la-Chateau, France. During his time in the military, he was able to travel extensively throughout Europe and the Asia. “Travel was the best education” he would say.

He was honorably discharged in 1964.

Post military, he was a man of many hats from truck-driving to business management. He became a real estate investor, but his passion was flying. He graduated from Ross Aviation School of Aeronautics and became a pilot owning Sam Riggs Commercial Airpark and operated Sam Riggs Flying Service and Crop-Dusting School in Verdigris, Oklahoma.

Once retired, he returned to truck driving, working for Halliburton in Iraq for the US Military.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Louis and Lela Riggs; his sister, Joanne Miller; and his nephews, Louie Miller and Jimmy Lynn Caudle.

He is survived by his daughter, Deborah Thornton of Austin, TX, daughter, Poppy Kelly and her husband Mark Kelly of Tulsa, Oklahoma, daughter, China Smith and her husband Mason of Galveston, TX, and Sam Kramer of Edmond, Oklahoma. He is also survived by nine grandchildren: Jason Holland and his wife Gabriella of Cedar Park, Texas, Victoria Holland of Boston, MA., Nicholas Thornton, and his wife Rachel of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Cicly Corder and her husband Trey of Lawrence, KA, Simon Donoway of Providence, RI, and Emma Mae Kelly of Tulsa, as well as Judah Smith, Adair Smith and Eloise Smith all of Galveston, TX. He is also survived by a niece, Jo Ella Summers of Simsbury, CT, and numerous cousins and dear friends in the Ryan area.

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