Letter: Edward Diggs, a Mathews County treasure
A surprise reception took place at the Mathews Maritime Foundation Museum Oct. 16 for Edward Diggs, builder of boats large and small. While the event was disguised as an "Open House" so his wife Louise could get him out on a lovely day, the display of all of his models in one place was a sight to behold … and a surprise for Edward.
As the fortunate owners brought their boats to the museum, they delighted in looking at all of the others—totally aware that they had special boats built by a special man. Edward’s talent and skill in building large boats (alone or with others) is well known locally. Each scale model of the original represents many hours of craftsmanship and a high level of perfection that Edward demands of himself.
Henry Schlenck, who has worked alongside of Edward building and repairing boats, suggested the idea of bringing all the models together. Louise and son Andy helped form the plot and the enthusiastic and willing owners rounded out the plan for what, I believe, was a total surprise for Edward! I’d like to thank the following for bringing their beautiful models to the museum: Martha Ann Ashberry, Sandy and James Diggs, Andy and Kim Diggs, Richard and Lloydette Diggs, James and Mary Diggs, Vera and John England, Peggy and Bunny Foster, Linda and Pat Griffin, Glenna and Lowry Hudgins, Margaret and Tommy Owens, Judy and Norris Richardson, Henry Schlenk, Barbara and Carroll Smith, and Kelly and David Smith.
While the models took center stage in the large rooms of the museum, the many exhibits of artifacts, photos, models and other memorabilia provided the perfect setting. It also provided the opportunity to invite everyone to the museum, many for their first visit. MMF volunteers provided refreshments and assistance.
I’m grateful to Louise, Edward’s wife and partner for over 60 years (who is his #1 cheerleader!) for her enthusiasm and suggestions … and for getting Edward there! She also has added to the authenticity of several of the models by painting and making hand details, therefore entitled to share the spotlight.
Edward Diggs is a Mathews County treasure—a man of humility, grace and dignity, as well as a master boat builder. It was an honor for the Mathews Maritime Foundation to host a special gathering of his models and we thank all who attended.
Nancy F. Lindgren
Mathews Maritime Foundation