Obituaries: Jack Trenchard Viggers

Obituaries: Jack Trenchard Viggers

The Rev. Jack Trenchard Viggers, 85, died Oct. 10, 2009 in Prairie City. A service was held Oct. 17 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Canyon City.

He was born April 12, 1924 in Springfield, Mo., to Gerald and Mildred Viggers. From an early age, he understood and practiced the duties required to lead a Christian life. At age of 7, he gave away his own new coat to another child who didn't have one.

In 1941 he graduated from Springfield High School. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was appointed to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point in Long Island, N.Y., graduating in 1943. He served as an engineer first class in the Merchant Service during World War II. He was nicknamed "Doc" by his fellow crew members, due to his gift for listening and helping with problems.

After the war, he discovered his calling while attending Bible camp, and became an evangelist in the Episcopal Church Army. While assisting at a church in Cincinnati, he met his future wife Nancy.

In 1947 he was sent to Madison County, Montana as a missionary. After a long-distance courtship by mail, the couple were married on Sept. 14, 1950, in Helena, Mont.

In 1951, he was again called to active duty as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve during the Korean Conflict.

He enrolled in seminary at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif. in 1955. While working his way through school, he drove a bus for the Bay Area Key System, worked in a label printing plant, painted houses and pumped gas. He graduated in 1958 and was ordained an Episcopal minister later that year.

After working briefly in Boise, Idaho, he began his fulltime ministry at a parish in Mountain Home, Idaho. He spent three years there before moving to Idaho Falls to be rector at St. John's Episcopal Church. There he began a pilot program, which was featured in Newsweek magazine in 1966, teaching laymen with fulltime jobs to be "tent maker" priests.

His efforts to obtain grants for weekly senior citizen lunches in the church's parish hall led to the start of Eastern Idaho Special Services Agency, now known, 40 years later, as Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership (EICAP)

After retiring from EISSA in 1986, the couple moved to Port Angeles, Wash., where he served as an associate at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. While there, he also served on the board of Umbrella Services, a nonprofit social service agency.

In 1993, after retiring again, they moved to Prairie City. He served the parishes of St. Stephen in Baker City and St. Thomas in Canyon City, and churches in La Grande and Sisters. He also served on the board of directors of Community Connection of Northeast Oregon, from 1996-2007. He was also on the precinct committee for the Democratic Party of Grant County.

He was a man with an enduring faith in God and a commitment to the power of an active ministry. In his final sermon at the baptism of his granddaughter and grandson in November 2008, he said, "God is love. God is now. Be with each other now in God."

Survivors include his wife, Nancy Viggers of Prairie City; their four children; a large extended family; many friends; and an adopted family of anyone who needed a helping hand.

Memorial contributions may be made to The Church Divinity School of the Pacific, in care of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 164, Canyon City, OR 97820. Driskill Memorial Chapel was in charge of arrangements.

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