Being There Is What Fatherhood Is All About

In the early 1970s Larry Riggs and his wife Arlene settled down in Sidney and began a venture of family. With three children, eleven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, there is always something to keep Riggs busy and he notes that while his kids and even some of his grandkids are grown, he is always interested in what they're doing.

"I'm still involved with all of them," Riggs said. "Communication is important and we talk often. They still rely on me for fatherly advice."

Some of Riggs' favorite memories of having his son and daughters at home are those of family outings, vacations, get-togethers, camping at Fort Peck, and certainly music. Riggs recalls several occasions where he was playing the piano and singing as Arlene made dinner.

"The kids had to dance with mom to get through the kitchen.... But they all learned to dance!' he laughed.

Music continues to be a part of life for the Riggs family; family get-togethers and birthdays often becoming karaoke parties with everyone of age at the South 40 singing and celebrating.

Over the years, he has instilled in his children the importance of always learning, a sense of work ethic, and the value of humility, encouraging them to keep their bridges intact.

"I picked my kids up when they fell down and disciplined them when they needed it. Someone once told me that all we can do is give our children the benefits of our experience and let them run with it and I always remember that. No matter how old they are, be there; always be there."

Riggs has plenty of fun as a grandpa these days, spending a lot of time with the great-grandkids, the newest additions to the family. As a special gift, Larry and Arlene Riggs take each of their grandchildren on a trip to Mexico with them after graduation and it is something that has quickly become a welcome tradition.

The Riggs family has come a long way since their oldest was born, coming into the world just four days after Larry Riggs left for his first of three tours of duty in Vietnam. He came back to a daughter who was walking and talking the first time he saw her.

When asked if he had any advice for fathers, Riggs gave heartfelt credit to his wife of forty-nine years saying, "One of the best things that you can do for your kids is to love their mother. They notice. They see it. I wasn't always the best dad, but Arlene kept me on the straight and narrow."


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