July 5, 1926 ~ August 3, 2022


Mary Strowd Ward Riggsbee died August 3, 2022, at age 96. She was born July 5, 1926, in Durham, North Carolina, to Mary Strowd and Robert Ward. She is survived by her sister, Kathryn Paul, daughter Lydia Maher (Steve), daughter-in-law, Lunday Riggsbee; nine grandchildren: Abraham, Zachary, Nathaniel, Dillon, Tessa, Alannah, Kathryn, Daniel, and William, and by 17 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, Baxter, and son Fred.

Mary Strowd attended school in Chatham County and graduated from Pittsboro High School in 1943. She attended Louisburg Junior College, where she was a member of the Student Council, Baptist Student Union, Yearbook, newspaper, Phi Theta Kappa National Honorary Scholastic Fraternity, and was secretary of Beta Phi Gamma National Co-educational Journalistic Fraternity. She then attended UNC Chapel Hill in the field of Journalism, working with The Daily Tar Heel, and worked in the UNC-CH Library after graduation. Her strength in Journalism was recognized by the Wall Street Journal.

Mary Strowd married Baxter Riggsbee on August 7, 1948. She began her career in the Chatham County Schools by working in the Central Office, then she taught English and Library Science from 1949-1953 at Moncure High School. She then began teaching at Pittsboro High School, but after Fred was born, she stayed home until 1960, when she returned to teaching at Pittsboro High School, and continued after Pittsboro High School consolidated with Horton High School and became Northwood High School. While teaching, she got her MA from North Carolina Central University and became Librarian at Northwood. She retired from the school system in 1988, with 31 years of service. She is remembered by many of her former students as an excellent teacher, firm but fair, and one of the best they ever had.

After retirement, she continued as an active member of Pittsboro Methodist Church, teaching Sunday School and serving as Secretary of the United Methodist Women. She also served as an officer of Alpha Delta Kappa Honorary Fraternity. However, after retirement, much of her time was spent with her grandchildren, enjoying and caring for them, taking them to Jordan Lake and to the beach, and surrounding her family with love.

Mary Strowd’s family would like to thank Barbara McQueen, Chris Tabon, Rhonda Goldston, Jessica Lucas, Kierra Marsh, and the UNC Hospice providers for the wonderful care she received from them.

The family received friends Tuesday, August 9, 2022, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Donaldson Funeral Home & Crematory, Griffin Chapel.

A memorial service was held Wednesday, August 10, 2022, at 9 a.m. at Pittsboro United Methodist Church with Rev. Lucas Nelson and Rev. Ray Gooch presiding. Her ashes, and Baxter’s, will then be buried at Mt. Gilead Baptist Church after the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made in Mary Strowd’s memory to UNC Hospice, P.O. Box 1077, Pittsboro, N.C. 27312, or the UNC Lineberger Cancer Hospital, P.O. Box 309, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514 would be appreciated.

Condolences may be made at www.donaldsonfunerals.com

Donaldson Funeral Home & Crematory is honored to serve the Riggsbee family.