Obituary: Richard “Rich” Walker Wiggins (February 28, 1956 – February 8, 2014)
Passed away February 8, 2014 in Holt, MI. Born Feb. 28th, 1956, in Chicago, IL, and raised in Decatur, AL, Rich was a proud son of a chief engineer of NASA’s Skylab Space Station. A high achiever throughout his life, Rich attended Michigan State University, where he worked later for many years as a systems programmer and manager, retiring as a Senior Information Technologist in 2010. Always a visionary, Rich will be remembered primarily as a champion of the Internet — speaking, teaching, and publishing about its potential. An outstanding communicator, he wrote one of the earliest books about the Internet — “The Internet for Everyone: A Guide for Users and Providers“, published by McGraw-Hill in 1994. The vanity plate on his car? “INTRNET”.
Rich was consulted by and featured in numerous national media venues, including The New York Times (his beloved, must-read newspaper). Local TV and radio stations called upon him frequently for appearances and commentary. With his good friend Charles Severance, he appeared regularly on a popular segment of WKAR‘s AM 870 NewsTalk radio program, debating contemporary technology topics and giving computer advice to callers. Rich and Chuck also co-hosted a national television program — “Internet: TCI“, from 1994-1997. An enthusiastic team leader, Rich played a significant role in moving Michigan State University forward into the new world of the Internet.
Rich was a brilliant, charming and complicated man who made friends everywhere. He was eager to debate politics and discuss the latest news with anyone, and was known as a relentless punster. Warm weather was one of his passions; he could be seen wearing shorts and sandals well into November, adamantly refusing to acknowledge the end of summer. He loved Lake Michigan, Key West, Canada, MSU’s Summer Circle plays, the Moody Blues, Wendy’s iced tea, and El Azteco. Rich treasured all of his friends, relatives, and colleagues. He is gone from us far too soon.
Rich was preceded in death by his parents, Herbert H. Wiggins, Sr. and Ethel Gardiner Wiggins; and his brothers, David and Herbert Jr. He is survived by numerous cousins.
A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Palmer, Bush & Jensen Family Funeral Homes Holt-Delhi Chapel, Holt, MI. Visitation will begin at 12:00PM, followed by a 1:00PM service. Friends are invited to gather afterwards for refreshments. In lieu of flowers, Rich requested specifically that donations be made to the Michigan State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Condolences can be made at www.palmerbush.com.