GREENSBORO Nina Ellen Riggs, 39, passed away on Sunday, February 26, 2017 after living with metastatic triple negative breast cancer for a little over two years. A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, March 13, 2017, at the New Garden Friends Meeting, 801 New Garden Road Greensboro, NC 27410. Nina was born on March 29, 1977 in San Francisco, CA to Peter and Janet Riggs. When Nina was four, her family drove cross-country to resettle in Concord, MA. She lived north of Boston until she was thirteen, when her parents moved the family to Beaufort, North Carolina to escape the New England winters. She attended Milton Academy in Milton, MA for high school, then the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she got her B.A. in English with a minor in creative writing. Nina attended Cornell University for one semester in the MFA program in poetry, then completed her poetry MFA at UNC-Greensboro. She published poems in The Southern Review, Threepenny Review, Cave Wall, Antioch Review, Redactions, Tar River Poetry, Southern Poetry Review, Two Rivers Review, Greensboro Review, Waccamaw, Conduit, Baltimore Review, Ashville Poetry Review, and others. She received the top prize in the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry contest in 2013 and also received an award in the 2014 contest. She published a chapbook of poems called Lucky, Lucky, with Finishing Line Press in 2009. Her published essays include: "When a Couch is More than a Couch," New York Times (Modern Love) September 2016; "The Crematorium," Catapult, August 2016; "A Family Tree Entwined by Cancer," Washington Post (Health) July 2016; and "I Believe When I Fall in Love," Mamalode, May 2016. Her memoir, The Bright Hour, is forthcoming (June 2017) with Simon & Schuster. Nina worked as a writer and editor for the Center for Reproductive Rights from 2013-16, and as an instructor in the creative writing department at UNC-Chapel Hill from 2005-13. She was poetry editor for the Greensboro Review in 2003-04. She loved to paint, play guitar, and listen to Paul Simon, Townes Van Zant, and John Prine. Her favorite place on the planet was Naushon Island, where her family has been spending time for generations, and she passed parts of her summers with her family since she was very young. Nina was preceded in death by her mother, Janet Riggs. She is survived by her husband, John Duberstein; sons, Freddy (10) and Benny (7) Duberstein; father, Peter Riggs; brother Charlie and sister-in-law Amelia Wilbur Riggs; and her dogs, Ellie and MacDuff Riggs. The family wishes to thank caregivers Jennie Duberstein, Bonnie Dundee, Eliza Harrington Myers, and the many friends who have helped support Nina and her family these past few years. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the following organizations: the International Rescue Committee (122 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10168-1289); Planned Parenthood (1704 Battleground Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27408); The Center for Reproductive Rights (199 Water Street, New York, NY 10038); Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, 2500 Summit Ave., Greensboro, NC 27405. Online condolences may be offered at www.forbisanddick.com Forbis & Dick North Elm Street Chapel is assisting Nina's family.
Riggs, Nina Ellen