Ralph E. Rigdon, a retired United Auto Workers (UAW) member who was active with the Northwest Oregon Labor Council retirees, died peacefully at home June 18 at the age of 85.
Born Dec. 20, 1928, in Hubbard, Oregon, Rigdon graduated from Canby High School in 1946, and served in the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1954. He was a corporal in the Army’s signal core unit at the Pentagon during the Korean War.
In 1952, Rigdon was working at International Harvester (Milwaukie parts plant) when workers voted to join UAW. He became a member of UAW Local 492, and remained one the rest of his life. He stayed at International Harvester 16 years, worked at Chrysler for 24 years as a truck driver and forklift operator, and retired in 1992.
He was also a proud Democrat, a devoted member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Milwaukie, and a longtime supporter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
He is survived by Jeanne, his wife of 60 years, as well as six children, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. A funeral Mass and celebration were held July 1 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. Donations may be made in Ralph’s name to NAMI or Oregon Health and Science University Knight Cancer Institute.