Michael Jeffrey Wiggins passed away on October 17, 2020 in Rockingham, NC after a hard fought battle with cancer. He was known by most as Jeff but had recently taken on the name of Pop Pop among his family. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Wanda Wiggins of Hamlet, NC; his two children, Britney Lowe (Bradley) and Ryan Wiggins (Damaris); and his grandson, Jefferson Lowe. He is also survived by his mother, Betty Wiggins of Newberry, SC and his two sisters, Jean Stone and Jan Moore. There are countless nieces, nephews, cousins, and other extended family that will also remember Jeff fondly. He is preceded in death by his father, Marion Wiggins of Newberry, SC.
Jeff was born in Newberry, SC on September 22, 1962 to Marion and Betty Wiggins and enjoyed most of his childhood and early adulthood there. Shortly after meeting Wanda, they were married on June 2, 1985 and shared 35 years together. In that time, they moved to North Carolina, raised two children, enjoyed the joyful beginnings of becoming grandparents, and experienced many travel adventures together. Jeff firmly believed that it was important to explore the United States, and he and Wanda often took lengthy road trips to do just that. His family looks forward to showing Jefferson some of Pop Pop’s favorite places in the near future.
Jeff is known by many friends and coworkers to be extremely hardworking, with a work ethic that was well known. It was important to Jeff that his time at Perdue Farms be recognized, particularly the way in which Perdue offered him grace, support, and respect in his final days. As an employee of Perdue for over twenty years, both he and his family are proud of the ways in which he rose within the company. He was sometimes referred to as “THE Jeff” by those that worked with him in the industry. While that nickname carried with it the weight of the seriousness with which he took his profession, it is also a source of laughter for his family. As intimidating as he might have been on the work floor, he was known to be much softer and gentler at home.
It was also important to Jeff that his close, lifetime friend Keith Johnson be mentioned. Keith provided constant friendship to Jeff, especially during his final days. Despite not being one to talk on the phone much, Jeff rarely missed an opportunity to chat with Keith. While the memories they shared as young men are better left kept secret, the truth is that they remained good friends into adulthood despite the distance between them. Keith and his family have been absorbed into Jeff’s family and are considered precious friends.
When a life has been cut short, well before expected, one of the best ways to honor that life is to carry on the quirks of that person. Therefore, Jeff’s family solemnly swears to double and triple check that every picture on the wall is perfectly level. They will never go on errands without first asking every person in the house if they want to go with them. They will consider the beach vacation to be the epitome of family fun and promise to dutifully teach Jefferson how to gather shark’s teeth. They will make sure that macaroni cheese pie is present at holidays. Even though they are a little afraid of her, they promise to watch after the cat and occasionally let her sit in their laps. Most importantly, they will remember Jeff exactly as he was - a wonderful husband, father, Pop Pop, friend, and person. His family is a shining example of the work and love he poured into them. While they cannot possibly begin to imagine what life will be like without him, they will take care of one another - exactly as he did for the past 35 years.
In lieu of flowers, Jeff has requested that donations be made to the Richmond County Hospice of Rockingham, NC. During a time that felt impossible and scary, the staff offered constant guidance and tenderness. Thank you for providing comfort, both physically and emotionally, while his family grieved an unimaginable loss. In particular, thank you to the women and men at Hospice Haven - thank you for caring for Wanda when her children could not be there, for playing with Jefferson and allowing him to be a noisy toddler, and for offering Jeff peace and comfort in his final days. Donations can be made online at www.richmondcountyhospice.com or by phone at 910-997-4464.
The family will receive visitors on Friday, October 23, 2020 at 2:00 pm at Watson-King Funeral Home in Hamlet, NC. A private memorial service will be held for family only.
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