Born in Arkansas, proud graduate of Burgess High and UTEP, Raymond Briggs lived nearly 74 robust years. After bouncing among numerous places as an Army brat, he settled here, enlivening the corner of Stanton and Schuster at “the Big House.” His studies were interrupted by the draft, but at least he guarded missiles in Germany instead of a war zone. The Army left him with a lifetime disdain for the color green.
In his 29 years as a proud teacher at Coronado, he became the ultimate T-bird, coaching the Lady TBirds’ basketball program and establishing himself as a stalwart T-bird football and baseball devotee. Social Studies teacher extraordinaire, his primary objective was always to engage his students in dialogue and debate so that they would not repeat history’s mistakes. He was voted Teacher of the Year, and legions of students traveled with him to Europe, where he served as an entertainer, educator, and shepherd. In his younger days before his knees gave out, he was ever at the ready for a pick-up game. He officiated at the JCC, often telling stories of how he ejected some now-notable athletic celebrities. In addition, he taught in UTEP’s adult education program, only leaving his beloved El Paso for Arkansas to care for his ailing mother.
Survived by a multitude of friends and former students, he outlived his brothers, Michael and Nolan, and his parents. Passionate about sports (He never missed a Sunday at the King’s X Pittsburg Steelers Fan Club watch parties) and teaching, he was empathetic, LOVED to crack jokes and strike up conversations, working the crowds at Walmart, the Bagel Shop, Lucy’s, the mall, bistros and bars far and wide. A movie and music aficionado, he regaled many of us with theatrical tales of the cinema and anything “hip,” from Jimi Hendrix and James Brown to rocking out with ZZ Top.
A self-proclaimed raconteur, he relished telling stories (historical and fanciful), playing Scrabble, visiting Charcoaler, donning the CDL Santa suit, schmoozing with friends, rabidly cheering the T-birds and Miners and Cubs and Steelers. He wouldn’t abide texting, streaming, country music, seafood, budgeting and most certainly disdained disloyalty and discrimination. His family used the Green Book when he was growing up, and he was often the only African American member of the Coronado faculty. He would counsel English teachers to steer clear of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, sharing the angst he endured with Twain’s cavalier use of racial tropes and slurs.
It is certainly no cliche to say that Raymond lived life to the fullest with his enthusiasm, knowledge and wit making a difference in many a life.
Come when you wish anytime between 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm, Saturday, December 10, 2022 at Sunset Funeral Home- West, 480 N. Resler Dr., El Paso, Tx 79912, to reminisce informally about Raymond. Another celebration of life will occur at a later date.
Services entrusted to Sunset Funeral Home- West.