Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Alden Rigby - 1923-2015 (long, slow salute)


Alden Rigby, 352nd FG ace died this past May 3 at his Utah home.

I drew his airplane - click here.  But Alden was more than just an 'interview' to my family.  He remains the example of what Class looks like.

Please read his obituary:

One of the Greats of that "Greatest Generation", Alden Peter Rigby, Maj. USAF Ret., passed into history May 3, 2015 at his home in Bountiful UT. He was born January 4, 1923 to Martin and Elva Rigby in Fairview UT. He married the love of his life and eternal companion of 73 years, Eleen Barker, June 3, 1942 in the Manti Temple.

He served his country heroically as an ace fighter pilot flying P-51s in the ETO, earning the Silver Star, DFC, Air Medal with 21 OLC along with many other awards.

He served again during the Korean War with the Utah National Guard and retired from the service in 1978. He was a supervisor with the Federal Aviation Admin., and was responsible for setting up the air traffic grid for the western U.S. In 2010, in recognition of his war service and many contributions in the field of aviation, Alden was inducted into the Utah Aviation Hall of Fame at Hill AFB.

He served in many church positions including missions with Eleen to India/Sri Lanka and the Jerusalem Center in Israel. He was a sealer in the Salt Lake and Bountiful Temples for 30 years, performing over 2000 marriages. He valued his unwavering testimony of the Gospel and was an example to all. He leaves behind a legacy of much love, kindness, hard work, selflessness, generosity, humility, and so much more.

Alden has friends without number from all around the world and the Rigby home was open to many visitors.  
Alden is survived by his wife, Eleen and their four children, Jerilyn (Al Drummond), Larry (Susan), Kevin (Estelle), and Greg (Faye), 25 grandchildren and 67 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held May 8,(VE Day) 2015 at the Oak Hills Ward, 455 S. 1200 E. Bountiful, UT. at 11:00am. A viewing will be held between 9:30 and 10:30 am on the day of at the church and the evening before between 6:00pm - 8:00pm at Russon Bros. Mortuary 295 N. Main, Bountiful, UT. Online guest book at www.russonmortuary.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Primary Children's Hospital.
The full obituary is here.

But, did you catch the line—"...friends without number from all around the world..."?  If that isn't something anyone would want in their obituary, I don't know what it is.

Alden—wherever you are, it's a great day because it's got to be the best Eternity has to offer.

In the meantime, the rest of us mortals can click here and listen to him tell it like it was.

Alden signs an autograph.  That's Eleen behind him smiling; she's one of the women who ranked the name on the nose of his P-51 fighter, "Eleen & Jerry."  Which brings up the question, "Who's Jerry?"  That'd be his first-born daughter, Jerilyn.