Jack Rigby

A photo of Jack Rigby

Jack Austin Rigby of Blenheim passed away at home on Monday December 20, 2021.  He leaves wonderful memories in the hearts of his wife Donna (Everitt) and their children and grandchildren; Rick Rigby (Lauren, Ryan and Erin), Valerie & Gino Loni (Shawn and Matthew), Pamela & John Roth (Olivia & Josh Duarte and Sophia), Carolyn & Sid Stevens (Jordan) and Steve & Lisa Rigby (Austin and Aiden).  Jack was a mentor to his children/grandchildren, sharing his knowledge and wisdom.  He took them to different countries to give them life experiences and encouraged them to make a difference in the world.

Born in Blenheim, the son of the late Monte & Ruby (Steel) Rigby, Jack is survived by his only sister Ann Henderson (late Bob).  He will be missed by Donna’s brother Bill & Doreen Everitt as well as many nieces and nephews.  He was predeceased by his mother-in-law & father-in-law Marjorie & Earl Everitt and by his sister-in-law Gail Crouch.

Jack grew up with two livelihoods:  farming and working alongside his father and uncle at the Ford dealership – Rigby Motors Sales.  In 1973, Jack purchased his first farm (50 acres) to add to his father’s farming operation – Montrig Farms.  He soon became involved in agricultural organizations, including the Kent County Soil and Crop Improvement Association, Conservation Canada and the Soil and Water Conservation Society.  By 1979, Jack decided to go farming full-time and quickly became well-known for innovative farming techniques.  In 1981, Jack was a founding member and first Chairman of the Rondeau Agricultural Conservation Corporation and was also a founding member of the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario in 1985 (IFAO).

A number of agricultural awards quickly followed:

1985 – Kent County Agricultural Conservationist Award;

1987 – Blenheim & District Chamber of Commerce Agriculturalist of the Year Award;

1995 – Inducted into the Soil Conservation Council of Canada Hall of Fame;

1995 – Bestowed an honorary degree as a Professional Agrologist by the University of Guelph;

1999 – Inducted into the Kent County Agricultural Hall of Fame;

2003 – Received the Chatham and Kent Chamber of Commerce Agriculturalist of the Year award; and

2009 – Was recognized as the Innovative Farmer of the Year by the IFAO

Jack’s extensive work with the IFAO (organizing conferences, field tours and promoting sustainable farming) resulted in him receiving the Canadian Nuffield Agricultural Scholarship Award in 1995.  This Scholarship provided Jack with the opportunity to study agricultural techniques in Europe and around the world with emphasis in soil conservation.  Jack served for over 10 years as a Director of the Nuffield Foundation of Canada and President in 1998 when the Nuffield International Conference was held in Canada.

Early in 1999, Jack was one of 10 Canadians chosen for a food study tour of Ethiopia and Kenya for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.  Subsequently, Jack and Donna (and family) sponsored a girl’s school in Ethiopia.

Jack also found time in his busy life for community service.  He had perfect attendance in his 18 years as a member of Blenheim Kinsmen Club, one as President.  Jack has also been a member and President of the Blenheim Rotary Club and his family has acted as host in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program.  For a period of time he was counsellor to all incoming students and his involvement led many exchange students to refer to him as – Granky.

Jack was very proud of a couple of awards he received as a Rotarian – the Rotary Foundation District Service Award in 1998/99 and the Paul Harris Fellow.

A big part of Jack’s life over the past 10-15 years was bringing the vision of a community park to reality.  As Chairman of the Rotary Park Committee, Jack was instrumental in fundraising and construction activities that resulted in Talbot Trail Place.

Jack was a very active member of the Blenheim United Church for decades where he held numerous positions on the church counsel.

A private family service will be held at the Blenheim Community Funeral Home with a public celebration to follow during his favourite season next year (farming season).

Friends wishing to remember Jack with a memorial donation are asked to consider the Talbot Trail Place or the London Regional Cancer Program.

