Dr. Harry E. Riggs

June 21, 1920 ‒ January 11, 2020

Mount Gilead, Ohio

Dr. Harry E. Riggs, age 99, of Mount Gilead, passed away peacefully Saturday evening, January 11, 2020, at the Morrow Manor Nursing Center.

He was born on June 21, 1920, in Columbus, OH, to the late Clyde and Hattie (Andrews) Riggs. Harry was the class president his senior year at West High School of which he graduated from in 1938. Harry was in the United States Army Reserves during his course work at the Ohio State University. As a freshman at OSU, Harry played baseball until injuring his arm. In 1944, Harry graduated from OSU with his Doctorate in Veterinarian Medicine. This same year Harry would marry the love of his life, Gwendolyn “Gwen” J. Stinson, and start his career as a Veterinarian in Mount Gilead.

For 40 years, Harry made farm calls and had the veterinary hospital located on state route 42. His devotion to animals and their well being was commendable. Harry had a special interest in horses and owned standardbred trotting horses which he raced over the years. He often enjoyed visiting Scioto Downs to watch the horse races.

Harry was a former member of the U.S. Trotting Association and Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association. He was also a member of the American Veterinary Association. He enjoyed playing tennis and helped organize the local MG club. Harry loved the game of golf and was a member of Pine Lakes Golf Club. He also enjoyed being a part of many bridge clubs. As a child, Harry began his lifelong fascination with music. He played the harmonica on a weekly radio show and participated in Vaudeville contests. Harry was also exceptionally talented on the piano. He could hear a song and play it by ear.

A man of faith, Harry was a member and attended Trinity United Methodist Church. He often shared his gift of playing the piano before worship on Sundays and at the Wednesday community dinners.

Harry will surely be missed for his caring personality that shined behind the great smile he shared with so many.

Left to cherish his memory includes his children: Stephen (Cheryl) Riggs of Lucas, OH and Patty (Robert) Ryan of Richmond, KY; grandchildren: Robert (Danielle Vishaway) Ryan II and Ashley (Carter) Gaddis; great grandchildren: Griffin and Ryan Gaddis; and sister, Doris Fahrenbach of Columbus, OH.

Harry was preceded in death by his wife, Gwen; parents: Clyde and Hattie; and brothers: Roy, Walter, and Donald Riggs.

His family will greet friends from 10 to 11 AM on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at the Trinity United Methodist Church. (75 E. High Street, Mount Gilead, OH 43338) A service to honor his life will follow at 11 AM with Pastor Jeff Canankamp officiating. Burial at Rivercliff Cemetery will be held privately at a later date.

If desired, memorial contributions may be made in Harry’s memory to the Humane Society of Morrow County. 16 S. Main Street, Mount Gilead, OH 43338.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Morrow Manor and Hospice of Morrow County for the wonderful care they provided to Harry.

Snyder Funeral Homes of Mount Gilead are honored to have been chosen to serve Harry’s family and your condolences may be expressed to them by visiting www.SnyderFuneralHomes.com.

  • We send our heartfelt sympathy to all of Dr. Riggs’ family. He was such a good, good man. He served our family as a trusted veterinarian for years. We always enjoyed visiting with him in later years—he loved to tell us about his family and was always so kind. We visited with him a few times at Morrow Manor–he was always the best-dressed resident there. And his humor, kind ways, and personality hadn’t changed a bit. May God bless you and comfort you as you grieve.

  • I am so sad to see of my dear Doc Riggs passing! From a little girl, he was our vet! He was such a dear compassionate man. I truly loved him! God bless the family. We all were honoured to have known him!

  • Harry became a personal friend as he visited his father at Morrow Manor He had a gentle nature but loved humor too. He had a music talent and often shared freely condolences to his family and friends at this time.

  • A Southern gentleman and ‘one in a million’. Harry had a way with people, always making my family feel loved and welcomed. We loved him from ‘day one’ and appreciated his humor and zest for life. Harry was an inspiration to all who knew him and showed how life should be lived to the fullest. His special hand-written notes I received were always encouraging and I’ll treasure your memory forever. Heaven got a little sweeter when you arrived!!!

  • Dr. Harry Riggs was a treasure to all that knew him. Always smiling and kind Doc was a joy to all . We will always hear his music.

  • Steve and Patty.
    Your dad was one in a million. He was like a second father to me. The Nixon kids grew up with him as well as our kids. We always looked forward to the Cracker Jacks he always brought us and a Skip to My Lou,from house to hospital. He could sit down and play any song, on our piano, that he had just heard on the radio. He always was first to sample moms cookies..He had an amazing talent to go along with his beautiful heart not only for family and friends but all their pets too. We loved him so much and know he is up there taking care of all those that went before him.. I bet mom has a plate of cookies waiting for you………….Much love to you. Judie Nixon Dunn 💞🙏

  • My heart is heavy with so much sadness. You were a kind and loving man Uncle Harry. So many will miss you. Steve and I send deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and all those lives you made better just knowing you.

