Cheryl Dunn Riggs


Cheryl Dunn Riggs, 66, died peacefully in her home on March 8, 2012. Cherie was born in Montclair, NJ on September 25, 1945. She was one of four girls, and is survived by two of her sisters: Sandra Heffernan of Katonah, NY and Janice Chiodi of Mahwah, NJ. She was predeceased by her oldest sister, Marlene Payne.
Cherie was raised in Ridgewood, NJ by her mother, Dorothy Darling Dunn, after the premature death of her father, Millard John Dunn. She is a graduate of Ridgewood High School, Davis and Elkins College (BA) and Princeton Theological Seminary (MA). She served two churches as a Director of Christian Education: the Presbyterian Church of Chatham Twp, NJ and Westminster Presbyterian Church, Portland, OR. She then shifted her professional focus to serve the larger community. From 1987-1999 she was the Asst. Director of the Cancer Information Service at Fox Chase Cancer Center. From 2000-2010 she served as the Director of the Lancaster Campaign, a program of the Lancaster Alliance.

Cherie was a patient at Fox Chase Cancer Center for 8 years during which time she participated in four clinical drug trials. Her willingness led to two of these drugs being approved as new standards of care. However, her chief legacy is the way people experienced themselves when they were around her. She will be remembered by her family and friends for her strong faith, her contagious smile, her wonderful sense of humor, and her willingness to share her balanced perspective on life as she listened to the concerns of others.
She will be missed the most by her immediate family: her husband of 42 years, the Rev. Dr. Randolph T. Riggs, pastor of First Presbyterian Church; her daughter, Holly Jeannine Riggs; her son, Timothy Scott Riggs; and her grandchildren, Emma and Nya Riggs.

A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church 140 E. Orange St. Lancaster, PA on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. with the Rev. Dr. Donald W. Hackett, officiating. The family will receive guests from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. in the church, and immediately following the memorial service from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. in Shirk Hall. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to: Fox Chase Cancer Center, Breast Cancer Research, 333 Cottman Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19111.

Condolence Messages

  1. Harry Flick Jr.


    I was saddened to read of the loss of your wife, Cherie, in the paper over the weekend. Both of you have been in my prayers and you will continue to be. I hope that the burden of your loss will be lightened in a small measure by knowing that many fellow Rotarians share your grief.

  2. John Palmer

    Randy and family,
    I only met Cherie twice. What an inspiration! She made me forget all my problems and think of others. She will be misssed. There aren’t many people like her. My condolences. John Palmer

  3. Keith Yoder

    Randy and family,
    As the Regional Church of Lancaster County, we acknowledge your loss and also affirm the significant contribution and legacy that Cherie has made in the church, medical, and marketplace communities. As you have given your lives to minister to others in so many ways, we pray that you will be full of grace to receive the comfort and support from others in your own season of transition.

  4. Nancy Michael

    Dear Randy and family:

    you will probably not recognize my name but my sister is Linda Wagenseller. I have attended several services at your church over the years and was able to spend some time talking with you and Cheri at Chris and Liz’s wedding in Virgina a few years back.

    I want to tell you how very sorry we were to learn of her death. Linda has talked very highly of her and the positive attitude and courage she displayed throughout her illness. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family today and in the coming weeks. Please accept our sincere sympathy. Nancy and Jerry Michael

  5. Laura & Pete Haiges

    We are so so sorry to learn about your wife’s passing this weekend. Please know we are thinking of you and your family and we will being praying for you all.
    With Sympathy,
    Laura, Pete, Maddie, Sydney and Tatum

  6. Rob-Travis Jackson

    Randy and Family:

    I share your sorrow in the passing of Cherie. No words are quite adequate at this time but please know I am praying that you will maintain the “peace that passes all human understanding” in this, your time of need.

  7. Diane Lausman

    Dear Randy, Tim and family,

    So sorry to learn the sad news of your loss. Your family has been in my thoughts and prayers. My sincere sympathy to all.

