Kathy Noble Koonce Riggs passed away on July 21, 2019. A Jones County native, Kathy was born August 2, 1953 to Dorothy Noble Koonce and the late Darris Woodson Koonce. She attended public school in Trenton before graduating as salutatorian of the first senior class of Arendell Parrott Academy in 1971. She was a 1975 graduate of East Carolina University, where she majored in English and journalism. At ECU she became a member of the Kappa Delta Sorority, and remained an engaged alumni with a strong network of KD friends.
After college, Kathy moved to Kinston and enjoyed a 10-year career in journalism with the Kinston Free Press serving as Living in Perspective editor and news editor. At the Free Press, she also ventured into photography. After Kathy married the love of her life Fred Riggs in 1985, Kathy and Fred established Rustikat Photography, a business they operated until 1999. Kathy and Fred worked and played together every day, living lives filled with joy in each other until Fred’s death in 2012. At that time Kathy returned to her childhood home in Jones County.
In 2004 Kathy become an active player in the Kinston real estate market and was currently a real estate broker-in-charge with Walter Poole Realty. She loved the challenge of finding just the right home for her clients and worked tirelessly to make their dreams of home come true.
Kathy valued her community deeply and was always civic-minded and service oriented. She joined Gordon Street Christian Church when she first moved to Kinston and has served as a deacon and board secretary. For years she was active in the Kinston Junior Woman’s Club and the Kinston Woman’s Club. She served on the original Street-A-Fair committee in the early 1980’s, has participated in Relay for Life, and received her Red Cross blood donor gallon pin.
No one was a better and more loyal friend than Kathy, and no one ever loved Christmas more. The annual Christmas egg nog parties hosted by Kathy and Fred at their home were legendary. Picking the perfect tree and decorating the house perfectly were her favorite traditions.
Kathy was diagnosed with lung cancer in February and fought it with the courage and optimism that she gave everything. Not enough thanks can ever be given to her in-laws Dennis “Rip” Riggs and his wife Ora for doing everything possible to help her navigate this journey. Many friends stepped up to help, including her best friend Tull Harris, who came to spend special time with her. Her pastor at Gordon Street, Doug Stokes, never wavered in his ministry to her.
She will always be loved by her many friends and relatives, and by her surviving immediate family: her mother Dorothy Noble Koonce of the home; a special “nephew” William Weaver of Carrboro NC; her cousin Susan Baker and husband Robert Weaver of Carrboro NC; in-laws Dennis and Ora Riggs of Cary NC; and step-daughter Charlene Riggs of Grifton NC.
Kathy’s funeral service will be held at Gordon Street Christian Church in Kinston on Friday July 26 at 2:00 p.m. Burial will follow in Trenton Cemetery. Garner Funeral Home of Kinston NC is handling the arrangements. Flowers are acceptable, or memorial contributions may be made to Gordon Street Christian Church or to the charity of your choice. Honor Kathy’s memory best of all by living every moment of your life to the fullest, and by thinking of her with a smile and a toast, especially at Christmas.
To send flowers to Kathy's family, please visit our floral section.