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Martha Jean (Bennett) Riggins

October 11, 1930 ~ May 27, 2022 (age 91)


Martha Jean Bennett Riggins (b.10-11-1930) passed peacefully into eternity on May 27, 2022, with her son Mike and granddaughter Meredith at her side at Brookdale Assisted Living near Mt. Dora, FL. She was preceded in death by her husband of 49 years, Edwin Riggins. Jean moved to the Bennett farm at age four with her parents, David Arthur Bennett (b.2-2-1899) and Sarah Francis Proctor Bennett (b.10-14-1895).  

She is also preceded in death by siblings: Charles Leon Bennett, David Arthur Bennett, Jr. (Doris), Sarah Louise Bennett Conley (Charles), and Joan Crawford Bennett Bugos (Jim).

Jean has many relatives that hold her dear. Mrs. Riggins had one son, Joseph Michael “Mike” Gill and wife Nancy that live in Mt. Dora, FL and two grandchildren, Josh and MJ Gill of Panama City, FL and Matthew Paymar and Dr. Meredith Gill of Minneapolis, MN. She was like a mother to Joseph “Larry” (wife Patty) Proctor of Manchester, GA and his 2 brothers, Jim (Lavone) and George (Helen) Proctor who called her sister; a sister Ruth (Dave) Carolyn Bennett Esmonde resides in Snellville, GA; a sister-in-law, Ann Bennett of Blackshear; and several nieces, nephews, and other relatives.

Mrs. Riggins graduated from Blackshear High School in 1947.  At the recent Blackshear Presbyterian’s 150th Anniversary Mrs. Riggins was noted as the oldest living member at 91 years of age.  She had served there as an elder, Sunday school teacher, ran their daycare kitchen after retiring from the American Cancer Society, hosted many dinners in her home for pastors, missionaries, and groups, and attended many Bible studies. She was the hands and feet of Jesus to her family, the church, and the community.  She began her day vigorously at daylight usually, and played golf, rode a bike, and took long walks before cooking her well known breakfasts. She enjoyed gardening, sewed beautifully, read a lot, took craft and computer classes, had worked as an LPN for many years, worked for various local doctors running their offices and assisting them, and ran circles around us all cleaning and cooking.  She ended her day visiting shut-ins and taking meals and cakes and homemade yeast rolls and cinnamon buns to others. She served and loved well.

A celebration of life for Mrs. Jean will be held Saturday June 4, 2022, at 4 o’clock from the Blackshear Presbyterian Church.

The family will receive friends at the church one hour prior to the service.

Interment will be in the Blackshear City Cemetery.

Active pallbearers will be David Bennett, Greg Bennett, Kyle Esmonde, Tommy Parish, Patch Bennett, and Pat Bennett. Please meet at the church by 3:30pm.

In lieu of flowers the family kindly requests donations be made in Mrs. Jean’s honor to: Blackshear Presbyterian Church, 432 Main St. Blackshear, Ga 31516.

Sympathy may be expressed by signing the online register at

Pearson-Dial Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Martha Jean (Bennett) Riggins, please visit our floral store.

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