By Bradford Sherman
The Ohio State University South Centers, the College, and The Ohio State University lost a beloved friend and colleague in April with the passing of Duane Rigsby. Duane was one of the first staff members hired at CFAES South Centers when it first opened in 1991. Duane was nearing his 31st anniversary of service with the university as a most loyal and faithful Buckeye.
MENTOR, HISTORIAN, FRIEND
His importance to South Centers cannot be overstated. It seemed he was ever-present and always the first person anyone thought to call whenever there was a problem. Duane kept all the computer and phone systems working, took lots of pictures and recorded videos, kept the water flowing, and made sure everyone felt safe and comfortable with his knowledge of security and HVAC systems.
He was a historian of our center with a deep knowledge and appreciation of the history of South Centers, especially keeping up with former staff members. He had collected a treasure trove of photos and memories over his 30-plus years in Piketon and loved to impart his knowledge and experiences to newer generations of employees.
He was always there to help anyone, no matter what the need. Perhaps Duane’s co-workers will most remember him for his willingness to help anyone with anything, and always with a smile and patience. He once jokingly said, “not many IT guys wear work boots,” which perfectly encapsulated his “not afraid to get his hands dirty” attitude. He would happily plow snow, unclog a toilet, or dig a ditch, just the same as if he were fixing a printer. If it needed doing, he was always there to get it done.
VIDEO STUDIO FOUNDER
Duane, along with Patrick Dengel and Sarah Swanson, was also a founding member of the South Centers Telecast/Video team. The videos have skyrocketed in popularity and importance in recent years.
“Duane was a true believer in providing educational material to not only our subscribers, but to individuals throughout the region and in Ohio,” said Dengel.
The studio has grown to surpass 1,500 subscribers on YouTube and South Centers educational programming can be seen on several television stations throughout Ohio.
Duane Lee Rigsby, 52, of Portsmouth, passed away on April 27, 2022, at Hospice of Central Ohio at Ohio State University Medical Center after a long battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He was a member of St. Mary ‘s Catholic Church. Duane was born to LeRoy and Mary Jones Rigsby. He was a graduate of Eastern High School in the class of 1988. He graduated with his Associate Degree in Forestry Management from Hocking Technical College in 1990 along with his best friend since the 5 th grade, Dean Rapp. They started their careers with The Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon, Ohio after graduation. He worked in the agricultural field before rewriting his own job description after teaching himself to work on computers. He worked his way up at OSU South Centers to become their IT Support and later Systems Specialist. He taught formal classes, and many individuals, the basics of using computer technology. He was also instrumental in running the OSU South Centers Studio with dear friends Patrick Dengel and Sarah Swanson. Duane was awarded the OSU Distinguished Staff award in 2010 and the OSU South Centers Outstanding Staff Award. He was a long-time member of the Lone Eagle Archery Club for many years with his good friends Darrell, Dwayne, and Wayne Risner, among many others.
He married the love of his life, Linda L. Kielmar Gray, on February 21, 1997. He was an amazing step-father to Rebecca Gray and later to his beloved daughter Katelyn Rigsby. Duane was preceded in death by his father, LeRoy Rigsby, his grandparents, Lundy & Mirta Rigsby and Cinnet & Maxine Jones, his father and mother-in-law, Richard & Saundra Kielmar, several aunts and uncles, as well as a very special uncle, Dave Jones, whom he loved and admired.
Survived by his loving wife of 25 years, Linda, daughters Rebecca Gray and Katie Rigsby, his dear mother, Mary Rigsby, and his honorary second mother-in-law, Mary Gray, and one granddaughter Saffron Cecilia Cassidy, brother & sister-in-law’s David & Teri Kielmar, Randy & Kathy Nelson, Tim & Carolyn Paul, Richard & Kelly Kielmar, Jim & Katrina Kielmar, and by many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and his dear friend, Dean (Stephanie) Rapp, his special Aunt Kay, and cousin David Aaron (Heather) Jones, as well as his beloved dog, Buddha.
Calling hours for friends and family were held at the Melcher-Hammer Funeral Home in Portsmouth, Ohio on May 3, 2022, A Mass of Christian Burial took place on May 4, 2022 at St. Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church, with burial following at Greenlawn Cemetery.