  • Wow did heaven get a diamond! So many memories of Dr. Riggs! He was one in a million! He surely served his community and was an inspiration! Oh that warm but ornery smile! I don’t think he knew a stranger! Glad he chose to live , vet, and become a huge part of our community! Worked so hard and long hours for us all! Rest In Peace Dr.Riggs!!

  • Dear Steve and Patty, I am so sorry to hear of Harry’s passing. He was such a gentleman. He and my dad, Cliff Calhoun played tennis and golf together. He was a jewel and it was a pleasure to know him.

  • I met Harry in high school in the late 1980’s through the Morrow County tennis club. I never thought it was odd for a 17 year old boy to call a70 year old man his friend. If that man was Harry Riggs it wasn’t odd at all. If you knew him you were privileged. Always a smile, handshake and kind words. He will be sorely missed by all those who’s lives he touched. Peace to his loved ones.

  • So many wonderful memories of Dr. Riggs… He was a true Morrow County legend, who used his talent and compassion to warmly touch so many lives. His ever-present smile was his signature trait. Well done, good and faith servant, well done ❤️

  • Riggs Family,
    We sure miss doc after he retired as a veterinarian. There really was no one like him to care for someone else animal the way you cared and he was truly your friend not just your veterinarian. God bless you all. My parents Don and Alma Jones were referred to him and knew why right away.

  • Steve and Patty – So sorry to learn of Harry’s passing. I have so many special memories of “Doc Riggs” who was always such a big part of daily life at the Nixon family home. He will live on forever in my heart. Thinking of him always makes me smile. With love, Mary Ellen Nixon Gillson

  • Prayers and strength to Harry’s Family and friends. Harry always had a kind word and story to tell us , the friends of Steve and Patty, which always gave us entertainment along with knowledge of loving animals. rest in peace Dr. Riggs

  • Such a dear person– caring for animals and their owners! He always remembered who everyone was and asked about family. I will always think of him in connection with Dr. Nixon, home, Dad and animals and I didn’t learn about his music until much later.

  • Harry would play the piano for the “dinner” crowd at Morrow Manor and it was wonderful! He seemed to always have a smile on his face and in great spirits. He will be missed.

  • When we moved to Mt Gilead we had a dog named
    Boots
    He made house calls when I could not see him
    Always a kind gentle man
    Boots was taken very good care
    So sorry for your loss

  • Sincere sympathy to Dr. Riggs family . He was a kind and caring veterinarian, an extremely friendly, interesting and warm individual. I’ll always remember him playing Christmas carols, by ear, on the piano at The Inn during the holidays. Truly a very special man.
    Tom and Jane

  • Doc. was my vet and friend all these years so sorry to hear he passed,we have lost a jewel of a person.RIP Doc. Riggs i feel very blessed to have known you.

  • Steve & Patti. So sorry to hear of your father’s passing. He was a wonderful man..I have so many great memories of him. He will be greatly missed.. Rest in peace my great friend..

  • What a wonderful legacy he has left. Always kind, loved your animals.
    The first time I met him was with my Aunt Helen Hull. She thought so highly of Dr. Riggs.
    What a full life he lived.
    He’s home with Jesus now.

  • Dr. Riggs was the best . My father always called him to come and take care of our animals. You could always count on him to be there day or night. Always had a smile. Wish our world had more Dr. Riggs. Rest in peace! You have earned it.

  • Patty and Steve: The wonderful memories of your dad will never be forgotten. He was a great friend to all the Nixon kids and so supportive of my mom after dad passed. Just thinking of him will always make me smile! Love, Maxine Nixon Reesman

  • Dr. Riggs was a wonderful vet. I remember fondly him coming to the farm when I was a child. So sad to hear of his passing.

  • Steve, Patti, Family & Friends –
    How sorry I am to learn of Dr. Riggs passing. Being a cousin of the Nixon ‘kids’ allowed me to spend a few overnights with them during the summer. How well I remember the times at the Veterinary Hospital, watching the Doctor perform his ‘miracles’. The years continued on and our pets visited often for their care. After his retirement, our association became less frequent; however, we would see one another occasionally. Without doubt, he was always the most kind and caring person anyone could ever know, plus there was always a ‘joke’ to be heard. I am truly blessed to have known him and he will live forever in my thoughts.
    Bob Palm

  • Dr. Riggs was always a good friend to my Dad and would come to the farm whenever we called to help out with the cows, horses, pigs, dogs, whatever. He was a very good man!

    Maurice Phillips family

  • My condolences to the Riggs family. I have wonderful memories of Harry and his musical talent. After graduate school in 1978, Harry sold me his Schultz baby grand piano that was painted antique white. I had it stripped and completely restored and it is still with me and my family today. Harry played the piano after it was restored and gave his approval. I think of Harry every time I play the piano. He was such a great guy.

