|Birth: ||Feb. 24, 1925|
|Death: ||Feb. 27, 1997|
Commercial Appeal, The (Memphis, TN) - February 28, 1997
Deceased Name: CHARLIE RIGGAN BEST KNOWN FOR CARS
Charlie Riggan, who made it big in cars, tractors, real estate and banking, died Thursday after a long bout with cancer. He was 72.
Mr. Riggan, who knew most of Shelby County's movers and shakers, was politically active for decades, but always from behind the scenes.
Best known as owner of Merrie Oldsmobile-GMC Trucks in Collierville, Mr. Riggan drew in car buyers with a long-running advertising slogan that boasted about eggs and Oldsmobiles being cheaper in the country.
''He had a knack for figures and a knack for people,'' said his daughter, Linda Wood of Memphis.
Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout, a Republican, met Mr. Riggan in the late 1960s, when Mr. Riggan was supporting the campaign of Democrat Bill Morris.
Rout, who, like Morris, benefited from Mr. Riggan's campaign contributions, said he found that Mr. Riggan was no blind partisan spender.
''He was a true independent. He had friends on both sides of the aisle,'' Rout said Thursday evening. ''He'd judge you not on partisanship, but on integrity and things of that nature.''
Collierville Alderman Tom Brooks called Mr. Riggan ''the kind of citizen you hate to lose.''
Brooks recalled an instance when city leaders wanted a double-decker bus to enhance the town's historic look, but couldn't justify buying one with tax dollars.
Mr. Riggan and another businessman bought the $28,000 bus for the town - in exchange for having their companies' advertisements on the bus for five years.
''They just elbowed up and paid for it. They've got pride in their town,'' Brooks said.
Among Mr. Riggan's many business interests was North American Communications of Tennessee Inc., a company that specializes in collect-call telephone systems for colleges and prisons, such as those at the Shelby County Correction Center.
Mr. Riggan also was involved in a minority empowerment program called Revelation Corp. of America Inc., which links black churches to increase their buying power.
He was a member of First Baptist Church of Collierville.
A native of Lake Cormorant, Miss., Mr. Riggan graduated from Mississippi State University after studying engineering, Wood said. He was a veteran of the Army in World War II.
Mr. Riggan's wife, Ruby, died of cancer in September 1995.
Besides Wood, he leaves two other daughters, Cheryl Riggan and Terry Lowery, both of Memphis, and five granddaughters.
Services will be at noon Saturday at Memorial Park Funeral Home.
The family asks that any memorials be sent to First Baptist Church of Collierville or to the American Cancer Society.
Connie Lester Riggan (1896 - 1970)
Sallie Esther Davis Riggan (1898 - 1972)
Ruby Merle Magers Riggan (1927 - 1995)*
Memorial Park Cemetery
Created by: Paula
Record added: Jan 13, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 32894284
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