The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Lou Marzeles

Local man celebrates historic relative


August 3, 2016

Keith Thompson collection

RIGHT AIDE: Keith Thompson's uncle, Cmd. William Rigdon, is seen at right with President Truman (center).

Uncle Bill was the guy who used to pick up Keith Thompson as a kid and carry him on his shoulders. "He was very kind and friendly," Thompson, a Goldendale resident, recalls of that childhood memory of his dad's sister's husband. But Uncle Bill was also Cmd. William Rigdon, a Navy officer who was commonly at the side of Presidents Roosevelt and Truman as a trusted aide.

Officially Rigdon was Assistant Naval Aide to the presidents for 11 years, helping with briefings, scheduling, travel plans, and the like. He carried spending cash for Roosevelt. He brought the mail to Truman. And he wrote a 298-page memoir of his experiences called White House Sailor, published by Doubleday in 1962. Rigdon...

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