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James Ray Riffey

1923 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
James Ray Riffey Obituary
James Ray Riffey

Battle Creek - James R. Riffey, 94, of Battle Creek died at the Battle Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Tuesday, January 30, 2018.

Jim was born in (basketball country) Washington, Indiana to Theodore "Ted" and Nannie Kay (Morgan) Riffey on December 14, 1923. He grew up in the town of Washington and was a 1942 graduate of Washington High School, where he was a member of the 1941 & 42 Indiana State Championship Basketball Teams. He served his country with the 11th Airborne Division of the U.S. Army and fought in the Philippines from New Guinea to the Aleutian Islands; and felt lucky to be alive. After the service, he graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor's Degree in History and Physical Education from Tulane University; and where he was an All-American Basketball Player. Jim played basketball for the 1950 & 51 Detroit Pistons. His first teaching position was at nationally ranked DuPont Manual High School in Manual, KY, where he taught and coached for six years. Harry Davidson enticed him to come to Battle Creek Central High School, where he taught for nine years and served as the assistant principal. He also served BCPS for nine years as principal of W.K. Kellogg Junior High School. He was a well-liked, respected coach with a good record. Jim also received his Master's Degree in Education from Michigan State University.

Jim was united in marriage to Esther W. Wildridge in Washington, IN on June 9, 1948. Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Esther on March 11, 2011. Surviving are his son, Michael (Annette) Riffey of Battle Creek; his daughter, Leslie (Tim) Obrig of Battle Creek and two grandchildren, Donald Riffey of Battle Creek, MI and Katie Riffey of Manhattan, NY. Jim was also preceded in death by one sister, Martha Gray and by five brothers, Roy, Samuel, Carl, Horace and Howard. Family was always first and after Jim retired he especially enjoyed spending time with his family. He was an avid reader, history was his favorite and especially the Civil War. He enjoyed anything to do with sports, working in his yard, traveling, fishing in Canada and just being active.

Private services for Jim's family will be held at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Memorial contributions in memory of Jim may be made to the .

Arrangements by Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care. Personal messages for the family may be placed at
Published in Battle Creek Enquirer on Feb. 1, 2018
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