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Marlene Riggs

10/12/1935 - 12/22/2019
Service Date: 12/28/2019
Service Time: 11:00 a.m.
Service Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Fairway Groves Ward) 5350 E. McLellan Road, Mesa, AZ 85205
Visitation Date: 12/27/2019
Visitation Time: 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Also 1 hour prior to service
Visitation Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Fairway Groves Ward) 5350 E. McLellan Road, Mesa, AZ 85205
Interment: City of Mesa Cemetery

Marlene Knight Riggs, born October 12, 1935, passed away peacefully on Sunday, December 22, 2019, surrounded by family and loved ones.  Ready to greet her on the other side were her husband Wes, her brother Ron, her parents Keith and Lila, and four grandchildren. Left to carry on her legacy are siblings Sue Bennett and Steve Knight, her seven children: Rita (Les) Pico, Raylene (Greg) Anderson, Rosemarie (Gary) Gunnell, Russ (Jesse) Riggs, Renay (Kevin) Barnwell, Ryan (Rikki) Riggs, and Rebecca (Rusty) Tingey; 36 grandchildren, and 47 great grandchildren.

Marlene will always be remembered for her contagious laugh, her bounding energy, her cheerful enthusiasm, her generous spirit, her unwavering faith, and her overflowing love she gave to everyone around her. We will miss her deeply.

Marlene has touched the lives of many people in many places.  She actively sought out the one.  No individual is anonymous–no encounter is insignificant.  For example, at restaurants while we would be looking over the menu and deciding what to order, Mom would be visiting with our server–making a new friend and sincerely learning all about her. At family gatherings we would be visiting and suddenly realize mom wasn’t there.  A search would find her sitting on the floor happily playing with dolls with a small granddaughter. Of the 4 full-time missions she served with Wes, three of them were spanish speaking. The language was an obstacle for her, but did that stop her from seeking out the one?  No!  She carried pens, pencils, gum, and candy in her purse so that she would have a small gift for each child she encountered.

Marlene loved being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  She found joy serving in a variety of assignments, and would throw her heart into each one exclaiming that the calling she currently had was her “very favorite one.”

Marlene has made the world a better place, one connection at a time.  If you are one of the many she has singled out and touched, please come celebrate her legacy.  A funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, December 28, 2019 at 5350 E McLellan Rd, Mesa, AZ 85205.  The family will be receiving loved ones prior to the service (10:00 – 10:30 AM) and also on Friday, December 27, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the same location.

In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to the Church’s Missionary Fund


  • Sister Riggs was such an amazing woman! There was always a smile on her face and her smile lit up the room times a million. I didn’t come to church often but when I did she’d always make me feel so special and would always sit by me. She NEVER once made me feel different (I have purple hair, tattoos and piercings) she saw past that and into my soul. I couldn’t go anywhere without getting a warm hug from her. I love her so much and I can’t wait to see her again. I can still feel her sweet spirit hugging me and telling me how beautiful I looked. She always knew the words to say to make my burdens feel lighter. Now heaven gets to have her bright warm sweet spirit. I love you sister Riggs and I will miss you so much!!

  • “Birthday Buddy” you will be missed. Thanks for all the love and kindness you showed me while in my youth, and the smile and hug I received each chance we met while I was grown. Enjoy the reunion and we will meet again someday.

  • Sorry for your loss. Prayers are with you

  • There is no bigger loss than losing a love one, may the memories and blessings that she brought to each of you last forever. My sincere condolences and prayers to everyone! Love ya!

  • I worked as the secretary to the President of the Guayaquil temple while President Westlyn and Sister Marlene served in the Presidency. I helped her for almost 2 years with translations, written and simultaneous, and always marveled on how she didn’t need to know the language to communicate and express sincere love with people from heart to heart.
    I know my Savior better because I knew President and Sister Riggs. Sister Riggs will always be my best example of pure Christlike love.
    I always called her on June 1st, President’s birthday, on October 12th, her birthday, and for Christmas. Last October we talked and enjoyed a wonderful conversation. I called her today and didn’t hear her voice in the answering machine…
    I imagine the doors of Heaven wide open to receive one of God’s most kind, loving and happiest daughters, Sister Marlene Riggs. What a wonderful reunion it might have been with her loved Wes…
    My testimony is stronger thanks to their wonderful example of love and service.
    My prayers with her children, grandchildren and posterity. They are most blessed with her wonderful legacy.

    With love…

  • Ben and Mayra Clawson

    We feel really sad about this news 😔 Her Husband and She practically were our Cupid between my husband and me We will grateful eternally having her friendship God Bless their family with comfort in their heart Rest in peace sweet Marlene 😔

  • Gary and Susan Heiner

    We loved Marlene. She always had a smile and could make us laugh. She will be missed.

  • Dr. Mara Burroughs Hover

    Dear Riggs Family,
    May your lifetime of memories bring peace to you at this time.

  • Marlene, thank you for the sunshine smile you brought to me. I am grateful that our life’s path has crossed. Thank my Heavenly Father for sending you to me for learning the lessons of beauty within, patience, kindness, and thy love. Thank you Marlene ❤️❤️

  • Terry & Connie Goodin

    The world is less bright without Marlene. When we moved into the neighborhood, directly across the street, she cheerfully greeted us with a gift. Each year she brought us homemade jam along with a warm smile and encouraging words. We will miss her and her wonderful spirit of love. As we reviewed the Christmas card we received last week from her, we were reminded of an attitude toward life that was truly inspirational and which that will stick with us.

  • Marlene and Russ together again for all eternity. Oh how wish

  • Together for all eternity.

  • Susan Christensen

    There is only ONE Marlene Riggs! My life has been forever changed by knowing her. She is the most selfless, Christlike person I have ever met. She will be greatly missed.
    Love and condolences to the family.

  • A special lady! She was always there with a listening ear.

  • I was with Marlene in a book club for about 40 years and have felt of her testimony, diligence, love for her family and warmth of her friendship in many private discussions. She has such a zest and enthusiasm for life and a very tender spirit. How grateful I am for her example and influence. She missed her sweet Wes and longed to be with him once again. What a blessing that she could return to him to celebrate Christmas together.

  • Renae Roberts Aston

    Sister Riggs’ smile will always be an example to me of how much a smile can bless others! Her children also smiled and shared her light! I had the chance to be in her home as a child and she always treated everyone and me with so much kindness and love. I have always remembered the experience of how her eyes and smile could share love and kindness. She is such a special lady! Sending hugs to the Riggs family!

  • Marc and LeAnn Weight Goettel

    Rita and Raylene, oh how we loved your parents and are grateful for their influence in our lives. We benefited from hanging around with you. Our love to both of you and your families at this time. xoxo

  • Teresa White Yetter

    Love and condolences to all your family. Marlene was an elect lady. Last time I saw her was in the Mesa Temple last spring before it closed and she was beaming. Her smile was contagious. My mother Shirley White also sends her love as She shares so many fond memories of Marlene as they served together in Mesa 6th Ward.

  • The Blau Family

    We just found out – 2 1/2 years later. The entire Blau Family are devasted by this news. “Grandma” Riggs loved our three girls like they were her own. We have such fond memories of Marlene taking our children with her own grandchildren on outings! At our youngest daughters baby shower, when Marlene showed up, we quickly scooted her up and she sat in the place of honor right next to the mother to be. Our lives have been touch in so many ways by her infectious smile and love. We wish we had known, we would have been there to say, “Vaya con dios.” She will be missed

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