June 28, 1938 - April 4, 2021
My Loving Mother, Aurelia Doris Riggleman, by Terri Quintos. Mom was born to Richard Lester and Margaret Elizabeth (Jackman) Kidwell on Tuesday, June 28, 1938, at 11:20 p.m., in Washington, D.C., as a beautiful, fair-skinned baby with a thin-fuzzy layer of copper red hair—a sign of courage, passion, energy, and a strong personality—which proved to be true throughout her life. Her grandmother called her carrot top! She was so stunningly beautiful; her mother entered her baby picture into a cutest baby contest, and at no surprise her picture won. She was named after her mother’s sister, Aurelia (Aunt Wee) Gargano (Jackman). Aurelia is a family name that goes back to the times of ancient Rome drawing its meaning as “the golden one” which was true to her. She didn’t think much of her first name, so family and friends called her Doris, her middle name. It wasn’t until later in life when her Census co-workers called her Aurelia that she told her sister Jean, “you know, I kind of like Aurelia now.” She proceeded a younger brother, Richard Lester, who passed at the early age of two in 1932, from spinal meningitis. She was the second born, followed by her sisters, Shirley Ann, Nancy Lee, her brother Paul Cooke, and her youngest sister, Jean Marie. They grew up in Capitol Heights, Maryland. Early in her teenage years, she left home and moved with her grandmother, Sarah Jackman (Dove) on Central Avenue, S.E., in Washington, D.C. She started work as soon as the law allowed back then—at the age of sixteen. Her first job was at Woolworth, a “five and dime store” on Good Hope Road, S.E. Mom was a go-getter; she rode the metro bus to work after school and weekends. “She was proud of her job; she wasn’t the type of person to sit around and wait for a handout or to be given instructions,” says Uncle Paul. Uncle Paul, also said, “she was a savvy saver; she had plans for her money and always paid for everything in cash from her earnings.” She worked hard for her money and her first big purchase was to get her teeth fixed. She was passionate about her mouth hygiene and her appearance. She had a bright, beautiful smile! She always carried toothpaste, a toothbrush and a pick in her purse in a plastic sandwich bag. As I was a teenage and later in my life, the whipping out of that toothbrush before exiting the car proceeded with the question, “does my breath smell okay?”—was so annoying, but I would do anything to still watch her go through her dental hygiene process today. Miss you Mom! In 1959, she graduated from Suitland High School. Thereafter, she started her professional career at the D.C. Board of Education as a Secretary performing shorthand. She purchased her first car, a brand-new blue and white, AMC Rambler American, three-speed. Uncle Paul recalls that “she was so proud of that car.” She was engaged to marry a military man; they had purchased property in Capitol Heights to build a home. She learned that he was not being faithful to her and she called off the engagement and sold the property. She was a no non-sense kind of woman! Soon thereafter, her cousin, Margaret Wilhite, had inquired if she would be willing to show her husband’s (Robert (Bob) Wilhite) brother around town. The brother, Dan Roland Wilhite, was visiting from Louisiana for two weeks and Bob, nor Margaret, could take off work to take him site seeing in the City. Mom was a fun, outgoing, young woman that loved D.C., so she jumped at the opportunity. Mom and Dan hit it off instantly and it was just the two of them getting to know each other romancing around the City for two-weeks—a modern-day love story. Dan returned to Louisiana smitten by Mom and moved to Forestville, Maryland shortly thereafter—soon two brothers were married to two cousins. On May 20, 1960, Mom married Dan Roland Wilhite from Monroe, Louisiana at the First Baptist Church of Capitol Heights, MD. They started their marriage living off Naylor Road in DC, where they began to try to get pregnant with no success. In 1963, they moved to Louisiana, but mom was so homesick. She loved home and missed her family dearly. While in Louisiana, she became pregnant. In 1964, they returned to Maryland for the birth of their first born, Lisa Marie. They purchased their first home on Pard Road in Coral Hills, Maryland. In 1965, again they tried, with no avail, to get pregnant a second time. Over the holidays, they returned for a visit to Louisiana. Upon their return in January 1966, they found out they were pregnant with their second child, Terri Elaine. Good news always followed Doris from their trips to Louisiana. In October 1966, I entered this world. Mom loved raising us and didn’t work while we were growing up. She took great pride in the care of her home, she loved cooking and was strong in her Baptist faith attending church and teaching vacation bible school in the