Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Woodworker, 85, Has Nice Furniture to Show for His Hobby

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Woodworker, 85, Has Nice Furniture to Show for His Hobby

Article excerpt

Byline: Rhonda Reese

Wherever David and Ann Rigsby have moved during their 61 years of marriage, the first article of furniture they carry into the house is an ornate, small wooden table David constructed in his seventh-grade shop class.

"It's our anchorpiece," Ann said. "We took it from David's mother's house after we married, and we've had it ever since. Actually, everything in our house has either been handed down from one of our families or it's something David has made."

A glance at the exquisite furnishings gracing the Baymeadows nest of these 85-year-old lovebirds might make people doubt that until they discover that David has been tinkering in a workshop since he was in elementary school.

Both originally from Kentucky, Ann and David met after high school. They married when David returned from combat in World War II, and they raised two sons and two daughters.

David returned to America one New Year's Eve, and he started back to college two days later.

"I didn't intend to major in industrial arts, but once I got back into the shop, I never left," he said.

The Rigsbys did leave Kentucky when Dave was offered a teaching job at Appalachian State. He and his students won many awards during that time, but years of standing on a concrete floor began to take a toll.

When David was offered the position of supervisor of Industrial Arts for Duval County in the late '60s, the Rigsbys moved from Boone, N.C., to Baymeadows.

"I used to come home from wheeling and dealing while trying to get the two skills centers constructed, and work on building a workshop in my backyard as a way to relax and get rid of stress," David said.

He continues to use that workshop, as do several neighborhood students fortunate enough to have landed under his watchful teaching eye.

"David still teaches youngsters woodworking projects," said neighbor Betty Backes. "Recently, he helped a young man build a gun cabinet. He has a supply of soft drinks for the kids and a television for them to watch sporting events while they work."

David has always had a special friendship with those he has taught. …

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