Burnham Ward Riggs

February 26, 1932 - August 12, 2014 

Burnham Ward Riggs

February 26, 1932 - August 12, 2014 

Obituary for Burnham Ward Riggs

Burnham Ward Riggs of Hamilton, MA, born February 26, 1932 in Gardner, MA, died August 12th at the Chelsea Soldiers Home after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Son of Homer Chase Riggs and Alice Riggs (Ward), Burnham grew up in Andover and spent his summers on Robbins Island in Essex, MA. Burnham was a lover of the sea, hiking, skiing, and travel. Burnham is survived by his wife of 48 years, Judith Rich Riggs, and three daughters, Katherine von Haefen of Houston, TX, Jennifer Riggs and husband Michael T. Sullivan of Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Emily Fennessey and husband Robert of Ridgefield, CT, and seven grandchildren: Willem and Alison von Haefen; Amelia, Caraline and James Fennessey; and Penelope and Cordelia Riggs. He is also survived by his sister Carolyn Bernardin of North Andover and Martha’s Vineyard. He was predeceased by his parents and brother Homer Riggs, Jr.


Burnham attended Brooks School in North Andover and Yale, graduating in 1954. At Yale, Burnham was a founding member of Dukes Men, an accapella singing group that continues today. Following Yale, he served honorably in the Army. After receiving his Masters in Social Work from Boston University, Burnham dedicated most of his career to the Department of Mental Health.

A memorial service will be held at Christ Church, 149 Asbury Street, Hamilton on Saturday, September 6th at 10AM. Interment will follow in Essex at the Spring Street cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to the Chelsea Soldiers Home, 91 Crest Ave Chelsea, MA 02150 or to the Alzheimer’s Association, 480 Pleasant St, Watertown, MA 02472. Information, directions or condolences at www.campbellfuneral.com .
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