Alice Kasten Riggs

  • Born: August 21, 1919
  • Died: February 3, 2019
  • Location: San Antonio, Texas

Porter Loring Mortuary

1101 McCullough Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78212

plm-sa@porterloring.com
Tel. (210) 227-8221

Tribute & Message From The Family


Alice Kasten Riggs, age 99, of San Antonio died February 3, 2019 surrounded by her family. She was born August 21, 1919 to Major William Henry Kasten and Florence Bell Kasten at Fort Sam Houston which was then an Army cavalry post at the edge of town. In the years that followed, she grew up on Army assignments in Panama; Fort Ethan Allen, VT; Ft. Riley, KS; Ft. Bliss, TX; Honolulu, HI; Chicago, IL; Ft. Riley, again; Richmond, VA; and Ft. Clark, TX.

In 1941, Alice met the love of her life, William Earl Riggs, while attending a dance in San Antonio at the Gunter Hotel for cadets from Randolph Field. It was the day before Pearl Harbor. She told her grandmother, "I've met the most beautiful man, and Granny, he's a solid citizen." Bill described Alice after their first date on December 7, 1941, as "looking like a queen." Then reader, she married him!

For 57 years, Alice was Bill's sweetheart, wife, and the mother of their four daughters—Molly (1943); Cathy Lynn (1945); Kimberly Ann (1949); and Kelly Kasten (1955). The girls—Alice's "Little Women"—were raised on various military assignments from 1943-1970 in Texas; New Mexico; Massachusetts; Alabama; the Pentagon in Washington, DC; Lincoln, NB; and finally Strategic Air Command headquarters at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, where Col. Riggs commanded the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing. Over the years Alice served on Officers' Wives Club Boards and as an advisor to Family Services.

After 30 years in the Air Force, Alice and Bill moved to San Antonio in 1974.
Here they bought their first house, affectionately known as Ft. Windway, that has been a base for the Riggs family for the last 45 years. No matter where her daughters traveled, the road always led back home. Alice's devotion to her husband and family was first and foremost in her heart and she instilled that in her children.

In her lifetime, Alice celebrated 100 Thanksgivings, 100 Christmases, 100 New Years. Before her death, her children and grandchildren honored her with "early" 100th birthday celebrations, much to her delight and serenaded her with "Jesus Loves Me." Blue skies, Mom!

Alice was preceded in death by Col. Riggs in 1999 and their daughter Molly Gingerich in 2011. Alice is survived by three daughters--Cathy Salter and husband Kit of Hartsburg, Missouri and grandchildren Hayden and Heidi; Kimberly Chandio of San Antonio, and grandchildren Adam, Aliya and husband Mustafa, Nissa and Suleman; Kelly Witteman and husband Jack, Mr. Darcy and Lizzy who filled her home with joy; and son-in-law James Gingerich and grandson Christopher and wife Jessica. Alice also left great-grandchildren Zehra Darugar, Saira Darugar, Simone Gingerich and Sofia Gingerich; sister-in-law Mary Lou Riggs and numerous nieces, nephews and friends. The family extends special thanks to Patty Navarro and Embrace Hospice caregivers.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Windcrest Volunteer Fire Department, Windcrest Texas, or the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.

A graveside service at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery and family gathering will take place at a later date.


Condolence & Memory Journal

Alice, you are the most successful one even if you as a stem served for most lives. A stem has it's own life span but the friut and flowers you gave will continue for generations. Thank you for giving me my wonderful mom kelly

Posted by Dawit Badeg - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Family Friend   February 23, 2019

Approximately 10 years ago my Son Rodney and I moved to Windcrest. We became the neighbors to Mrs. Riggs. She was the historian of the neighborhood and shared with us the pedigree of who had lived in our house since it was built. It made us feel inadequate. Us, the redneck hillbillies moved into
a house with such an historic past. One a retired General and the other a cousin of a famous actress.

Mrs. Riggs always had a smile and seemed happy to see you. She will be missed.

She gave our little dog (our pest) a new name, Cupcake. We have adopted that name for Buttercup in honor of Mrs. Riggs.

About 3 years ago her Daughter and Son In Love, Jack, moved in with her. What a great addition to her household. Jack became the watchman for the area, keeping an eye out for his neighbors. The true definition of a good neighbor, and i don't mean Allstate. When they move, they will be missed.

Now a new era, a new neighbor. We welcome you and are here to help in any way we can.

Mrs. Riggs, you will not soon be forgotten.

Jack and Rodney

Posted by Jack Glenn - Windcrest, TX - Neighbor   February 21, 2019

You are beautiful Alice and more beautiful now in the hands of God. You are a great example of love to your children and i could see that every time i visited San Antonio, Thank you for giving us Kelly who is a gift to many young people in the villages of Africa. may you rest in peace. Jonathan and Jackie from uganda

Posted by Jonathan Sewava    February 18, 2019

My mother, Frances Tully Clark was Alice Jo's best friend. They knew each other almost all of their lives, having been stationed together at many Army posts as little girls and then again as Army wives. Mom always called her "Alcie" and regaled us with many stories of their antics as they grew into beautiful military wives.
My grandmother Fannie Tully was a good friend of Florence, Alice's mother, and she always said that Florence was the most beautiful friend she had. In fact she said that she felt like a "little brown wren" whenever she was around Florence because she thought that Florence was so beautiful.
I had the pleasure of meeting both Florence and Alice Jo when I attended Trinity University and would go to my grandmother's for weekends. Then as an Air Force wife, when I came home to San Antonio to visit, my grandmother, mother and I would have occasional lunches with these two lovely ladies. They were both such fun and beautiful examples of what Army wives should be!!!
Alice Jo attended Mom's funeral a few years ago with one of her girls, but now I cannot remember which one. I was happy to see them both and we shared lots of wonderful stories about our two families.
I cannot help but know that now, Florence, Fannie, Mom and Alice Jo are happy being reunited once again, and are no doubt sharing drinks together every evening!!! This makes me very happy! God Bless them all!!!