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My thoughts and prayers are with Jack's family and friends during this time of healing.. Jack was a wonderful kind hearted man who will be missed by everyone who had the honour of knowing him

Our sincere condolences to the Rigby family.

My condolences to the family. He was a man of many hats.

Sending condolences to Donna and the family on the loss of a wonderful man, husband and father. Thinking of you at this time but remembering all the great contributions Jack made to the community of Blenheim and the world agriculture. Linda Goldsmith

One of the highlights of my life was my experience as a Nuffiield Scholar. Another was ourNuffield trip to South America, organized by Jack Rigby. In that thime we came to know and become friends with Jack and Donna. Words cannot express our sense of loss to family, community and agriculture that comes with Jack's passing. He was quietly, a truly great man. Our sympathy to Donna and family.. A donation is being made to talbot Trail Place in Jack's memory. Go in peace, friend....Grant and Gayle

How sad to hear this news of the passing of Jack. We grew to know ack and Donna as the helpful next door neighbours of my mom Julia Kozlof. He was always friendly, stayed calm if we were excited about something that needed fixing. He shared some good stories about passing on knowledge a/o travel experiences with his grandkids and I have created some new ideas as a result of those conversations. As children we remember those days when you went to the car dealership and they "loaned you a car to try out" for week...can you imagine...Also our family enjoyed one of those famous, not very popular "Edsels" we put over 200,000 miles on it, turned over the odometer twice....and I drove it to get my drivers licence! Condolences to you Donna and your whole family.

I’m so sorry to hear of Jack’s passing. I’ve known Jack since I was a little girl, when my parents restaurant was beside their dealership.. I will always have fun memories of sitting on the workbench while Jack and Monty worked on cars. Jack called me pebbles. May the wonderful memories you have of Jack comfort you at this difficult time. He was an amazing man and I was proud to know him ♥️

So sorry to hear that we have lost Jack. My mother, Julia Kozlof, lived next door, for many years, and Jack was always helpful and generous with his time to assist with the many things that our mom might ask him to do. He was a great neighbor, and community citizen.

Steve, Lisa and family my condolences to you all.

John, Pam and families Thinking of you all during this difficult time. Our sincerest condolences ❤️ Monica and Gord Swance

Condolences from our family to Donna and The Rigby Family. Just thinking of wonderful time we spent with jack and Donna on The south American trip. Thanks Jack for organizing a great trip being a good neighbor and great Blenheimite

Sorry for your loss. Take care.

A beautiful man, a beautiful life. How lucky were so many of us to share Jack’s passion and love.

All I can say is, "Wow!!" What a tribute. Condolences from an old schoolmate.

Condolences to Donna and Rigby family on Jack’s passing. Jack was a great neighbour and always enjoyed chatting with him when he was out and about. Appreciated his wisdom and sense of humour. Loved his T Bird! Murray

Sending you all our prayers and sincere condolences. Mark, Pattie and the girls

Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

Donna, Rick, Val,Pam,Carolyn and Steve. Our deepest condolences. Thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Jack was an activist and leader in his family,community and many parts of the world. He cared for others and helped them make the world a better place to live. We will treasure the many memories we have of him. May he Rest In Peace. Gord & Liz Kirk

Donna and family, May God wrap his arms around you and give you peace and comfort at this time. Cherish your precious memories.

Steve Lisa and the Rigby family I’m so sorry for your loss he was a fantastic guy I was glad to of known him when I did.

Donna, Rick, Val, Pam, Carolyn, Steve and families: I am so very sorry to learn of Jack's passing. He was a great man who will live on in all of you. I will remember him always with great fondness. May you find comfort in your many great memories, and may God grant you peace now and in the days ahead. With sincere sympathies, Myra (Foulis) & Don Pettit, and Shayna Taylor

To Donna and Family Our deepest sympathy, Donna to you and your family. I was privileged to know Jack as a friend and a fellow Nuffield Scholar. He was a teriffic mentor. He interviewed me when I applied for a scholarship.He was inastrumental in the success of the 2014 triennial. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to have a great conversation with him just 3 weeks ago. He said we all want to go to Heaven, just not yet. His suffering has ended and he is now in the eternal presence of Christ. Kind, Regards, Barry and Ellen

Sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Dear Rigby Family, Please accept my condolences on your loss. As a new Blenheim Rotarian I had the opportunity of getting to know Jack and working with him on his last project "the benches". During that time, we had the opportunity to share some stories and ideas and I was truly impressed by Jack's care and wisdom. We will all miss him, but I wish you happy memories of a great man.