summer. She was an excellent cook and could throw-down a home cooked meal like no other. She loved camping, swimming, going to the beach during the summers, and family get-togethers during the holidays. Aunt Jean, said “she wanted to learn how to sew, so she tried to teach her, but it wasn’t Mom’s forte.” She wasn’t much of the crafty type. She loved playing games with her children and playing pinochle and rummy card games with my Father, her sister Shirley, and her husband, Russell, along with other couple friends. She never smoked and wasn’t much of a drinker, but she loved a good Pińa Colada every once in a blue moon. The year of 1973 was a life changing year for my Mom and us. She received a phone call on March 2, 1973, that my Father had perished instantly at work in an industrial accident. He was an elevator engineer for Otis Elevators. He was working in Arlington, Virginia, on the construction site of Skyline Towers that collapsed due to faulty construction. Mom was devastated by my Father’s sudden death and overwhelmed with the care of us children and the house. I remember the phone ringing that day and watching her reach to pick up the receiver on the white dial-phone on the kitchen wall, screaming and dropping to the floor like it was yesterday—I was seven and my sister nine. We were all in the kitchen because it was after-school snack time. Her family stepped up immediately. Her younger sister, Jean, temporally moved in to care for us, and her father cared for our home, cutting the grass, and taking care of maintenance. In the fall, Mom lost her father, my grandfather. It was another blow that was just too much for Mom and she was barely functioning. Her family and friends were very concerned for her wellbeing. She barely weighed ninety pounds. One of my parents couple friends, Ozzie and Jean Lockard, could not stand to sit-by and watch how nothing could console Mom. They knew of a wonderful, soft-hearted, kind, loving, man that they thought could help her and they wanted them to meet. They begged her to go on a blind date with him until eventually she agreed. In the winter of that year, James (Jim) Lewis Riggleman met her at The Oakland Inn on Marlboro Pike in District Heights for their blind date. It was love at first sight for Jim; due to her circumstance, not so much for Mom. It took him three weeks to get her to go out on a second date, Jim was persistent and had no intentions of giving up on her. Jim says, “I thought she was the most beautiful women in whole wide world.” To her, he was gentle, patient, adored her, and gave her endless love during their courtship. He treated Lisa and I the same. I believe he was straight from Jehovah Jireh, and just what we needed. On July 26, 1975, Jim married Doris at the First Baptist Church of Capitol Heights with her mother and brother as witnesses. We became a family including Jim’s stepson, Simon Peter, who lived with his mother from Jim’s earlier marriage. Soon thereafter, Lisa and I developed a fondness for Jim. One day I asked him if we could call him “Dad.” I remember we were in his pickup truck waiting for Mom to come out of the house to go somewhere. Lisa and I were in the backseat when I stood up and put my arms around him and asked. In his gentle words, he tells the story “that my little soft hands wrapped around his neck and asked if it was okay to call him Dad.” He said, “he remembers tears in his eyes because of the surprise and joy of the question.” This news warmed Mom’s heart as she entered the truck. After that, it was a wrap, he was known as our Dad! Dad has always honored and respected my Father’s position, as they professionally knew each other and respected one another before Dad ever met Mom. The first time Dad and my Father met was on a construction jobsite. Dad was a welder, my Father an elevator engineer. Dad told me years later that he respected my Father because the first time they met before they started work, my Father instructed Dad that they needed to work smart—no goofing-off because he needed to get the job done on time and get home to his wife and children. Dad understood and honored that request that day and had the same demeanor after the day he married my Mother. My Father and Dad are one from the same cloth—family first, faithful, honorable men. In September of 1976, Mom and Dad had a daughter together, Mom’s third daughter, Jennifer Sue. Soon thereafter, they bought us a new home in Fort Washington, MD. Mom continued to be a homemaker and cared for her children while Dad worked until Jennifer entered elementary school. Mom then returned to work as a cafeteria worker with the Prince George’s County Public Schools and eventually returned to federal service. As a family, we continued to enjoy camping in our travel trailer, Friday night pizza at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor, and special occasions