Wallace Rigotti

NORWAY – Wallace “Pepper” Rigotti, 88, of Norway, died Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, at Dickinson County Memorial Hospital in Iron Mountain.

He was born in Norway on Jan. 23, 1925, son of the late Louis and Mayme (Ropelle) Rigotti.

Pepper graduated from Norway High School in 1943 and served his country in the U.S. Navy during World War II from 1943 to 1946 as a radioman, second class.

He graduated from Northern Michigan University in 1951, with a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts and later received his master’s degree in education.

Pepper married Janet DeBakker in 1951; she preceded him in death on Jan. 11, 1956.

He was a school teacher for more than 35 years, teaching in Pontiac from 1951-1956, Alpha from 1956-1965, and finally at Norway High School from 1965-1985 where he taught industrial arts classes.

Pepper married Marion Tavernini on June 22, 1968, at St. Barbara Catholic Church in Vulcan; she preceded him in death on April 24, 1996.

He was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Norway, Oak Crest Golf Course for more than 50 years, and the Loyal Order of Moose 1474.

Pepper was an avid hunter and enjoyed going to his “Camp 94.” He enjoyed bowling on the Monday Night Men’s League at the Rialto for many years and golfing at Oak Crest. He was a strong supporter of Norway Vikings and Knights athletics.

Pepper is survived by his son, Steve (Betsy) Rigotti of Clayton, Calif.; grandchildren, Emily and Jonathan Rigotti of the San Francisco Bay area; sister-in-law, Maggie Tavernini of Marquette; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his sisters, Lorna Bernhardt and Marge Widmer.

The family will greet friends on Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church in Norway.

A memorial Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the church with Fr. Timothy Ekaitis officiating.

Interment will be at the Norway Township Cemetery in the summer.

Condolences to the family of Pepper may be expressed online at

Arrangements announced by the Ortman Funeral Home in Norway.