Our heartfelt condolences to Donna, Steve and the rest of the Rigby Family. Blenheim lost an outstanding community member who gave so much to so many. Rest in peace Jack.

Pam and John, So sorry to hear about your father's passing, Pam. You're in our thoughts and prayers.

Steve, My sincere condolences to you and your family for your loss.

Condolences to the family for your loss.

John, Pam & family, sincere sympathy for the loss of your father/father-in-law. Hugs.

Deeply sorry for your loss, Donna, Steve, Lisa and the rest of the Rigby family. I always enjoyed chatting with Jack about his many travels to other countries. I admired his devotion to his local community, as well as global communities. May he Rest In Peace.

Our sincere condolences to your family. How blessed you were to have such a caring and thoughtful man in your lives. He certainly lead by example in all aspects of his life. You have so much to celebrate for a life well lived. Gary and Bev Gough

Donna & families Sending our sincere condolences to everyone Praying the wonderful memories will help you find peace during this time.

Dear Steve, Lisa and boys, I am sorry for your loss. I always enjoyed talking to Jack- he was curious about all things and excited to share his time. Sending you love and peace as you celebrate his life and legacy.

Donna and Family our thoughts continue to be with you at this time.Jack passing will be a great loss to our Rotary Family and our community.Don and Nancy Jackson

Our heartfelt condolences to this beautiful family - Donna, Rick, Val, Pam, Carolyn and Steve, along with all the grandchildren. It has been truly an honour to have had Jack & Donna as our dear friends for the past 54 years. He touched so many lives on his journey of life with his genuine care for everyone. Jack, you have done your job well and now it is time to rest with your dear Lord and Saviour. We will miss you and all those great visits but looking up into the sky, we will always see you shining brightly down upon us. Gone but never forgotten. Love and condolences, Jill and Keith

My condolence to the family . R.I.P. JACK . Brings back many memories taking dad;s trucks in four repairs . H.L. Henderson & Sons Trucking. u will be truly missed.

Steve, Lisa and the Rigby family, our condolences with the loss of Jack. Farming was in Jack’s heart n soul. He was a very accomplished man in everything he did. May God console your family during this difficult loss.

Dear Donna, I was deeply saddened to hear of Jack's passing. For the 23 years following our food study tour of East Africa I called him a friend. It was wonderful to have the two of you visit Graham and I. I thoroughly enjoyed our time together at the 10th and 20th anniversary reunion of our food study tour. Thank you for hosting the 20th. So many wonderful memories. Now Jack's spirit is alive in us all. And for that we give thanks. Keeping you and the family in my prayers. Marian (and Graham)

Donna and family. We are so sorry to hear of Jack’s passing. We will be greatly missed by all of his family and particularly missed in our community. He was always thinking of ways to improve our community and his legacy will live on. You are in our thoughts and prayers at this sad time. Keep his memories close to you. Dave and Eli.

Donna and Family My sincere condolences on the passing of Jack Rest in Peace Jack, You will be missed

So very sorry to hear of your loss. What a beautiful obituary for such a great man. His love and kindness will be remembered by many for years to come. Hugs to all in this hard time.

To all the family and to his beautiful wife, Jack and I want to wish our most sincere condolences to all. We only had the pleasure of meeting grand pa Jack and we felt like we knew him all our lives. His candor and joie de vivre was so strong. He will be missed by all that met him and we are sure he will have a special place in heaven. Another bright star shining over all at night. Blessings from Lynn and Jack from the Ottawa valley 🙏

Donna and Family My sincere condolences on the passing of Jack. Jack has left his mark on the world in numerous ways. Everyone who had the pleasure to meet and know Jack gas a memorable experience. RIP.

