Burnie Riggs ‘54
It is with sadness we report the passing of a Duke’s Men Founder. Burnham Ward (Burnie) Riggs ’54 died August 12 at the age of 82 in Chelsea, MA. One of the original Saybrook Duke’s Men, he roomed as a Senior with Founders Paul Thompson ’55 and Parker Towle ’55 during their Junior year. A baritone, he sang at the group’s first public performance on Princeton weekend 1952, and at the Chi Phi Jamboree where the group premiered Istanbul to wild acclaim in the Fall of ’53. Parker also recalls Burnie sang with the Apollo Glee Club. Parker reports he and Burnie corresponded for years at long intervals, especially at Christmas. Burnie served in the army after graduating from Yale, then got a Masters in Social Work at Boston University, and spent most of his career with the MA Department of Mental Health, eventually managing / supervising a public counseling clinic. He was married to Judith Rich Riggs for 48 years. In addition to Judy, survivors include their three daughters and seven grandchildren.
The picture of Burnie is from a group shot taken at the first performance of Istanbul, representing as always the youngest and best-looking men’s singing group at Yale. Our thanks to Burnie for being one of those who got it all started, and to Parker for his remembrance.