The Commercial-News, Danville, IL


March 9, 2013

Rena (Silotto) Riggen

CHRISMAN — Rena (Silotto) Riggen, 91, of Chrisman, went home to be with the Lord on Friday, March 8, 2013, surrounded by her family and friends.

She was born to the late Frank and Lucia (Moretto) Silotto on Jan. 14, 1922, in Clinton, Ind., and graduated from Clinton High School in 1939.

She married Robert E. Riggen on June 20, 1942.

She leaves behind her son, David Riggen (Vicki) of Chrisman; daughters, Sue Lawlyes (Keith) of Chrisman and Kimberly Pape of Neptune Beach, Fla.; special niece, Toni Perry of Chrisman; “adopted” son, John Frazee of Chrisman; seven grandchildren, David Lawlyes of Rantoul, Tiffany (Marty) Tartar of Chrisman, Trevor (Christine) of Alexandria, Va., Mandi (Shawn) Cochran of Chrisman, Tara (Jonathan) Burns of Paris, Kayla (Justin) Tunnell of Jacksonville, Fla., and Whitney (Robbie) Howell of St. John’s, Fla.; 15 great-grandchildren; and numerous foreign exchange students from all over the world.

Rena was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Robert Riggen; her son, Robert Linn (Butch) Riggen; grandson, Steven Lawlyes; “adopted” daughter, Karen Biddle; and seven brothers.

For more than 40 years, Bob and Rena owned and operated Riggen’s Frostop in Chrisman. Rena continued to work every day even after turning the business over to her son Dave and daughter Sue in 2002. To those traveling along Route 1, Rena was the ever-present hostess serving up root beer and fries at the Frostop. A fantastic cook, her friends and family, who included just about everyone, knew that just around the corner from the grill full of hamburgers and tenderloins was a pot of something delicious that only Grandma could make.

Rena lived an amazing life full of love and bursting with family. For more than 30 years, Bob and Rena volunteered to host high school students as they experienced America for the first time. Over the years the expanded family led Bob and Rena to travel extensively to Turkey, Brazil, Venezuela, Columbia and many other places.

In addition to her children, Rena opened her home to nephews, cousins, family friends and neighbors who she treated as her own. Whether you needed a place to stay or a place to live, the door was always open and she would love you exactly as she did her own. At 91, she was the oldest member of the First Baptist Church of Chrisman and continued to fill her third row pew with family.

Rena was surrounded by the love, laughter and general commotion of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She will be remembered for her generosity, determined spirit and unflinching support of her family.

We’ll miss you, Grandma.

Visitation will be 1-3 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at First Baptist Church of Chrisman, followed immediately by the funeral service at 3 p.m. Burial will follow at Friends Chapel Cemetery.

Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to the First Baptist Church of Chrisman Summer Missions. Krabel Funeral Home in Chrisman is handling arrangements for the family. Online condolences and service information are available at

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