    A friend from the Y,

  8. Dennis Sitler

    I am so sorry for your loss. Cheryl put up a corrageous battle. Obviously the Lord had some work for her to do in hevan. Our thoughts & prayers are with you.

    Dennis & Louise

  9. Rich & Martha Weggel

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time.
    Martha and Rich

  10. Sr. Pastor Phil & Yvonne Hernandez of In The Light Ministries, Lancaster

    Dear Rev. Dr. Randolph T. Riggs,
    We wish to express our condolences to you and yours on the loss of your bride,Cheryl. As you comprehend this profound loss, release your tears as a note of love rising to heaven. May cherised memories be forever present and may God speak peace and comfort.

  11. Sr. Pastor Phil & Yvonne Hernandez of In The Light Ministries, Lancaster

    Dear Rev. Dr. Randolph T. Riggs,
    We wish to express our condolences to you and yours on the loss of your bride,Cheryl. As you comprehend this profound loss, release your tears as a note of love rising to heaven. May cherised memories be forever present and may God speak peace and comfort.

  12. Duncan Kamunya & Family

    Dear Rev. Dr. Randy Riggs
    We are so sorry here at Muguga Kiambaa to learn the sad news of your wife passing away in about two weeks ago. Our thoughts and daily prayers of the Family are with you and your Family at this present time.
    Please accept our sincere Sympathy.

    Duncan & Family – Kiambaa (Kenya)

  13. Gregg Meister

    Randy — All my memories of the two of you together are good ones. With you, I’m thankful for all in Cheryl which was good and kind and pleasant. For her, this day is done while the new one beckons. May the reality of the Resurrection give you comfort. In Christ, Gregg

  14. Jan Masland

    Randy, Holly and Tim, Our family was so sorry to hear about your loss of Cheri. It will be felt by all of the people whom her bright smile and bravery touched. Larry will be at the celebration of her wonderful life on Saturday. Unfortunately a lifelong friend of mine in Carlisle has died and that funeral is at the same time as Cheri’s celebration but please know that I will be thinking of and praying for all of you. Jan Masland

  15. Herb Silfies

    Dear Randy and Family: How saddened and shocked I was to learn of Cherie’s passing. I know that she will be greatly missed as she was a wonderful and gracious lady and a wonderful wife and mother. I will always remember her as a very happy and caring person. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family.

  16. Sarah & Bob Swaney & the girls

    Dear Randy and family – We are saddened by the passing of your beloved Cherie. We know you will miss her greatly while you finish your work here. Rejoice in the promise of your reunification one day in our almighty God’s heaven!

  17. Don and Marty Herr

    Dear Randy and Family,

    We were so sorry to hear of Cherie’s death and want to extend our sincere sympathy to you. We always appreciated seeing her by your side at the end of services You must miss her in so many ways. We
    pray that you will continue to find comfort and strength in God’s promises, in the love of family and friends, and in the wonderful memories that live on–as does Cherie in the place God has prepared for her.

    Don and Marty

  18. Debra Dodds Gretina

    Dear Reverend Riggs,

    I am not quite sure what led me to search your name tonight, but I am certain I have found the right person. I regret that I am responding through this memorial site for your beloved wife, but wanted to tell you that I have only the fondest and most grateful memories of you and Cherie and the early morning Seekers who talked and cried and sang in a circle on the Oriental rugs of the United Church.

    You were a very important part of our lives so long ago. Could it really be 40 years? I recall the little run-down house we named Diaspora, hot chocolate on cold winter mornings in the church kitchen, the Friday night coffee house where Laurie Flood and Fred Lawrence and so many others played music that is still so awesome, even today.

    As I embrace the warmth of this Christmas season, I would be remiss if I did not let you know that you made a real difference in our young lives, a good difference that has guided each of us, no doubt, on our separate paths through life’s journey.

    Knowing whether you will ever read this is not important. I have a sense that we are still connected in some way, in our memory. Please know that I am sending my best prayers for grace and peace and the wish that you will find comfort in the quiet moments as you remember your wife’s love.


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