Longtime Douglas, Arizona resident Dr. Roy Gardner Wiggans passed away Sunday, August 17, 2008 at the age of 87.
Born and raised in Chanute, son of Roy and L’Elle (Gardner) Wiggans, he married Gladys Genevieve Hawkins of Moran just before leaving to serve in the Army Air Corps in Europe during World War II.
After the war, he completed his education, and then in 1953 chose Douglas as the place to open an optometry practice and raise a family.
He served for several years on the Douglas School Board, and later on the Douglas Board of Adjustments.
He also volunteered many hours of ministry for St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church of Douglas, first as a lay person and deacon, then as an ordained priest, often traveling to Rodeo, New Mexico as well as Wilcox and Tombstone, Arizona for Sunday services. He was active in Lions Club service projects, and was an avid Douglas Bulldogs fan.
After the death of his wife in 1978, he went to Zimbabwe, Africa, and worked in a rural Anglican church for five years, as well as volunteering at a hospital.
After befriending the owners of the local safari company, he had many adventures in the Hwange game park, observing and photographing African wildlife.
He returned to Arizona in 1985, and soon resumed his optometry work in association with Cochise Eye and Laser, working in both the Douglas and Sierra Vista offices, well past the age most people retire.
Always ready to share a joke or a story, his friends, family, eye patients and even strangers remember his integrity, generosity and love of conversation.
He leaves behind his longtime partner Maggie Valenzuela of Douglas, a brother Lynn Wiggans of Fort Worth, Texas, as well as his children Tammy (Desrosiers) of Bluff, Utah and Marlin (and Sonia Castro) Wiggans of Tucson; grandchildren Bianca and Briana Wiggans, Tanner Desrosiers, and four great grandchildren.
A service was held this morning at Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery at 1300 Buffalo Soldier Trail.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Disabled American Veterans.