Cynthia Haver Rigas, a longtime community volunteer, former board of education trustee and a past director of the Pound Ridge Recreation Department, died Easter Sunday, April 4. She was 83.
Over the 52 years she lived in Pound Ridge, Ms. Rigas offered her time and leadership abilities to the Pound Ridge Library Foundation, the Open Space and Acquisition Committee, the Conservation Board, the Pound Ridge Elementary School PTA, among other groups.
She was born Sept. 21, 1937, in Kingston, New York, to the late N. LeVan Haver and Jacquelyn Monroe Haver. After graduating from Middlebury College in 1959 with a degree in history, Ms. Rigas began a career with American Field Service, where she enjoyed helping children discover new cultures through shared family experiences. Her time with AFS sparked a lifelong love of travel, according to her family.
On Sept. 9, 1967, she married Frank G. Rigas — a match described as “true love.” Two years later, in 1969, the couple moved to Pound Ridge. The pair raised two daughters together and enjoyed 28 years of marriage before Mr. Rigas died in 1995.
In addition to her role at the PRES PTA, Ms. Rigas served two terms on the board of education in Bedford Central School District, from July 1987 until June 1993. Town records state she served as director of the Recreation and Parks Department from 1990 through 1995. David Goldberg, current town recreation supervisor, said several years later Ms. Rigas worked alongside resident Felice Joaquim to launch the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program, a community-based volunteer organization that helps Pound Ridge seniors and the disabled.
During the late ‘90s, Ms. Rigas joined a small but vocal group of residents in campaigning for an open space ballot proposition that would create a special property tax levy, with the funds earmarked for the purchase of open space. Gail Jankus met Ms. Rigas while campaigning for the open space initiative, and said, “Cynthia was always someone you could count on to get things accomplished with grace and good humor.” The two were appointed to the Open Space Acquisitions Committee when it was formed in 2001 and remained good friends over the years. “I will miss her friendship, counsel and laughter immensely,” Ms. Jankus told The Record-Review.
Tom Andersen, another resident, also worked alongside Ms. Rigas on the Open Space Committee for approximately 20 years. “She was sweet and gentle, but also tough-minded when she had to be,” Mr. Andersen said in an interview. “She was not going to let herself be pushed into making a decision or into offering an opinion that she didn’t really believe in.”
In the early 2000s, Ms. Rigas became a charter member of the Pound Ridge Library Foundation and “a driving force” in both its “formation and ongoing success,” said Jon Posner, the current president. Ms. Rigas led the Foundation from 2007 to 2009 and continued thereafter as “a sage and trusted advisor,” he added. As much as she did for the Library Foundation, Mr. Posner said, “it was only a small part of her contribution to the Pound Ridge community. We all will miss her.”
When she wasn’t volunteering, Ms. Rigas could be found at the Pound Ridge Community Church, singing in the choir and playing the bells. An avid reader, she was also a frequent visitor of the Pound Ridge Library and often spent time pacing the aisles in search of a new book. She was a longtime member of the Waccabuc Country Club, where she enjoyed playing rounds of golf and engaging in lively conversation with friends.
Ms. Rigas is survived by two daughters, Katherine Ann Daigle (Luke), and Elizabeth “Tizzie’” Ann Mantione (Tom), both of Ridgefield, Connecticut; a grandson, three granddaughters, a sister, Barbara Russell, and other family members.
An intimate service and burial were to be held for immediate family. A celebration of her life will be planned for late spring.