Jerry William Riffle, 86, Syracuse, passed away at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, at his home. He was born on Jan. 7, 1934, in Mishawaka, to John Henry and Helen Gertrude (Washburn) Riffle.
He graduated in 1952 from Central High School in South Bend. He attended Indiana University in South Bend and graduated in 1957 from Forestry School at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich. with his B.S. Degree. He continued graduate school at Michigan State University and received his Master of Science Degree from the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. He then attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisc. where he received a Ph. D. Degree from the Department of Plant Pathology. He was married on June 20, 1959, in Fenton, Mich. to Nancy L. Robinson who survives.
He was a Forest Pathologist with the United States Forestry Service and retired in 1986 after 30+ years. After retirement he was a compliance officer for the Wawasee Community School Corporation for three years and Director of Tree / Shrub and Lawn Care Division at Ace Pest Control in North Webster for 27 years working with his good friend Greg Long. In his early years he formerly worked at Kreamo Bakery and Studebaker Corporation both in South Bend.
He moved to Syracuse in 1986 and formerly lived in Albuquerque, N.M. for ten years amd Lincoln, Neb. for 15 years. He was a member of the St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Warsaw, member and past president of the Syracuse-Wawasee Rotary Club, advisory member of Syracuse Park Board, charter member of Syracuse Tree Board and Town Forester in Syracuse, member of Wawasee High School Site Based Improvement Committee, member of the Ecology Foundation, Wawasee Area Conservancy District, member and past chairman of the Northern Communities Division, United Way of Kosciusko County, founder of the Tree City USA program for Syracuse, and Arbor Day celebration for Syracuse Elementary School.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy Riffle, Syracuse; two daughers: Judie (John) Brill of Bailey, Colo. and Mary (Greg) Hormann of Liberty Township, Ohio; three sons: John Riffle of Lincoln, Neb., Donald (Angie) Riffle of Brookville, and James (Julie) Riffle of Warsaw; 18 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, son, Gary Riffle, half-sister, Betty Hagedorn, two half-brothers: Hank and Earl Hagedorn, and two brothers: Marvin and Donald Riffle.
Visitation will be from 3-6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3, at Owen Family Funeral Home, 1001 S. Huntington St., Syracuse. Private family services will take place at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Warsaw at 10 a.m. Friday. Burial will take place in the Lindenwood Cemetery in Fort Wayne.
Preferred memorials may be given to the Syracuse Parks Dept. (Tree Program), 1013 N Long Dr., Syracuse, IN 46567. To send condolences to the family of Jerry Riffle, please visit www.owenfamilyfuneralhome.com