Ben Riggio
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Ben Riggio
  • September 23, 1923 - June 17, 2017
  • Carmel, California

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Ben Riggio, universally loved by all whom he touched, passed away June 17, 2017 at his home in Carmel, California.
Ben was born on September 23, 1923 in Southern Illinois, the son of Italian immigrants. He grew up in Murphysboro, Illinois attending St. Andrew's Parochial Elementary and Murphysboro Township High Schools. He was a student of Southern Illinois University until 1943 when he enlisted in the Army Air Corp at the age of 20. His air force training led him to become a navigator on a B-29 flying twenty-two combat missions over Japan. The experience in the Air Corp was a highlight of Ben's life; his perspective on life indelibly altered, and in his terms, taught him to be a gentleman, something he endeavored the entirety of his life thereafter.
On return to civilian life in 1946, Ben enrolled at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. Around that time, he was asked at the last moment to be one of the best men at an Italian wedding in St. Louis. After the ceremony, when Ben was leaving the church, Mary Nanette Vassallo of St. Louis, brushed into him entangling a button on her coat to a button on his. He met the love of his life that day. This magical encounter led to marriage six months hence on July 4 and lasted sixty-one years until Mary's passing in December of 2007.
In 1958, Ben and Mary pioneered from northern Illinois to Los Gatos and started a new life as Californians, a move Ben was proud to offer his family. Then, in 1980, Ben and Mary permanently relocated to Carmel.
Ben spent his entire career as a manufacturer's representative, first representing hardware manufacturers and, after a brief retirement, representing manufacturers of nutritional products.
Ben and Mary were blessed with four children, Nancy, Linda, Vivienne, and Christopher; two granddaughters, Angey and Zoe, and two great-grandsons, Ben and Roman.
He has been a member of the Carmel Mission Parish since 1980 and a member of the Knights of Columbus. Services will be held at the Carmel Mission Basilica on June 30, 2017 at 10:30 AM. All are welcome.