Riggin Dennis
Riggin Dennis
  • January 8, 1951 - August 17, 2017
  • Boulder, Colorado

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Crist Mortuary

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Boulder, CO 80301
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Dr. Dennis Riggin passed away on August 17, 2017, following a long struggle with multiple health issues.
Dennis was born on January 8, 1951 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and spent most of his youth in Tucson, Arizona. Dennis' first love was music, and he initially studied viola at the University of Arizona before completing a B. S. in Electrical Engineering in 1977. He pursued graduate studies on plasma waves at Cornell University under the mentorship of Don Farley, earning a Ph.D. in 1987. Following several years of federal employment, Dennis pivoted from ionospheric physics to remote sensing of the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT). In 1993 he joined Dave Fritts' research group at the University of Colorado, and in 1997 migrated with them to Colorado Research Associates, a division of Northwest Research Associates, Inc. His responsibilities there included installation, operation and management of medium frequency (MF) radar systems in Hawaii, the Cook Islands, and Antarctica. Dennis utilized the new MF radar winds for many innovative studies of gravity waves, tides, and planetary waves. With the launch of the TIMED, EOS and TRMM missions between 2001 and 2008, Dennis' work increasingly focused on understanding the forcing and evolution of MLT waves embedded within global-scale systems such as the quasibiennial oscillation and the El Niño Southern Oscillation. In 2012 Dennis joined the new Boulder division of GATS-Inc., established by Dave Fritts. At the time of his death, he was actively researching the causes of explosive 2-day wave amplification during solstice. Dennis also had long-term collaborations and several visiting professor appointments with Toshitaka Tsuda's radar group at Kyoto University in Japan.
Dennis was a man of far-ranging interests and abilities. He was a talented viola player, and performed for years with Boulder area orchestras and ensembles. He regularly attended Chamberre in the Rockies, a program for mature amateur and professional musicians. Dennis had a great love and reverence for the Japanese culture. He was conversant in the language, and enjoyed sushi above all other cuisine. He practiced Buddhism for a number of years, and was a student of Iyengar yoga. At the time of his death he was a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Boulder.
Dennis had a patient and gentle demeanor, and a kind spirit. He will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by all of his coworkers, and many in our community.
Dennis is survived by his mother, Rosella Heinrichs, sister Cynthia Riggin, niece Morgan Benson, and former spouse Leslie Cooksy.
There are no plans for a public memorial service at this time

Arrangements under the direction of Crist Mortuary, Boulder, CO.