Cleo Cletus Riggs, 93 - Bridgeport, WV

BRIDGEPORT — Cleo Cletus Riggs, 93, of Johnson Avenue, Bridgeport, passed away Thursday morning, January 1, 2009, at the Clarksburg Nursing and Rehab Center. He was born December 22, 1915, in the community of Zeising (Spelter), the eldest child of the late Matthew Clyde and Lelia Esther Bonner Riggs.

Cleo was a loving, devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather who is survived by his wife Mildred Louise Bias Riggs whom he married on May 8, 1937; two sons and their wives, Robert Wayne and Pamela Cropp Riggs of Clarksburg, and Richard Cleo and Carole Romano Riggs, of Bridgeport; and a daughter Janet Riggs Bianconi and husband John of South Charleston.

In addition, he was known as "PopPop Cleo" to eight grandchildren; Robert Matthew Riggs, Michael Wayne Riggs, Richard Cleo Riggs, Daniel Charles Riggs, Karyann Riggs, David John Riggs, Lisa Marie Bianconi-Lewis and Tierney Lane Bianconi. He is also survived by several great-grandchildren as well as a favorite niece, Hilda Walls Stallman and her husband Bob, and nephew Dwight "Skip" Walls.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his younger brother, Howard Edward Riggs; and his younger sister Ada Violet Riggs Walls; nephew Danny Edwin Walls, and niece Barbara Walls Mayle.

Cleo was employed by E.I. DuPont and the Matthiessen Hegeler Zinc Company of Spelter for 37 years. He was a humble man known for his honesty and integrity who worked diligently for the establishment of a union at the DuPont plant.

Upon the closure of the DuPont Zinc Plant, he worked for the Riggs' Exxon Station in Bridgeport for eight years. He then pursued his life-long interest of farming, tending to his gardens, hay fields, and cattle.

He loved caring for animals and had a special fondness for horses. He is also fondly remembered for his many different interests such as taxidermy, bee-keeping, game hunting, auctioneering, and target-shooting matches.

Cleo will always be known as a self-taught man who had a keen awareness of environmental issues and strongly believed and frequently related that "when the bees die then people die."

Condolences to the Riggs Family may be sent to

Friends will be received at Burnside Funeral Home, 607 S. Virginia Avenue, Bridgeport, on Sunday from 3-5 p.m., where services will be held Monday morning, January 5, 2009, at 11 a.m. with Reverend Thomas P. Horne presiding. Interment will follow in Bridgeport Cemetery.