Obituary: Anthony Alan Wiggins

Tony Wiggins
Tony Wiggins

Tony Wiggins passed peacefully Friday, June 1st at Meadow Ridge Health Center in Redding, CT surrounded by his loving wife of 64 years, his children and grandchildren.

Anthony Alan Wiggins was born October, 22nd, 1931 in West Palm Beach, Fl to Alan Gates Wiggins (Pete) and Mary (Summers) Wiggins. He spent his childhood in Duluth, MN. After graduating from Cathedral High School in Duluth in 1949, Mr. Wiggins attended St. Thomas University in St. Paul, MN where he graduated in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He excelled in football and hockey in both high school and college. Upon graduation from college he was invited to play in Edmonton for the Detroit Red Wings farm team, but was unable to follow that path due to his ROTC commitment to serve in the Air Force.

Mr. Wiggins served in the Air Force during the Korean War where he was stationed in Rabat, Morocco.

He was married in 1954 to Rosemary (Ford) Wiggins who survives him. Mr. Wiggins began his career in sales at IBM in Minneapolis, MN where he worked from 1954 to 1964. That year he moved his family to Austin, MN where he started Austin Office Supply, a company he owned and operated that became an iconic fixture in the small midwestern town.

In 1974, the family moved to Cleveland, OH where Mr. Wiggins took a job with Data Graphics, Inc. In 1991, Mr. Wiggins moved with his wife to Connecticut and joined Oxford Health Plans, a company initially funded by Tony and started by his son, Stephen Wiggins. At Oxford, he was a wise mentor in the sales organization and later took charge of Community Relations for Oxford’s Medicaid programs in the boroughs of New York City. His advocacy led to the creation of multi-specialty clinics in medically underserved neighborhoods of New York City for Medicaid beneficiaries.

Mr. Wiggins came from a musical family and loved to sing. Blessed with a rich, baritone voice, he sang in choirs throughout his life and passed his love of music on to his children and grandchildren.

A deeply spiritual man and devout Catholic, Mr. Wiggins helped found the Connecticut chapter of Voice of the Faithful, an organization that promotes reform within the Catholic Church. A voracious reader with a head for facts and figures, Mr. Wiggins could humbly wax eloquent on topics ranging from philosophy to world history to sports. He loved lively discussions that pondered the big questions of life. Those conversations were always graced with his wry sense of humor. Mr. Wiggins was active in many civic organizations and strongly supported environmentally friendly causes.

Mr. Wiggins also created the Rosemary and Anthony Wiggins Scholarship Fund at St. Thomas College, which provides scholarships intended to promote diversity in the student body and to offset the cost of college for minority candidates with financial need.

An avid golfer who discovered his gift as a teenager, Mr. Wiggins boasted three holes-in-one. He won multiple championships at his home clubs over the years, including Northland Country Club and Austin Country Club in Minnesota, and at Rolling Hills in Wilton, CT. Upon his passing, at 86, Tony is still the reigning Super Senior Club Champion at Rolling Hills. Many friends and family members will always cherish their memories of hours spent on the golf course with their friend, Grandfather, Uncle and Dad.

Everyone who knew Mr. Wiggins will miss his notes, words and acts of kindness always delivered when they were needed the most.

Mr. Wiggins is preceded in death by his parents and three sisters, Mary Ann Bieber, Petra Corson and Florence Paulet. In addition to his wife, Rosie, the love of his life, he is survived by a sister, Midge (Joel) Kerlan of Geneva, NY, two sons, Stephen (Melissa) Wiggins of Darien, CT, Peter Wiggins of Stamford, CT, five daughters, Diana Taylor (Jay) of San Francisco, CA, Mary Tuttle (Jeff) of Rhinebeck, NY, Casey Berg (Chuck) of Westport, CT, Maggie Cannon (Jim) of Wilton, CT and Molly Delaney (Billy) of Monroe, CT.

Mr. Wiggins leaves behind seventeen grandchildren who will dearly miss his gentle guidance, kind wisdom, and perpetual need for a caddy: Johnny, Ben and Beau Hallman, Matt, Charlie and Rosie Wiggins, Joe, Peter and Hannah Berg, Tommy and Julia Wiggins, Colin, Brendan, Vinnie and Molly Cannon, Milly and Anna Delaney.

Five great-grandchildren: Tristan, William and James Hallman, Charlotte Wiggins, baby Berg due in August, and seven step-grandchildren.

Calling hours are Wednesday, June 6th, from 4-7 p.m., at Collins Funeral Home, 92 East Avenue, Norwalk. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, June 7th, at 10:00 am at St. Jerome Church, 23 Half Mile Road, Norwalk.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mr. Wiggins name to the Rosemary and Anthony Wiggins Scholarship Fund at the College of St. Thomas. Those living in Wilton, CT may also consider overtipping their servers at Orem’s Diner, where Tony was a regular.