Jo Ann Riggs

August 15, 1938 - June 17, 2021

Jo Ann Riggs, 82, died June 17, 2021, in a peaceful home setting with family surrounding her. She was born on August 15, 1938, in Ruston, Louisiana, to Harold Curtis Nelson and Sudie Andrews Nelson, and spent her early years living on a dairy farm. Economic hardship forced her parents to sell the farm, and in the summer of 1943 the family moved to Orange, Texas, where her father went to work at the shipyard and eventually opened a bicycle shop.

Jo Ann accepted Christ at a revival at the age of ten, and at the age of 82 still vividly remembered the details of that experience. Her faith in Jesus was a central part of her life and she lovingly and generously shared all of the gifts and talents that God had given her.

After graduation from Stark High School in 1956, Jo Ann earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Lamar University in Beaumont. She married Jerry Riggs in 1961 and together they raised their three boys. In addition to being a homemaker, she worked at Sun Oil, First Christian Preschool, Odom Academy, and Sallie Curtis Elementary, as well as volunteering at the neighborhood church that she loved so much.

Her creativity was displayed in numerous ways such as: homeroom mom, team mom, cook, baker of cakes for all occasions, painter, pianist and piano teacher, seasonal decorator at church, Thrift Shop volunteer, gardener, and party hostess extraordinaire. Family and friends will perhaps remember her most for the way she eagerly welcomed everyone into her home for a visit, a meal, or even to live there for a while. Jo Ann, like her mother, was a talented seamstress, who made Forest Park twirling outfits, clothes for herself and her family, and countless last-minute alterations for frantic friends and family.

Jo Ann’s life was always full of activity, including attending her grandchildren’s dance recitals, concerts, award ceremonies, baseball games, softball games, and soccer games. More recently, she eagerly anticipated visits with her great grandsons. She bowled, played Bunco, and had regular luncheons with the women who attended high school with her, affectionately referred to as the Orange Bunch.

Jo Ann was preceded in death by her parents and her husband. She is survived by her brother, James Nelson and wife, Toni, of Wimberley; her three sons, Kyle Riggs and wife, Debbie, of Beaumont; Kent Riggs and wife, Leslie, of Kountze; and Keith Riggs and wife, Kim, of Port Neches. Her grandchildren are Macy (Riggs) and husband, Blair Tatum, of Benbrook; Amber Riggs of Lumberton; Karson and Emily Riggs of Beaumont; Noah and Abby Riggs of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Logan Riggs and Makenna Riggs of Port Neches, as well as great-grandsons, Jack Tatum and Hudson Riggs.

A gathering of Mrs. Riggs’s family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., Sunday, June 20, 2021, at Forest Park United Methodist Church. The Celebration of Life will be at 10:00 a.m., Monday, June 21, 2021, at Forest Park United Methodist Church, 225 South Major Drive, Beaumont. Her interment will follow at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Beaumont, under the direction of Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Forest Park United Methodist Church, 225 South Major Drive, Beaumont, Texas 77707.

Please observe social distancing guidelines. By attending any public event you are acknowledging the risk of exposure to the Corona Virus. Please follow the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control:


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Forest Lawn Memorial Park

Forest Lawn Memorial Park
  • 4955 pine st beaumont tx 77703

Celebration of Life

Celebration of Life
  • 225 south major drive beaumont texas 77707
  • 06/21/2021
  • 10:00 am

Gathering of Family and Friends

Gathering of Family and Friends
  • 225 South Major Drive, Beaumont, Texas 77707
  • 06/20/2021
  • 2:28 pm

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Shirley Steele

Jo Ann and I have been friends since our teen years. She was a wonderful friend and confidant for many years. I will miss our chats and her beautiful smile, but I rejoice knowing that she is with loved ones and in the embrace of our Lord. My condolences to her children and extended family. God comfort you in your time of sorrow.

Bob Phillips

Sending my prayers and sympathy to the family of Joanne Riggs

Kristi Fincher Weber

I remember Ms.Joann’s hugs were the best! She was a beautiful person inside and out,, patient, graceful and made the best cakes ever! She once showed me all the cakes she kept in the freezer! I was amazed at that! I remember her saying.. you never know when you’ll need a cake quickly! I know she was loved by many! My condolence to the family!! Love, Kristi

Jim Davis

My family was one of those welcomed by Jo Ann for many a visit and meal. Many great memories made around her table over the years. We grieve with you, but with hope!

mary ann shumaker

Jo Ann was such a strong women, I really enjoyed working with her at First Christian Pre School. May she rest in peace.

Maxine Pierce

Jo Ann was such a special lady that I considered a friend. I did her hair for several years until I had became ill. I pray her sons and grand children always know how special you were to her. She always kept me informed about each of you. Praying for peace and comfort for all of you.

Shiyue Hou

9 June 2021 at 18:43 | # Jo Ann was such a great grandmother , I am an international student study at LU. I really enjoy visiting her and eating cake which she made. I really like staying with her and listening her introduce her family. I miss her so much. May she rest in peace.

Ruel and Grace Riggs

JO Ann was a special lady with so many talents and she was always willing to share her time and talents. I remember once thanking her for a special favor and she replied, "We're family and that's what families do.. We are always there for one another." She was the "glue" that held the family together. We will miss her.

Christy M. Williams

The world is dimmer without you….. thank you, for loving me and many other unconditionally. Christy-Belle

Liz Noone Ferguson

Kent I so sorry for your loss. Your mom was a sweet woman. I was just thinking about her , she made Daniel and my wedding cake.. I’ll keep your family safe n my prayers

Kathleen Jamison

Jo Ann and I were sisters in law. She bought a new home 1963 or 64. We soon moved to same neighborhood. Had our babies at the same time. Shared all the holidays. She was always generous with her time and gifts. Our kids had much fun together. Later I moved out of state. It was a special delight to see her at my grandchildren’s wedding. Our last visit was the summer before Covid. She was sill in the same house and proudly showed me all the help her children and grandchildren did to put her house back together after a disaster. JoAnn was easy, good company. Heaven has a new angel.

Faye Prejean

my deepest condolences to Jo Anns family. She will be greatly missed. Enjoyed playing Bunco with her. I remember drinking the best hot chocolate she would bring to the football games She made my daughters wedding cake. A very talented woman. May her soul rest in peace. May God give comfort to her family

John Nicklebur

It is with tremendous sadness that I will be unable to celebrate Joann’s life with her family and friends. When she decided to go back to work and ended up applying to be my secretary, was the luckiest day of my career. We often joked that she was my “ work wife”. She was always one step ahead in getting certain things done brfore I even realized they needed to be done. She was truly the best person I ever hired for any position. She was always there for advice that she could help with. Everyone knew that anything she ever relayed to a staff person had gone through me first. Joann was very loyal to Odom and later with me at Sally Curtis. Joann was a devoted mother to all of her children, grandchildren and me. Example.. after my transplant surgery in 1999,, Joann and the nurse chlorides my office and hers every morning before I got there and put up a gate so no one would come in if she was not at her desk. We still kept in touch and called each other on our birthdays.. I really did love two women and got away with it.