Jerry W. Diggs, a longtime resident of Montclair, died at home on Dec. 21, 2021, surrounded by his family. He was 85.

Mr. Diggs was born in Piney River, Virginia, in 1936 to the late Retha and Benny Diggs, one of their two children. 

At a young age his family moved to Montclair, where he attended the public schools. During his time in the Montclair school system, he enjoyed playing sports, being active in basketball and track and field.

In 1961 Mr. Diggs met and married the love of his life, Anna Brown. They had two sons, Jerry and Thaddaeus, and enjoyed a wonderful life together for more than 60 years. 

He had an affinity for music and would often sing his versions of popular songs. He was a strong family man who took great joy in raising his two children. 

He was very active in introducing his sons to athletics at a very young age, beginning with involving both of them in the Lou Costello Boxing Club in Paterson as well as the Montclair Cobras youth football program and the Montclair Township baseball program. He also was very devoted to sharing his knowledge and wisdom frequently with his grandchildren.

Mr. Diggs was employed by the Glen Ridge Department of Public Works, from which he retired in 1996 after 25 years of service. He enjoyed a rich retirement life that included traveling to many places. He especially enjoyed visiting Native American lands.

He became a member of Universal Hagar’s Spiritual Church in 1961 and worked diligently to support the church until he died. He was a member of the deacon’s board and a graduate of the Hagar’s School of Mediumship and Psychology, and served as the State Father of New Jersey, a Sunday school teacher, and a volunteer groundskeeper and general maintenance person. He was a member of Chapter #6, Knights of the All Seeing Eye in Hackensack, where he held the offices of inner and outer sergeant.

Mr. Diggs is survived by his loving wife, the Rev. Anna Diggs; children, Jerry L. Diggs and Thaddaeus L. Diggs; daughters-in-law, Shelia Walker-Diggs and Dale Coleman-Diggs; grandchildren, Dominique, Tyler, Briana and Jordan Diggs; nieces, Anita Veal and Retha Rose-Arnold; nephews, Donald Rose and Sam Arnold; longtime friend Harold Debnaum and a host of other relatives, church family and friends.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his sister, Belle Virginia Rose, and his brother-in-law, Isaac Rose. 

Visitation will be Friday, Jan. 7, at the Scillieri-Arnold Funeral Home, 351 Fifth Ave., Paterson, from 4 to 6:30 p.m., with a service to begin at 6:30. Burial will be at Glendale Cemetery, Bloomfield, on Saturday morning. Online condolences may be left at

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Universal Hagar’s Spiritual Church, 180 Clay St., Hackensack, NJ 07601.