Rilla May Wiggins
May 11, 1917 - April 14, 2007
Longtime North Routt County and Craig resident Rilla May Wiggins died April 14, 2007. She was 89.
Rilla May Hubbard was born May 11, 1917, in Optima, Okla., to Charta Jane (Roberts) and William Franklin Hubbard. She was raised in Hugoton, Kan., and graduated from McPherson College in McPherson, Kan.
She married Albert Pleasant Wiggins on July 14, 1939, in Hugoton, Kan., and immediately moved to Hotchkiss where Albert had been living. Their children are Marsala and William (Bill).
She has lived in Craig since 1946. They opened a photographic store, Wiggins Studio, in Craig in 1946, which closed in November 1975. After being at loose ends for part of the summer of 1976 they decided to open a gift shop, Things 'N' Stuff, at Hahn's Peak. They featured Al's scenery pictures. Rilla has run the shop every summer since. She enjoyed meeting people from all over the world as they came through the shop. She was instrumental in establishing the Hahn's Peak Historical Society and told the people about the history of Hahn's Peak, about the purchase of Wiggins' Diggins in 1951, and about her mission trips to Mexico.
She wrote weekly new articles for the Steamboat newspaper for 17 years. She wrote about the happenings of Hahn's Peak and each week, told people about the various wild flowers that were in bloom. She enjoyed getting out to see the flowers each evening, if possible.
She has been to the top of Hahn's Peak at least a couple of hundred times, hiking the trail the first 15 years. She rode in the pink Jeep the last 43 years. That Jeep is a historic sight at Hahn's Peak and she enjoyed driving it.
Rilla accepted the Lord as a child and served Him throughout her life. She worked with Spanish American Evangelistic Ministries in El Paso, Texas, in the winter for more than 25 years. She helped to assemble tracts to put in Bibles and then she traveled all throughout Mexico with a small group distributing Spanish New Testaments to all that would receive them. She loved playing with the children they met along the way. She took pictures of all their trips, and when she came home, she gave slide shows and received contributions to purchase more Bibles. She has helped to spread the gospel by distributing thousands of Bibles.
She was instrumental in keeping the church open at Hahn's Peak in the summers with the help of Janice Kay of Columbine. The church was open each Sunday and Rilla played the piano or the old army pump organ. She gave her slide shows of her mission work in Mexico at the end of the service. People from all over the world have attended that church and received the good news.
She was the keeper of the keys to the museum at Hahn's Peak. Being the keeper of the keys got the people into her shop, she could tell of them of her ministry and she invited thousands to enjoy the history of Hahn's Peak. She told them to visit the jail out back and see where Lant and Tracy, famous outlaws, were jailed.
Rilla loved music and she directed the choir at Christian Church for 35 years and at Snake River Community Church in Baggs, Wyo., several years.
She has traveled to over 35 countries. Al and Rilla were founding members of Ports of Call Travel Club and she traveled more than 100,000 miles with them. She has been to the Ivory Coast of Africa, Russia, Dubai (in 1998 she rode a camel there), and her last trip with them was to South Africa in 2001, where she flew in a helicopter over Victoria Falls. She also has gone down the Amazon in a canoe and all the way down the Danube on a ship.
Rilla enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest. She was always on the go which gave her the nickname of "GoRilla."
The past couple of months, Rilla said she was ready to go home and she asked the Lord to grant her this desire. She's gone home now and she is healed and with her Lord. Praise God!
She is survived by her son, William (Bill) Wiggins and his wife, Nancy, of Craig; her grandson, Albert and his wife, Cheryl Wiggins; great grandchildren, Grace and Noah Wiggins of Falling Waters, W.V.; granddaughter, Deborah and her husband, Edgar Pangilinan, of Huntington Beach, Calif.; daughter, Marsala Hancock of Clark, and her children, Kelly of Midwest City, Okla., Markala of DeQuincy, La., and Keith of Craig.
A memorial service for Rilla Wiggins was held April 26, 2007, at the First Christian Church in Craig. There will be another service this summer at Hahn's Peak, date and time to be announced.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the Spanish American Evangelistic MinistriesBibles for Mexico to continue Rilla's Ministry in care of Bill Wiggins, P.O. Box 122, Baggs, WY 82321.