Richard Wigley passed away on Monday, July 1, 2019, at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford, surrounded by family.
Richard was born in Jamestown, N.Y., the son of the late Justine and William Wigley. He grew up in Lakewood, N.Y., on beautiful Lake Chautauqua. After graduating from Lakewood High School where he acquired 16 letters in baseball, football, basketball, track and volleyball and was president of his class in both junior and senior years, he enrolled at Oberlin College. While there he played football and baseball and graduated in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. Oberlin was also where he met his future wife, Mary Lou (Mel).
After marriage in 1958, he attended Southern Illinois University where he obtained his master’s degree. He taught health education at SIU and was named Most Popular Prof in 1961. To begin work on his doctorate at UCLA, the family, with three children, moved to California. There he worked for the Union Bank in Los Angeles. He then moved his family to Columbus, Ind., to work for Cummins Engine Company – this time with four children, a wife, and a big dog, Sam.
In 1967, he began teaching at Eastern Illinois University and with another faculty member published a health textbook titled “Community Health.”
He returned to the doctoral program, this time at SIU, earning his PhD in health education in 1970. By 1974, in an effort to take his teaching skills out of academia and into the corporate world, he switched careers and joined Practical Management Associates, a consulting firm based in California. From that time forward he traveled the country and abroad, teaching business seminars for over 30 years.
Career opportunities and promotions for both Richard and his wife caused them to move frequently and they lived in California, Nevada, and Connecticut. It was in Nevada that Richard developed his skill with video poker, repeatedly hitting the elusive Royal Flush to the amazement (and envy!) of family and friends. In Connecticut he renewed the passion for the fishing he loved while growing up on Lake Chautauqua. Richard retired in 2004 and continued to enjoy playing golf, especially with the Geritol Swingers in Simsbury, Conn.
He is survived by his wife of 61 wonderful years, Mary Lou; and leaves daughters, Lynn Haila (Eric) in Longmont, Colo. and Carol Kidd (Jim) in the UK and Moultonborough, N.H.; sons, Michael Wigley (Susan) in Bethany Beach and Craig Wigley (Julie) in Ann Arbor, Mich.; and grandchildren, Austin Wigley, Carson Wigley Bunting, Marisa Wigley, Madison Wigley, James Kidd, Mary Kidd, and Zak Kidd.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Jack Wigley and leaves his sister, Jane Ann McCray and brother, William K. “Bud” Wigley.
If donations are considered, Dick would have been pleased to have them sent to Whimsical Animal Rescue/Sussex County Animal Association in Seaford where he adopted his last dog, Cleo. Checks may be made out and addressed to SCAA, PO Box 1697, Seaford, DE 19973.
The immediate family will be celebrating the life of this exceptional husband and father in a private gathering.