William “Bill” Bankston Riggins, of Laurinburg, NC passed into the arms of the Lord on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC.
Bill was born in Atlanta, GA in 1932 to parents, Katherine Bankston Riggins and Thomas Cornelius Riggins. He was predeceased by both of his parents, his son, Sidney Mark Riggins, and his brother, Ronald Lee Riggins. Bill is survived by his wife of 63 years, Sarah Beane Riggins; son, Ronald Lee Riggins (Denise) of Laurinburg; son, William Bankston Riggins of Snellville, GA, Grandchildren; Ryan Cathcart Riggins (Jacqueline) of West End, NC; granddaughter, Katherine Alice Riggins of Orlando, FL; his brother, Thomas Cornelius Riggins (Nelda) of Lake of the Ozarks, LA; brother, Jerry Curran Riggins (Vickie) of Laurinburg); sister, Katherine Ann Stafford (Bob) of Southern Pines; and also by a host of loving and devoted family and friends.
Bill came to live, work and devote his life to others in Scotland County in 1948 when his parents and four siblings moved here to this community to lease and operate the Chetwyn Hotel on Main Street. In 1953 Bill’s father and mother built and operated the Tradewinds Motor Court and Restaurant here in Laurinburg in what is now known as Scotland Square. Bill graduated from high school in Laurinburg at the age of 17. He was an excellent student and his yearbook shows him voted “best dresser and best dancer”. Bill asked his father to sign for him to join the United States Marine Corps and he served his time during the Korean War.
After the war he worked for a few years with General Motors in Michigan. Bill’s father passed in 1956 and after this and following several years of courtship he returned to Laurinburg to marry Sarah on January 4, 1957. He and his siblings founded Riggins Enterprises, Inc in 1956 and businesses operating under that corporation included many. He and his family operated Tradewinds after his father’s death and as the routes of travel North and South began to shift from Main Street to 15-501 they sold this and built the Laurinburg Motel and Plantation Restaurant renamed the Scotland Inn in 1958.
In 1960 and 1961, he and his brothers built and operated two bowling alleys, both known as Varsity Lanes, one in Laurinburg and one in Lumberton. These were operated by the family until 1974. In 1966 they purchased Pine Acres Lodge and Pine Acres Restaurant. The Restaurant operated as Pine Acres for three years and was later operated as Jerry’s Delicatessen. He developed The Scotland Inn and Restaurant in 1975 and together with sons Ronnie and Sidney developed Champs Fine Foods and Spirits in 1986. Both the Deerfield Subdivision and The Colony Housing Development were built by Bill beginning in 1987. Bill founded the Riggins Company in 1993 and it does business today as the Hampton Inn of Laurinburg.
Bill was on the board of Directors locally and also served on the corporate board of First Southern Savings and Loan. He was proud to have been a part of taking this bank public with great success as the bank was sold and is now a part of Royal Bank of Canada. He served on the Scotland Health Care System board of Trustees in the late 80’s to middle 90’s. He was a 63 year Mason, a 60 year Shriner, reaching the highest possible designation of 33rd degree. He was very proud of having been recognized as having raised inexcess of one million dollars for the Shriners Hospitals and Burn Centers. In December 2018, Senator Tom McInnis presented Bill with a plaque for being a 60 year member of the American Legion. Bill was one of the founding members of the Laurinburg Optimist Club charted in 1961. He was instrumental in beginning and carrying out several of the programs of the club. He continued to participate in the clubs fundraisers throughout his life.
Bill and Sarah were long time members of St. John’s United Methodist Church and about 12 years ago he and his wife and other church members began St. John’s Methodist Food Bank. He has enjoyed great friendships and comradery with members of the church and of the food bank which operated separately but in conjunction with the church to provided grocery items to those in need in the Scotland County. For many years, Bill and wife Sarah and sponsored a Scholarship at Richmond Community College School of nursing for one student from Scotland County. Last year Bill was the recipient of the Dunbar McKoy Quality of Life Award at the Scotland County Area’s 80th annual meeting and banquet.
Bill enjoyed travel and fine dining when he was able to get away. He enjoyed racing in all forms. He was an avid golfer in his time. He was a most unpretentious man but did enjoy driving his yellow corvette which he gladly shared with his boys. Bill loved his whole extended family and often shared memories of being “at the lake” or “at the beach” or “in Florida” with his family, his siblings and their children. He enjoyed many beach days with his grandchildren and immediate family later in life and he and Sarah continued to travel together to explore the Unites States whenever possible.
Most of all Bill loved his wife Sarah and his boys. His grandchildren were a huge source of joy for him and he loved them deeply. If you had asked Bill what his profession in life was he would have said “I was an Innkeeper”. If you had asked Bill what his proudest accomplishment was… he would say that he was most proud of “what he was able to do for others”.
William B. Riggins was one of the most optimistic and kind persons while also being able to accomplish much, lead many and serve his God, his family and his community.
Funeral services will be 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 12, 2020 at the Richard Boles Funeral Service Chapel. Burial with military honors will follow in Hillside Memorial Park.
The family will receive friends from 5:00 until 7:00 on Saturday evening at Richard Boles Funeral Service.
Memorial donations are requested to be given to the St. John United Methodist Church Food Bank, P.O. Box 181, Gibson, NC 28343.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William "Bill" Bankston Riggins, please visit our floral store.