J. Keith "Doc" Rigby

Born: Fri., Oct. 10, 1947
Died: Sun., Nov. 6, 2011


4:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Tue., Oct. 11, 2011
Location: Cleveland Rd. Location

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, Wed., Oct. 12, 2011
Location: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Funeral Service

11:00 AM Sat., Nov. 12, 2011
Location: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

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 J Keith “Doc” Rigby, Jr., 64, of South Bend passed away Sunday morning in his home.  He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah to J Keith Rigby, Sr. and Ruth Marie (Krebs) Rigby of Provo, Utah.  On April 10, 1971 he married Virginia Kay Peterson and they had three children: Heather Annette (Richard) Varley, Hilary Nichole Rigby, and Joel Korrin Rigby.  On July 18, 1987 in South Bend, Keith married Susan Kathleen Swanson and they have Rachel Christina Rigby, Sarah Celeste Rigby, and Dana Marie Rigby.  He is survived by his parents, wife, six children, two sisters, Claudia Bosworth (Fred) of Maryland and Jaynanne Meads of Utah, and 8 nieces and 4 nephews.


Keith was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In 1968 he began a two year mission in Austria.  He was a dedicated home teacher and loved missionary work.


Keith graduated from Brigham Young University in 1971 with a bachelor of science degree.  He received his PhD in geology from Columbia University in 1977 specializing in the mammalian fossil record.


Keith worked for the Bureau of Land Management as the field office paleontologist in New Mexico until 1982 when he joined the University of Notre Dame faculty.  Doc was an associate professor of geological sciences at Notre Dame.  He traveled the world looking at the fossil record.  Doc spent large amounts of time in Utah with his father, also a geologist, in Montana near the Fort Peck Reservoir with the Earthwatch Institute, and in China with the Beijing Museum of Natural History.  He loved teaching and lectured often regarding both fossil preservation and new theories in paleontology.


Visitation will be held from 4-8 p.m. Friday November 11th at the Welsheimer North Family Funeral Home (17033 Cleveland Road).  A viewing will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (930 Park Place, Mishawaka) at 10 a.m. on Saturday November 12th.  The Funeral Services will be at 11 a.m. at the LDS Chapel with Bishop James Carrier officiating.  Cremation will follow with a memorial service at a later date in Utah. 


Memorial contributions in his memory maybe made to the donors choice.  E-mail condolences may be made at www.welsheimer.com


Charitable donations may be made in J.'s memory to the following organization:

Donors choice.

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Denise Neal
   Posted Thu November 10, 2011
One door shut, another opened and God said, "Come on in Keith"!

Clive and I are so sorry for your loss of a husband and father. Keith was a good man, funny and well loved. He will be missed, but his legacy lives on in his children and the work he started here.

Welcome home Keith! Your loved ones will be watched over. Rest in Peace

The Fiechtner Family/Clay High School
   Posted Thu November 10, 2011
Dear Sarah & Rigby Family,

We were deeply saddened to hear about the loss of your father. We know it was so unexpected. You have our deepest sympathy.

William J (Bill) Wagner
   Posted Thu November 10, 2011
Susan and family,
We have never met, but I wanted to tell you how sorry I was to hear about "Doc" Rigby's untimely death and how he changed my life. In 1997, I went on my first "dino-dig" in Ft Peck Montana. That was the year we found "Pecks Rex". I was hooked! I spent the next half dozen summers with him working in the field and in the lab. He was truly a "charismatic giant" of a man. He will be missed.
Bill Wagner

Hilary Rigby
   Posted Thu November 10, 2011

There are so many things we never got to say. I have always appreciated your advice and cherished our Montana summers. I can't believe you aren't with us anymore because I need you so much still. You are the voice of reason and have been for so much of my life. Who am I going to talk politics with, who am I going to hear say "I love you, little one," who will pick me up when I fall? I love you Dad and will miss you forever.

Thomas C. Hollocher
   Posted Fri November 11, 2011
Doc Rigby, by son Kurt at Union College Geology Department, and I at Brandeis University Biochemistry Department collaborated on the analysis and significance of an unusual coprolite collected by Rigby volunteers at a site south of Fort Peck in the Hell Creek Formation. The study resulted in a publication in early 2010 in the journal Palaios. The paper illuminated certain very early chemical and mineralogical processes that contribute to the fossilization of scat from carnivorous animals. We have reason to believe that this was Doc's last authored scientific publication. He was an inspiration in this study and in other scientific contacts we have had since 2003. Doc Rigby was a man of vivid scientific imagination whose ideas will be remembered for many years.

We extend our sympathy to your loss of a husband, father, and man of engaging personality.

Kaye and Lloyd Bybee
   Posted Fri November 11, 2011
Uncle Keith, Aunt Ruth, Susan, children, Claudia, and Jaynanne, We are so shocked, sad and grateful for the gospel. What would we do without the plan of salvation and the knowledge we have. We were so proud of Jay Keith, the life he lived and his accomplishments. Anelle says she and Charlie are the only cousins now around that age left, bringing back many memories of years when we were young, bringing tears to our eyes. We love you all and want you to know we wish we could be with you; know, however, our love, prayers, and thoughts are there.

   Posted Sat November 12, 2011
Please accept my sincere condolences on the death of your beloved husband, father, brother, and son. My heart aches knowing the pain you are going through. May you find peace during this most difficult time and may the love of God enfold you with his arms.


Anita Benedict
   Posted Sun November 13, 2011
I am so sorry to hear of Dr. Rigby's passing. I, too, was one of the lucky people to be in fort Peck the summer of 1997 when Peck's Rex was excavated. As I tell people - I went for two weeks and stayed for three and spent my summers for the next five years in Montana and four New Years Eves in China workng and learning with Doc. Because of him I entered into a new career that I love - museum collections management. I will miss his smile and will always be proud to have known him.

Sue Otten
   Posted Mon January 20, 2014
Dear Hilary and Family,
I just now 1/20/2014 found out about your Dad's passing. So sorry to hear of your loss. He was a great man. I worked with him and you, Hilary in 97 and two more summers at the Fort Peck dig. He taught us all so much, and his stories will forever be in my mind. Please give your family my condolences. May God forever guide you and ease your pain. Sincerely, Sue Otten, WA.

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