Posted by Catherine Wiles - Enid, OK   February 10, 2019

To my dearest mother Alice, I give thanks for 73 years of memories and stability. Ours was a family on the move during our childhood years, with moves from Texas to New Mexico, Texas again, then Massachusetts, Alabama, Washington DC, and Nebraska. We moved with you in charge of disassembling our worldly goods that were our home, overseeing their packing in an Atlas Van, then reassembling the rooms of our lives in a new set of quarters in a manner that felt like home all over again no matter the new geographic location. You guided our ship and laid down the rules in a way that never needed explanation. We knew what you and Dad expected of us and that was that. Onward we went, growing ever stronger because of the role models you and Dad were for your four daughters...your little women. You and Dad prepared each of us to go out in the world and do something that made a difference. For that support, I have always been grateful. It has been a joy and a privilege to be your daughter and to be able to be with your this final month of your life when the time came for you to begin your final journey. I have always loved you and always will. Your second daughter...Buster (Cathy)

Posted by Cathy Salter - Hartsburg, MO - Daughter   February 09, 2019

To my devoted Mommy,
In June of 1942, Daddy described you to his mother, I am telling you, Mom, I have a jewel and I hope I can bring her home with me soon so you can meet her. Daddy said it well. You are our crown jewel and we have always been your precious jewels. You are beautiful, you have incredible taste and you have always placed us first in your heart. The home that you established for our family was and always has been a place of solid values, security, and abiding love.
My love for reading is largely due to your introducing me to heroines who became my best friends while growing up: Jo March from Little Women, Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, Laura Ingalls Wilder of The Little House on the Prairie series, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Sara Crewe of A Little Princess, and Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden. Their lives and worlds came alive to me...and have remained very much a part of who I am,,,all because you read to me. What a cherished gift that has been, Mom. And now, I have these same books, many of them antiques, from your book shopping days with Daddy. I'll reread them for years to come.
I love what you wrote to Daddy's parents in a letter from July of 1942. Earl took me up yesterday for my first plane ride - I really enjoyed the ride - it was a beautiful blue sky day with lots of white fluffy clouds - we rode right through them - misty ones, black ones, and all sizes - we were up as high as 8,000 feet. Daddy took you on a barrel-roll and the two of you looked at the earth upside down. You loved every minute of it.
During your lifetime, Mommy, you have passed through white fluffy clouds, misty ones, black ones, and God has always brought you back to blue skies once again.
Jack and I have treasured these last 3 years living here with you and being alongside you as you finished your race. We love you, Mommy, from the bottom of our hearts. And Jesus loves you, this we know. Blue skies!

Posted by Kelly and Jack Witteman - Windcrest, TX - Family   February 09, 2019

I never knew your mother, but I knew you. And knowing you told me what kind of mother she was. I wish you peace and blessings during this difficult time. May you find comfort in her long life and large family. My deepest condolences to you, Kim.

Posted by Betty Parker - San Antonio, TX - Coworker   February 09, 2019

I know that she is in a better place. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family left behind. May your wonderful memories of this beautiful lady bring you comfort until you see her again.

Posted by Debbi Byrd    February 08, 2019

Every Thursday Alice would go to her favorite beauty shop for what was her "re-beautification" treatment. Upon leaving the shop she would look as beautiful as Queen Elizabeth and sometimes would be mistaken for royalty. Mom will be greatly missed and remembered for generations.

Posted by Jack Witteman - Windcrest, TX - Family   February 08, 2019

She has left an unforgettable imprint on all of our lives!

Posted by Karen Witteman - San Antonio, TX   February 08, 2019


Family Album


Family Album


Family Album


Community Photos

To my devoted Mommy, In June of 1942, Daddy described you to his mother, “I am telling you, Mom, I have a jewel and I hope I can bring her home with me soon so you can meet her.” Daddy said it well. You are our crown jewel and we have always been your precious jewels. You are beautiful, you have incredible taste and you have always placed us first in your heart. The home that you established for our family was and always has been a place of solid values, security, and abiding love. My love for reading is largely due to your introducing me to heroines who became my best friends while growing up: Jo March from Little Women, Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, Laura Ingalls Wilder of The Little House on the Prairie series, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Sara Crewe of A Little Princess, and Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden. Their lives and worlds came alive to me...and have remained very much a part of who I am,,,all because you read to me. What a cherished gift t
Feliz Cumpleanos, Cuatro. Thank you for always making our birthdays so special, Mommy.
Our Queen Elizabeth with her “Mr. Jack”.
To my dearest mother Alice, I give thanks for 73 years of memories and stability. Ours was a family on the move during our childhood years, with moves from Texas to New Mexico, Texas again, then Massachusetts, Alabama, Washington DC, and Nebraska. We moved with you in charge of disassembling our worldly goods that were our home, overseeing their packing in an Atlas Van, then reassembling the rooms of our lives in a new set of quarters in a manner that felt like home all over again no matter the new geographic location. You guided our ship and laid down the rules in a way that never needed explanation. We knew what you and Dad expected of us and that was that. Onward we went, growing ever stronger because of the role models you and Dad were for your four daughters...your little women. You and Dad prepared each of us to go out in the world and do something that made a difference. For that support, I have always been grateful. It has been a joy and a privilege to be your daughter