Donna, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I am so sorry to hear of Jacks passing.

Saddened to hear the news of Jack this evening. Always will fondly remember his support of Aiden at the rink.....greeted by his and Donna's kindness and smiles. The obituary reads as a great lifetime of teaching, learning and successful achievements to be proud of. My sympathies in his passing.

Thinking of you Steve and Lisa, Austin and Aiden, and all of your family. Sending our love and prayers. Jeannie, Justin and Jayden

So sorry Donna to hear of Jack's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time.

So sorry for your loss.

So sorry for your loss Donna, to you and your family, our condolences.

Donna and family, So sorry to hear the news of Jack’s passing. A wonderful family man and talented business person. What a tremendous life he has had and he contributed so much to so many. Truly a life well lived!! Hugs!! Hugs to you all. Joanne and Paul L

Our condolences to Jacks family.

Aunt Donna and all my cousins and family We are so sorry and heartbroken to hear of the passing of Uncle Jack. He was such a wonderful husband, father and grandfather to all of you. Uncle Jack showed everyone how important family and friends are in our lives. I have some great memories of all the good old days , we had so much fun at your house and the farm. My family was just all together at our sons wedding in September with Aunt Donna and Uncle Jack and shared some good laughs. I'm thankful that I got to have a couple visits with him before his passing. May the memories and love you share help you through this difficult time. I love and will miss you Uncle Jack, you were the best, like a father to us. Rest in peace now, take care of him mom! Terri (Crouch) and John Warren and family

I was saddened to read about Jack’s passing. Thinking of all of you at this difficult time. Let your memories bring comfort to you. Laurie (Kirk) Harrison

Our thoughts and prayers are with all the family at this time.

So sorry to hear about Jack's passing. Sending our condolences to the entire Rigby family. Sincerely, Mark & Karen Butler

Steve, Lisa, Austin , Aiden & family So sorry for your loss. Sending our deepest sympathy.

Love to my dear friend Carolyn I know dad was a very very special man in your life. He was your rock and you cherished every moment with him. Love to you, Sid., Val, Gino, Donna and your family. So very sorry for your loss and hold on to those wonderful memories of one very special man. Love. Megan and Glenn

Donna and family, so sorry for your loss. Jack was a man of great integrity. It was a pleasure and honour to know him. His support and shared knowledge when working on various BUC committees was always appreciated. Take comfort in knowing he is at peace and the wonderful memories you have.

So sorry for your loss. Jack was a great man !!!

Donna, my deepest Sympathy to you and the family.

Donna and Family. Our sincere condolences .

So sorry for your loss Prayers and thoughts to all the family

My condolences to the Rigby family. My Dad (Paul Murray) told many a story about he and Jack back in the day.

Condolences to the Rigby Family.

We never had the honour to meet your amazing father but his legacy in his family and his work in agriculture /3rd world counties and Rotary is something to be so very proud of. Our deepest condolences on your loss.

So sorry for your family’s loss. Jack was a great man, and will be missed by many! PrYers for the Rigby family.

Donna and Family, Sending my deepest sympathies to all of you. Jack was always so kind to his cousin, my Mom, and it was very much appreciated. He will be missed by all of you and by the entire community.

Our condolences to Mr Rigby's family & friends.

My deepest condolences. Jack was well thought of by George & Peggy McIntyre, my grandparents. His legacy will live on. Regards, Jackie Deane-Couture

To the Rigby family. We are so sorry to hear about the loss of Jack. You have our Deepest Sympathy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family.

Deepest condolences to the Rigby family. Thinking of you all during this difficult time. He was a great family man and dedicated to his community. 💖

Sending my condolences to the Rigby family. Your Father touched many lives and will be missed by many. I wish you comfort in the thoughts and prayers of others.

To the entire Rigby family: Thoughts and prayers are with you all during this very difficult time. He always made everyone feel welcome when visiting.

