Lawrence R “Larry” Riggs

09/05/1911 — 05/12/2012

From Kennewick, WA, US | Born in Sullivan County, IN

Lawrence R “Larry” Riggs


Larry was born on a farm in Sullivan county Indiana on September 5, 1911 to Byron Riggs and Mary McKee Riggs and left us on May 12, 2012 to join his heavenly Father and beloved wife Lorraine.

Growing up on a farm with two older sisters and a widowed mother he became very adept at fixing things and showed this talent at a very young age. His mentor, Mr. Dan Gettinger, whom Larry drove tractor for during the summer could see his engineering mind and encouraged him to attend Purdue. Between his adoring sister's earnings and his, this farm boy went off to the big city and college. He earned his degree in Electrical Engineering in 1933. He played saxophone in the now famous Purdue marching band. Recruiters came to the university campus, but because of the depression, they were only there to visit, not to hire.

After graduating he worked as a substation operator for the Sullivan county PUD.

He then went into the business of selling and repairing electrical appliances. He became the REA inspector for Sullivan County, and spent many hours wiring farm houses with electricity including his mother's farm, while his wife Lorraine ran the store. When the war started they could not get appliances, so they closed the store and Larry started his career with the Manhattan Project.

Starting with Wabash River Ordnance works in Feb. 1942, he transferred to the Chickasaw Ordnance as an Electrical Inspector and Safety Engineer in Memphis where he remained until his move to Hanford Engineering Works HEW in Jan. 1944. He served as Safety Engineer at Hanford, and was influential in implementing seat belts in public and HEW vehicles long before they were required. He also made contributions to Fire Prevention and Safety, recommending and testing flotation tires for fire truck use, to prevent the fire trucks from sinking into the sand on the Hanford reservation. He retired from Hanford in 1976.

He was a member of Toastmasters, American Society of Safety Engineers, and Central United Protestant Church where he held many positions.

His retirement years were spent enjoying his hobby working with cars, seeing the northwest with Lorraine in their travel trailer and staying at their favorite parks.

He is survived by his only child Nancy Lawrence, grandsons Paul Lawrence Beebe Ann and Michael Lawrence Cammie, his great granddaughter Cassandra Stidham Dan and four great- great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters, Cleo Riggs and Galeda Bartlett and his wife Lorraine of 72 years.

There will be a graveside service at Sunset Memorial Gardens, with Pastor Doug Mowry officiating, May 19, 2012 at 1:00pm followed by a gathering at his daughter's home afterwards.

The family would like to thank the staff from Hospice at the Chaplaincy for their wonderful care.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Hospice at the Chaplaincy, 2108 W. Entiat Ave., Kennewick WA 99336.

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Lawrence R “Larry” Riggs

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  • I treasure my friendship with Larry, both at Hanford & CUP Church. He had a most difficult time convincing upper mgm’t of the benefits of seat belts. Another memory is of shooting baskets solo in our new gym at church; and seeing a then 90 yr old just step up & over the pew-back, rather than walk on toes–oh, how agile a man. Farewell old friend.

    Bob Bush
    November 4, 2014
    Richland, WA, US
  • Larry was a good neighbor on Haupt Avenue and used to fix on cars with my dad. He was a good man.

    Sue Holmes
    November 4, 2014
    Richland, WA, US
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