Obituary: Curtis Ivan Riffle, 91, of Custer

June 7, 2024

Curtis Riffle

On Wednesday June 5, 2024 Curtis Ivan Riffle passed away at his home in Custer holding the hand of his loving and devoted wife and supported by the prayers of his family. He stands before his Lord reporting that he is “Present and Accounted For.”

Curt was born on June 3, 1933 in Sherman Township, the son of Charles and Bessie (Mendenhall) Riffle. Curt was proud to tell others he was a graduate from the “University of Free Soil” (Free Soil High School) with the class of 1952.  On January 3, 1953 he married Birute (Ruth) Bagdonas at the Scottville United Methodist Church. Curt’s special “marriage math” would tell you he and Ruth spent 142 years in marriage — 71 each! Three months after their marriage Curt was drafted into the US Army completing his basic training in Kentucky and Virginia before being stationed in Germany.

Curt had an incredible work ethic, maybe in part due to coming from such a large family during tough financial times and the fact that his father died when he was 17 that left Curt to take over his father’s mail route and milk route to help support the family. Curt worked for the Dow Chemical Company in Ludington for over 32 years with the majority of the time being in the analytical lab. Curt was a longtime Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 202 in Custer and was also blessed to attend the National Jamboree in Spokane, Washington. He was a devoted member of the Scottville United Methodist Church.

Simply put, Curt was a man of family and faith. Curt and Ruth raised their children to love the Lord and serve others. He and Ruth spent countless hours supporting their children in any activity they were involved in. Curt served his church family in a variety of positions throughout the years from choir member to lay leader and everything in between, many times quietly behind the scenes. He enjoyed many dear friendships he and Ruth had with their church family. In recent years the couple’s dear friend, Bev would supply them with delicious baked goods and it was confirmed as he always said that Curt did indeed only like two kinds of pie: warm and cold!

Curt loved to garden with Ruth, who he called “Lady”, by his side and took pride in giving away much of the produce from their garden. They also enjoyed cutting and hauling wood to heat their home. Curt and Ruth also loved to fish on the Pere Marquette River for salmon and on Portage Lake and Big Crystal Lake for perch in the winter through the ice. Curt enjoyed explaining to each new pastor of his church how he could “walk on water” as he would share the perch that had been caught. When fly fishing season for trout came and Ruth didn’t think staying out till midnight surrounded by bugs sounded like fun, his “fishing buddy” Kirt was glad to join him.

Curt will be greatly missed by his wife Ruth: their daughter Sue (Rick) Boyce of Columbia, Mo.; sons, Jeff (Peggy) Riffle and Jim (Sue) of Custer; six grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; his sister Beatrice Riffle of Ludington; his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Fran (Gene) Smith of Howell; numerous nieces and nephews; special friends Kirt Winn, Bev Agbay, cherished long-time neighbors Tim and Wendy Marek and friend since childhood, Morris Thomas.

Curt was preceded in death by 13 of his siblings and their spouses: Beulah (Maynard) Marrison, Nina Elizabeth Riffle, Thelma (Earl) Stark, Russell (Evelyn) Riffle, Thurman (Bea) Riffle, Glendora (Walter) Ray, Betty (William) Courtland, Roger Augustus Riffle, Bessie Marguerite (Robert) Renwick, H.B. “Bud” (Marian) Riffle, Charles (Sadie) Riffle, James Hershal Riffle, Corrine (Joseph) Lavas; his father-in-law and mother-in-law Mike and Anna Bagdonas; brother-in-law Michael Bagdonas; and brother-in-law and sister-in-law Gene and Elaine Brofka.

The family would like to thank Dr. Carol Petersen and the oncology staff for the 20-plus years of care in battling multiple cancer events for Curt. The family would also like to thank all the angels, especially Laurrie, Elaine and Aiden, from Hospice of Michigan who were there to help as Curt battled dementia.

A private family gathering to celebrate Curt’s life will be held later this summer.  No other services are planned at this time.

Those who wish to honor Curt are asked to do an act of kindness for someone else. Those who wish to remember Curt with a memorial donation are asked to please consider The American Cancer Society, Hospice of Michigan, or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Please visit Curt’s memory page at to share a tribute or memory of Curt with his family.

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