Sincere condolences.🙏

Steve, Lisa and families. What a truly incredible man your father was. May your memories be of some comfort during the coming days. Our sincere condolences Dave & Sue Robert

To all of Jack’s family, My condolences on the sad loss of such an exemplary man, not only to his family, but to all who crossed paths with him. My sympathy to all, Eileen (Simpson) Lindsay

Sorry for your loss! Thinking of all of you at this sad time

Donna and Family: Sorry to read of Jack's passing. He was a pillar and inspiration in the community. We send our deepest condolences.

Sincerest condolences to Donna and family -- Jack was truly a remarkable person and he will be sadly missed by family and friends alike. He accomplished much in his life and now can rest in peace. May you find comfort in happy memories and in each other.

Jack was a man to inspire others and show concern for their well-being, a man who really appreciated nature and other cultures and a great friend and mentor. He will be greatly missed .

Donna, Pam & John and the entire Rigby family Our deepest condolences on the loss of this great man. What a legacy to be commemorated so fully in the farming and general community. What great accomplishments. He will always be with you in the memories you hold dear and the adventures you shared. Sincere sympathy to each of you as you work through your grief. Roger & Gayle Shantz

Donna and family, We are saddened to learn of Jack's passing. Many memories around church and community activities as well as white-water canoeing. Our heartfelt condolences. Dot and Gord Duncan

Donna and Family Jack was a leader in many ways: farming, Rotary and general community focused volunteering. Having worked with you (Donna) and Jack in Rotary Youth Exchange since 1989 I have come to appreciate your joint commitment to helping make the world a better place. I saw Jack as someone to emulate as he quietly went about "doing good". He will be greatly missed. With love Tiina & Terrance McNaughton

Our Dearest Aunt Donna, Rick, Val, Pam, Carolyn and Steven. Our Hearts Are Broke With The Passing Of Uncle Jack. So Many Memories Growing Up With The Rigby Family. Please Know That We Are Thinking Of You In This Sad Time. Our Memories Of Uncle Jack Make Me Smile. Always In Our Hearts He Will Be.

There are no words to ease your heartache. Just know that you are in our thoughts and prayers for strength to carry you through the rough days ahead. Jack will live on in each of you and the entire Blenheim community. RIP Jack.

Donna and Family As a fellow Nuffield Scholar I greatly admired Jack and appreciated his leadership in the Nuffield Community. Jack had a positive impact on everyone he met including my family. I will never forget a conversation with Jack at a banquet where he described a cross Canada vacation which prompted Heather and I to do exactly that the following year. Jack will be missed. Deepest sympathies from Heather and I in Nova Scotia.

Donna, Carolyn and the rest of the Rigby family so very sorry to hear of Jack's passing. Our sincere condolences to you all. I'm so glad we stopped for a visit this summer to see your parents.

Donna: Prayers for you and your family. Miss our UCW events to see our lady friends. Thinking of you, God bless Joyce (Payne) & Bill Guerin

Deepest condolences to Donna and the Rigby family. After meeting Jack in Africa in 1999 on the food study mission we kept in touch throughout the following years. He was a true inspiration. Jack has left us all with wonderful memories as part of his legacy. Our prayers to all. Warren (& Kathy) Crossman

Mrs. Rigby, Carolyn and family, sad to read of the loss of your husband and father. My mother babysat Mr. Rigby, so knew him from birth and will be sad to hear of his passing. Condolences Carolyn, and thinking of you. Sincerely, Sheila McGuigan.

Very Sorry !!

Donna and family, Sincere condolences to you and your family. Jack was a well respected gentleman in our community and he will be missed. Cherish the many happy memories you shared and may they bring you comfort in the difficult days ahead. Sincerely, Peter & Linda RIP JACK

Jack was a tremendous person. His integrity, faith and commitment to you, our area and others was truly inspiring. He will be sorely missed by many. Love, Sharren

To the Rigby family, our deepest condolences and we send our prayers. Our community will certainly miss Jack’s leadership and guidance.

Sorry to hear about your dad Steve.