at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor at Landover Mall. In 2008, Mom retired from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau in Silver Hill, MD, with over twenty-four years of government public service. She worked in travel and loved to plan other co-worker’s travel. She was good at it and won several service awards over the years. In her personal life she wasn’t much for airplanes, she stuck to road trips, camping and later traveling around the east coast using her time-share that Dad and she had purchased. She loved all her grandchildren dearly and always cared after them. Rhonda, Christina and Ciera and their mothers lived their early childhood years with Mom and Dad. Those days always held a special place in her heart. She would get down on the floor and play with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was a hands-on mother, grandmother and great-grandmother always spending quality time each of us. After retirement, when Mom was feeling up to it, Dad and she enjoyed lunch dates at Denny’s, outings for ice cream, and peaceful days growing old together. Mom loved vanilla ice cream! Her favorite was the vanilla ice cream at Miller Farm’s Market in Clinton, MD. Her favorite perfume was Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds. Although, it gave my sister’s and I a headache and we weren’t too fond of it, we always made sure she had a bottle of it. The smell of it will bring fond memories of her for years to come. She loved her morning cup of Lipton hot tea with lots of sugar and milk. It was a morning ritual for her, like her quiet time, meditation—she had a special way of drinking it. She would take a slow sip and honor it all the way down her throat, you could literally hear it go all the way down. As a teenager eating breakfast with her, this sound would drive me crazy to hear first thing in the morning. It is now a cherished memory that makes me laugh. In 2018, she was baptized in Crownsville, MD at the Crownsville Jehovah Witnesses (JW) Regional Convention. In her latter days, Mom enjoyed bible studies with her JW sisters, reading her bible, solving crossword puzzles, playing solitaire on her tablet, going out to eat, and watching Westerns with Dad. Mom entered eternal rest peacefully at home on Sunday, April 4, 2021, with her loving husband by her side at 7:30 p.m. Dad says, “she was a beautiful, honest, truthful, faithful, loving wife that he grew to love more and more each day over the years. She was a mate that any man would be honored to have, and he was grateful to have had her as a wife for forty-five years.” He misses her dearly and is broken-hearted. She had a beautiful smile, a sweet demeanor, a loving, gentle, warm heart and never knew a stranger. Her thick, wavy auburn hair was her signature, always receiving endless compliments for it. I was lucky enough to inherit her thick hair, whereas Lisa and Jennifer inherited auburn tones in their hair. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, and loyal friend, and thrived with caring for her family and others. She is survived by her beloved husband Jim of forty-five years, who adored and cared for her up until her last breath. Mom was predeceased by her loving parents, Richard and Margaret Kidwell and younger sisters, Nancy Jones and Shirley Wood. She is remembered as a loving mother by her three daughters, Lisa Wynkoop (Robert), Terri Quintos and Jennifer Riggleman-Walker (Junior) and one stepson, Pete Riggleman. She also leaves to cherish her memories her devoted siblings Jean Emer (Dennis) and Paul Kidwell, loving grandchildren Rhonda Johnson, Christina Johnson, Terry Stewart, Jr., Zachary Quintos, Damon Riggleman, Melaina Riggleman, Ciera Riggleman Bonilla, and Brianna Walker, seven great grandchildren, many nieces, nephews and cousins, and a host of many others and friends. Many happy neighborhood kitties lived long happy lives in her care. We all loved her dearly, but Jehovah loved her best. Mom’s entire life was a witness that it was the Lord’s will and she was always in His hands. She will lay in rest at the Resurrection Cemetery in Clinton, Maryland until we meet again. Thank you for allowing me to share Mom with you here, I loved her so. God Bless Please see link below for The Washington Post Obituary. https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/washingtonpost/obituary.aspx?n=aurelia-riggleman&pid=198309966
My Loving Mother, Aurelia Doris Riggleman, by Terri Quintos. Mom was born to Richard Lester and Margaret Elizabeth (Jackman) Kidwell on Tuesday, June 28, 1938, at 11:20 p.m., in Washington, D.C., as a beautiful, fair-skinned baby with a thin-fuzzy... View Obituary & Service Information
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My Loving Mother, Aurelia Doris Riggleman, by Terri Quintos.
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