Ray  Rigby

The glorious reunion has begun for our father, grandfather, and great-grandfather who began a new chapter on June 12, 2019. Ray was an extraordinary man whose life of joy and service made an unforgettable imprint upon countless people, especially his posterity. Ray was born on April 16, 1923, in Rexburg, Madison County, Idaho, the fourth child of Joseph Lester Rigby and Harriet Maria Lucas Rigby (Hattie). He grew up on the family farm working very hard taking care of the animals and crops during the depression years. But, in his words, "Because we were a happy and loving family, we never really knew how poor we were." He attended Madison High School, where he was involved in the Future Farmers of America, debate, dramatics, and other activities. He received the State Farmer Degree and was a state officer, won the regional FFA Public Speaking Contest and was on the winning State and National Dairy Judging Team at Kansas City, Missouri. He was also included on the list of the top ten debaters in the state and was Student Body President his senior year. All of these experiences were building blocks in what would become his career as an attorney and his great understanding of water rights for his fellow ranchers and farmers. Ray's service to his church, community, state, and country was beyond compare. It started when he served his country in WWII as a B29 flight engineer. After returning home and successfully graduating from the University of Idaho Law School, he served as county prosecuting attorney for Madison County. He then formed what would become a very successful law firm with Gordon Thatcher and Rich Andrus. During these events, Ray served as Bishop in his Hibbard Ward while also a State Senator for Madison County, where he was instrumental in the enactment of several laws and programs which have since benefitted every citizen of Idaho. Because of his background in farming and his knowledge of the value of water and electricity, Ray's law practice emphasis was on water law and rural electric cooperatives. He became known as "Mr. Water" and not only represented numerous canal companies and the Committee of Nine, but also served his state and nation as a member and then chairman of both the Western States Water Council and the Interstate Council on Water Policy. Because he was so capable at bringing different political and business views together, he was appointed to several Governor's committees and chaired the council which helped resolve one of the most contentious water rights battles in the state. He worked tirelessly for over 62 years as an advocate with countless individuals to insure that their affairs were in order and their rights were recognized and protected. Although he was so committed to taking care of his clients, nothing compared to his commitment to his Lord and the service he gave to his Church, including serving as a Bishop; as a Stake President at Ricks College; as a counselor in the Boise and Pocatello Idaho Missions; as a Patriarch for his home Stake; and most importantly, as a Patriarch to his Family. Ray met his eternal sweetheart, Lola Jean Cook, when she was working as a cashier-usherette at the Paramount Theater in Idaho Falls. They dated and then corresponded through letters while Ray began his training with the Army Air Corp. Ray came home on a 22-day furlough and on December 8, 1944, Ray and Lola were married and sealed in the Logan Temple for time and all eternity. Together they raised a family of seven children, which has now grown to a posterity of 182 members, with each and every one knowing the love their father and grandfather had for them, as well as his love of the Gospel and his Father in Heaven. In addition to Ray's accomplishments in law and public service and service in his church, he never judged people regardless of their failings, but rather he saw the potential in them. Ray kept an interest in the family cattle operation and In the spring of each year, the corrals required repairing so that the cattle could be branded and vaccinated. Ray would salvage the bent, rusty nails by patiently tapping them with a hammer and straightening them out so that they could be used again to repair the corrals. So too was Ray with his fellow men - never judging them for their faults, he would work with them, helping them find their potential, and oftentimes helped turn them toward good, productive, and happy lives. One of Ray's greatest attributes was instilled in him by his mother, Hattie. Ray had a positive outlook on everything he did. Even after Lola passed away, Ray lived alone for 17 years in the home she so meticulously designed and decorated. Only until it was unsafe for him to be alone did he live for three months in the wonderful care of the Homestead. As his family and friends visited him, each was buoyed up by his cheerful countenance, especially his children. He made each of them feel that nothing was impossible and that they could do anything they desired if they worked hard enough. He also had a wonderful friend, Shirley Coleman. His family is especially grateful for her care and tenderness towards Ray. He is survived by his seven children: Laura (George) Copeland of Richland, Washington; Beverly Boyle (Larry, deceased) of Boise, Idaho; Joyce (Douglas) Garner of Centerville, Utah; Jerry (Shelly) Rigby of Rexburg, Idaho; Blair (Denise) Rigby of Rexburg, Idaho; Beth (Ted) Hendricks of Rexburg, Idaho; and Natalie (Mark) Critchfield of Springville, Utah; 34 grandchildren, 98 great grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild. He is preceded in death by his wife, Lola Jean Cook Rigby; parents, Lester and Harriet (Hattie) Rigby; his brothers, Lalovi Rigby and Alden Rigby; his sister, LaRue Rigby Hunter; his son in-law, Larry Boyle; and two great grandchildren, Avery Copeland and Cannon Copeland. Funeral Services will be held Friday, June 21, 2019, at 11 a.m. in the Henry's Fork LDS Stake Center, 1508 W 3000 N, Rexburg, Idaho, with Bishop Twitchell officiating. Family and friends may call Thursday evening at Flamm Funeral Home in Rexburg from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., and on Friday at the stake center from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Interment will be in the Rexburg Cemetery. Condolences may be sent online to www.flammfh.com Ray 4/16/1923 - 6/12/2019Wendell Rigby