March 3, 1936 – August 30, 2014 Remembering Thomas W. “Tom” Riggs


Remembering Thomas W. “Tom” Riggs (March 3, 1936 – August 30, 2014), Pinecastle Records founder and former owner. Tom left an indelible mark on the bluegrass music industry and will be remembered not only for the way he conducted business but for the many artists that he encouraged and helped establish.

Tom was born in Louisville to the late Walter and Marcella Riggs. He was a devout Roman Catholic who faithfully lived his religion by helping to start several churches and training the servers for worship ministries.

Mr. Riggs was a Boy Scout advocate by first working as a scoutmaster taking boys camping as far away as in Canada. Tom progressed to a professional scout executive at the Kentucky Home Council Boy Scouts of America.

Mr. Riggs personified entrepreneurship by starting the Pizza Hut franchise in the Orlando, FL area with his Semoran Management Corporation. He grew to 43 locations. He was also president and founder of 15 Long John Silver restaurants and 5 Chi Chi’s as well as a founding father of an Orlando bank.

After retiring from these ventures, he moved to Columbus, NC in 1989. During this time he rekindled his interest in Bluegrass music. Tom promoted Bluegrass festivals in the FL, VA, KY, TN areas and was known as master of ceremony Colonel Tom Riggs. He decided to publish music and founded Pinecastle Records and promoted many artists. Bobby Osborne of the Osborne Brothers spoke very highly of his experiences with Tom and Pinecastle.

About the author

I enjoy researching Bluegrass, Bluegrass Gospel, and Country birthdays, anniversaries and interesting trivia dates. I am a piano/organ performance major who has taught privately and served as church accompanist since 1968 in North Carolina and Central Kentucky. Although classically trained, I appreciate all genres of music. My mother, who was also a church musician and taught public school music grades K-12, knew that Bluegrass music was the purest American music. She always introduced her students to this fine genre and began my musical studies with her at age 2. Bach to Berachah Valley, Mozart to Jimmy Martin, Sibelius to Stanley Brothers, the list goes on, I hope you find some moments of enjoyment and learn a few interesting facts along the way.
I am thankful for the many resources we have at our fingertips including Google. FaceBook and BluegrassBios by Wayne Rice. It was he who inspired me to tackle the task of trying to pass on knowledge about Bluegrass music. Thanks Wayne~!
Lou Ellen Wilkie

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