    Dean Gladden
    Houston, TX

  • Steve, Cheryl and Patty: It was a blessing getting to know your family. We all loved your father while he was with us at Morrow Manor.
    Harry would often come out to play the piano and Residents, as well as staff, enjoyed hearing him “tickle the ivory!” He had such a kind heart with everyone and enjoyed all of our pet pictures; he also enjoyed his visits from 4 legged friends.
    I will never forget Harry, he captured my heart, but I know he is enjoying being pain free in Heaven. Blessings ~ Nurse Lori

  • Sincere condolences to the family of one of the greatest vets and even better man. He taught me so much. Bless you Dr. Harry!

  • So many fond memories of Doc Riggs – he was a wonderful vet and even better man. Always so kind and caring. He will be greatly missed. Happy trails you dear sweet man. Condolences to the family

  • Doctor Harry Riggs was a credit to the Veterinary Medical Profession and to the Morrow County Community. He was a good friend and colleague. He never hesitated to help me and to share his ideas (or a good story) during a consultation. Harry was endowed with knowledge, wisdom and kindness. I will miss his friendship.

  • Steve, Patti and Family

    Harry and Gwen were best friends with Bob and Eileen. They had so many good times together. In the later years Harry would drive Martha Kubbs , Anna Weller and Sy Wehr to Columbus to visit Eileen and go to lunch. He was in his 90’s and I would always think, “oh my gosh, how did he do that – he shouldn’t be driving”! He was a great guy who impacted many. When my brother Dean sent me a copy of Harry’s Obituary he titled the email, “Last Man Standing Leaves the Building”. So appropriate. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Rich and Theresa Gladden
    Powell, Ohio

  • Very saddened when my Dad called to inform me that Dr. Harry had passed away. He was an extraordinary person and I have fond memories of trips with my Dad & Grandfather in the late 70’s to take our family pets to see ‘Doc’ Harry (as my Grandfather, the late Blake Palm & brother of Miriam Nixon, referred to him). As a child, since I had interest in becoming a Veterinarian, Dr. Harry allowed me to watch him perform surgeries and talked with me about what was necessary to become one. I didn’t become a Vet, but I am a better person today because of the impressionable values Dr. Harry provided me with. It wasn’t until many years later that I’d see him paying his respects to passing members of my own family. I was instantly comforted in recognizing him and from knowing he was there. Though my encounters with him may have been more brief than for many, they are fond, lasting memories I am very fortunate to have because of what Dr. Harry represented.
    My condolences and prayers to the family,
    Tammy (Palm) Jackson

  • Condolences to the extended Riggs family.
    I have fond memories of Dr. Riggs taking care of our family dog and I was reminded by my youngest brother, Nathan, that he came to the house/barn to take care of Nathan’s
    4-H cows. I only wish, now, that I had gotten to hear him play piano and the harmonica. Thinking of you with caring thoughts.

  • Steve, Cheryl and family ….I did not know Dr. Riggs but heard many wonderful stories thru Steve which still puts a smile on my heart. Much love goes out to you all.

  • Steve and Cheryl, Sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • Aunt Doris, Steve & Cheryl, Patty & Ryan and all who loved this extraordinary man,
    I’ve always thought of him as my sweet Uncle Harry. Talented beyond measure, funny, athletic, musical, devoted to his profession, his love of horses and his tender heart who loved his family, friends, and everyone he met. Once when I had surgery he sent me a tape filled with his favorite songs he played on the piano. He thought it would comfort me. It was wonderful and I still have it in my car today. In fact the last time I saw him he played the piano for us. I ask him to play, “I’ll be seeing you,” he paused and played it perfectly. How he will be missed, but I’m so happy he is with Aunt Gwin, Gramps, Grandma and all who have passed before. He was a treasure and he will be missed greatly.
    Cheri Fraganato

    • I didn’t get to know Grandma, as she passed before I was born. Dad always had her picture on his desk, and always spoke lovingly of her. I can imagine all of the music being played in heaven now. If I listen quietly, I can hear it.

  • Juston and Dixie Waite send condolences to the family of Doc Riggs. Juston remembers him very well from having Doc Riggs provide veterinarian care, beginning in the late 1940’s and going forward, to Juston’s father’s (Juston Waite, Sr’s) animals, as well as Juston Jr’s sheep when he was a child. Harry reconnected with Juston approximately five years ago and we had some extremely enjoyable visits and meals with him. We will miss him and thank God Doc Riggs was in our lives.

  • We will miss Harry. He was such a nice man. We enjoyed talking to him at church and loved to hear him play the piano. He was so talented ! Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Dave & Sandy

  • Patty & Steve,

    Saw your Dad often at the library. He always had kind words of encouragement. I too remember his enjoyment with piano playing and latter in life , helping our parent’s friends who were widowed.

    Doc Riggs was a true gentleman ……………… Robert Wehr, Jr.