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Mary Jean Riggs

November 19, 1946 — April 19, 2024

Dandridge

Mary Jean Riggs

Mary Jean Tully Sloan Riggs of Dandridge TN passed away peacefully at home on April 19, 2024. Jean was born in Peoria, Illinois November 19, 1946.  She attended the Academy of Our Lady High School and graduated from Bradley University where she majored in English, prepared to become a high school teacher, and was a member of Delta Zeta Sorority. She married Douglas Sloan in 1969 and taught English until giving birth to their first child.  Then she stayed home for over a decade to raise 2 daughters. During that time she became an avid gardener, cake baker and decorator, Girl Scout leader, planner of church bazaars, and volunteer cookbook editor. She divided her time between her home, St. Patrick’s Church, and Tully Hardware, the family business she had grown up in, all in Washington, Illinois.  In 1981, Jean and her family moved to Summerville, South Carolina after vacationing in the Lowcountry many times.  She fell in love with Charleston on her first visit and it quickly became home.  Again, she jumped into activities related to church and her daughters, becoming an advisor to the Catholic Youth Organization at St. John the Beloved Church in Summerville. Having inherited her parents’ entrepreneurial spirit, she pursued several home businesses until she went back to work full-time.  She worked for Tandy Corporation for many years where she was a skilled sales consultant because of the relationships she nurtured with the dealers in her region. CYO not only brought many cherished young people into her life whose lives she continued to follow with great interest and pride throughout the rest of hers, but also her future husband, Frank Riggs, who she married in 1991. Much in their early years involved their combined 5 kids and 2 aging mothers and a new venture that would come to bring Jean more joy than even she might have expected.  In 1994 she fulfilled a lifelong dream by purchasing a building on King Street in Charleston and opening her own business, Campus Cargo. So began a journey that brought much happiness, satisfaction, and success. She threw herself into the business with her typical enthusiasm and energy and it was not long before Campus Cargo was successful enough that Frank too could come into the business full-time. From there the business and their life in Charleston continued apace until a fall trip to the Smoky Mountains suggested a new opportunity. So, in the summer of 2001 Jean, Frank, daughter Kristy, mother Estelle, a collection of fur babies, and Campus Cargo moved to Dandridge, Tennessee. Jean’s life in Dandridge brought new friends, a second business, and the arrival of 2 grandchildren who brought her immeasurable joy and with whom she and Frank had great fun. She loved to work and whatever she was doing – volunteering, working for others, or nurturing her own businesses, she poured all her energy and enthusiasm into it. She did nothing halfway. She loved fiercely and completely. She never lost her sense of wonder.  She loved to read and take part in a good debate. With strong opinions and steadfast positions, she was not likely to give ground, but just enjoyed the act of engaging over ideas. Her ideal location for these conversations was around the kitchen table, preferably over coffee and in pajamas. When distance made kitchen table conversation impossible, she could and did often spend hours on the phone with friends and family. She was a collector of strays and showered the kindness and attention on them she believed all deserved. She loved to go and do, exploring new places or returning often to favorite spots. Though confined by illness during the final years of her life, she reveled in the memories of previous adventures and remained optimistic about the possibility of getting out again. She was a caretaker of things and a caregiver to people whose close attention ensured all got what they needed.  She took great pleasure and pride from her businesses for the relationships they fostered. Campus Cargo first in Charleston and then in Dandridge and later Steamer Trunk in Dandridge were welcome mats to their communities as much as they were businesses. To know her was to be in her life and to be in her life was to be in her thoughts. To be in her thoughts meant that she was always thinking of you, what you and she might talk about, what you might like, what you might need, how she might help, what you and she might do together when next you were together. She cared deeply and generously for all in her orbit and she was our sun. She is preceded in death by her parents Vincent and Estella Tully and her brother Thomas Tully. She is survived by her husband Frank Riggs, Kristen Sloan Wilhoite and Brian Wilhoite, Julia Sloan and Laurie Gilmore, Lisa Riggs, Brian Riggs, and Shauna Riggs and her grandchildren Cooper Wilhoite, Maisie Wilhoite, Sara Deas, Caitlyn Riggs, Emoli Deas, Tatiana Deas, Dawson Ford, Austin Ford, Alexis Ford, and Lincoln Riggs. Services will be held on Tuesday April 23, 2024 at Parks Funeral Home in Summerville, SC.  Internment will follow at Summerville Cemetery also in Summerville.  In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in her name to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Memorials Processing, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38015-9959.

Arrangements by Farrar Funeral Home, Dandridge, TN and Parks Funeral Home, Summerville, SC.

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