Herbert Leroy Riggs, affectionately known as “Herbie” or “Herb,” was born to the late John Adolphus Riggs Sr. and Jerrothia (Allenfonzo) Riggs on November 2, 1946, in Camden, NJ. Herb peacefully departed this life on January 6, 2023, and began his eternal life with our Lord and Savior.
Herb graduated from Camden High School in 1965 and joined the United States Navy that same year. He served aboard the USS Diamond Head during the Vietnam War. After four years of active service, Herb was honorably discharged and went on to attend Rutgers University and then Boston State College after relocating to Boston, MA.
Herb married the love of his life Julia Ann (Williams) Riggs, who he affectionately called “Julie” in 1967. To that union, a son Ronald Dean Riggs and a daughter Dana Michele (Riggs) Dowell, were born.
Herb helped create one of the first “1st Time Homebuyer Classes” in the city of Boston during the late 1980s and early 1990s for three non-profit organizations, Veterans Benefits Clearinghouse (VBC), the Freedom House and Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI).
Herb worked for the American Arbitration Association in the early 1990s, mediating for the victims of the highly publicized Boston Mortgage Scam that took place in the late 1980s. Herb partnered with his good friend, George Bullock, to create one of Boston’s first black-owned mortgage companies called City Mortgages, Inc. He also partnered with his best friend, Walter Long, in owning and operating several real estate agencies over the years.
Herb was also a home inspector for over 25 years. He was one of the founders of Advanced Building Inspectors (ABI), where he worked alongside his son Ronald Riggs for the last 17 years until illness caused him to stop. Providing people in the community with the tools and knowledge to obtain homeownership was his passion and lifelong mission.
Herb had a strong personal relationship with the Lord. He was a huge supporter of Blue Hill Missionary Baptist Church, where he often claimed the shepherd of the house, Pastor Joseph R. Lloyd, as “his” pastor. Herb was a constant source of encouragement during the church conference calls every Sunday. Although he didn’t have the opportunity to stand before the congregation and officially join, it was very clear that was his intention once the church reopened. His openness, honesty, and steadfast praise were truly inspirational, and Pastor Lloyd designated Herb as the honorary Father of the Church shortly before his passing.
Herb was preceded in death by his parents, John A. Riggs Sr. and Jerrothia Riggs; sisters Annetta Braxton, Elizabeth Riggs, and Dianne Wilson; sisters-in-law Charlotte Riggs and Loretta Riggs; and niece Lovell Riggs.
Herb leaves to cherish his memory, loving wife Julia Riggs; son Ronald (Barbara) Riggs; daughter Dana (Arthur) Dowell; grandchildren Arthur Small Dowell, Ariana Small Dowell, Avery Riggs, Amber Riggs, Aaron Dowell, and Raven Riggs;
great-grandchildren Logan Mincey, Tanari Small Dowell, and Mona Haney; brothers John Riggs Jr. and Richard (Cynthia) Riggs; sister Barbara Riggs; and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends.
Herb was the patriarch and the backbone of his family. He will forever be missed.