Roy Delbert Briggs passed away at Holzer Medical Center, near Gallipolis, Ohio on Wednesday, October 28, 2020. He had suffered a mild heart attack recently and his health had declined as a result.
Roy was born July 27, 1919 in a rough-plank cabin near Rinard Mills, Ohio, the youngest child of Elam Briggs and Cora Belle (Williams) Briggs. He had an older brother, Everett and sister, Edith, both now deceased. He was graduated from Graysville High School in 1937. Rural farm work and assisting his father, a rural letter carrier who at times delivered mail on horseback, were interrupted by draftee induction into the U. S. Army in September 1941, prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
He saw World War II action in Hawaii and the South Pacific theater, including Guadalcanal, New Britain and the Philippines as a member the reconnaissance and intelligence group of the 40th Infantry Division and was discharged in August, 1945 with the rank of Technical Sergeant, and with medals for performance and valor including four bronze stars, a silver star and a purple heart. He returned to the Rinard Mills area and found work as a draftsman at the Airolite louver company in Marietta. On April 8, 1946 he was married to Ruby Elizabeth Poulton, also of Rinard Mills. Airolite supervisors, impressed by his ability and intelligence, suggested he further his education and, on the G.I. bill, he attended Tri-State College at Angola, Indiana from 1946 until the fall of 1948, and graduated with not only a B.S. in mechanical engineering, but also his first son, Gregory, born in 1948.
He found employment as a test and results engineer at Ohio Power’s Philo Plant, along the Muskingum River near Duncan Falls, Ohio from 1948 until 1953. The family size increased with a second son, Terry, in 1950. In 1953 the family moved from Duncan Falls to the Jamaica neighborhood in the borough of Queens in New York City. Roy worked at the American Electric Power corporate headquarters in Manhattan, by assisting in the writing of the operating instructions and planning for the start-up of the Kyger Creek Power Plant near Chesire, Ohio. The family moved to Gallipolis, Ohio suburb of Hanersville in 1954. Roy continued in his role of test and results engineering at the Kyger Creek plant, and was promoted to management positions of operations supervisor and subsequently, maintenance superintendent. The family grew again, with his last son, Roy Douglas (Doug), born in 1962. He retired from Kyger Creek in 1980.
His retirement years were spent fixing just about anything mechanical or electrical, walking and birding with Ruby along the Chickamauga creek bikepath and at other locations such as Cooper Hollow, and visiting with his family and their families. A trip in 1987 to the Grand Canyon with his family was a significant event during these years. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Gallipolis and had served as a trustee there. After Ruby, his wife of 67 years, passed away in 2014, he resided with his son, Greg, and daughter-in-law, Donna, at his Hanersville residence and enjoyed holiday trips to visit Doug and his family and Terry in the Cincinnati area. His birthday party celebrating his 100th birthday, in 2019, attended by many former co-workers, friends and relatives, was also his first birthday party.
Self-effacing to a fault and known for his intelligence, equanimity and his ability to treat fairly all those he knew, his quick, and sometimes acerbic, wit was a surprise to some. He was a wonderful father, husband, manager and worker, and will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved him. Roy is survived by his three sons, their spouses, two grandsons and one granddaughter.
Private family graveside services will be held on Monday, November 2, 2020 in the Ohio Valley Memory Gardens with Rev. Dr. Mark E. Parsons, II. The Cremeens-King Funeral Home, locally owned and operated at 75 Grape St. Gallipolis is honored to serve the Briggs family. In lieu of flowers, the Briggs family would like you to provide donations, in memory of Roy D. Briggs, to the First Presbyterian Church, located at 51 State Street, Gallipolis, Ohio 45631.
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Gallipolis First Presbyterian Church
51 State Street., Gallipolis OH 45631