Arthur Frederick “Fred” RIGBY – Surrounded by family, Fred passed away on November 25, 2019 at St. Joseph’s Hospice, Sarnia, at the age of 99. Beloved husband of Betty (nee Brims) for 71 years. Loving father to sons Brian (Robin), Bruce (Terri) and David (June). Adored grandfather of Mattie (Tom), Warren (Brittany), Carolyn and Sean. Dear brother-in-law of Don (Shirley). Admired uncle of Pat (late Paul), Robin, William (Karen), Suzie (Bill), Sean (Caroline), Bill, Doug (Maureen) and Ken (Lori). Also survived by several cousins, great-nieces, great-nephews and great-great nephews. Predeceased by parents Aaron and Mary (Laverty) Rigby, in-laws William and Margaret (Sadler) Brims, brothers Hubert (late Marleah), Bill (late Peggy) and Kinrade (late Verna), brother-in-law Bill Brims and nephew Randy Rigby (Sharon).
Born June 5, 1920 in St. Catharines, Fred grew up in Port Dalhousie and later, on the family farm with his three younger brothers. As a young man in 1940, he worked the Seaway, from Superior to Quebec, as deckhand and wheelman aboard the CSL bulk carrier “Ashcroft”. After a year at Toronto Technical School, Fred moved to Sarnia in 1944 to work as a Lab Technician at Polysar. Ending a 39-year career there, including assignments in Chattanooga and Strasbourg, Fred retired in 1983.
While raising a family with Betty, Fred encouraged participation in music and sport, and shared a love of science and technical subjects, jazz, records, stride piano, trains and model railroading, shortwave listening and Amateur Radio (earning his license VA3AFR at age 80), photography, gardening, biking and cross-country skiing.
In retirement, Fred and Betty devoted their time to their young grandchildren, and began second “careers” as volunteers. Fred was a member of the Municipal Volunteers Program (MVP) and Senior Volunteers in Public Service (Senior VIP) and volunteered at the Coronation Park Day Nursery, George Perry Adult Learning Centre, the Aamjiwnaang Resource Centre, City of Sarnia Property Department, Lambton County Offices and Lambton Literacy. In recognition of his contribution to the community, Fred was named to the Mayor’s Honour List in 1995. After 31 years, Fred reluctantly ended his volunteering in 2015, pulling the plates off the van and hanging up his keys.
Fred remained in his home until August, enjoying James Bond films, ciphering equations or tackling a challenging crossword at the kitchen table. When declining health dictated, he moved with Betty to Fiddick’s Retirement Home in Petrolia. A quiet man, with a sharp wit and dry sense of humour with him until the end, Fred will be loved and remembered for a long life, well lived.
The family would like to thank the wonderful staff at Fiddick’s Retirement Home for their extended care and attention to Fred during his brief residence there. And a special thank you to Dr. Maddison, Dr. Crombeen and the exceptional staff and volunteers at St. Joseph's Hospice for their care, compassion and kindness, particularly during Fred’s final hours. In keeping with Fred’s wishes, no visitation or service will be held. Cremation has taken place, with interment of ashes in the spring.
As an expression of sympathy, memorial donations may be made to St. Joseph's Hospice. Arrangements have been entrusted to the D. J. Robb Funeral Home & Cremation Centre (102 N. Victoria St, Sarnia, ON, N7T 5W9). Messages and memories of condolence may be sent through www.djrobb.on.ca
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