Rainè Riggs: A Tribute to Bernie Sanders’ Daughter-in-Law

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Facebook/Obituary Raine Riggs (l) and Bernie Sanders' son Levi with the couple's children.

Rainè Riggs, the wife of Bernie Sanders’ son Levi Sanders, was an accomplished clinical neuropsychologist with her own practice who was remembered as a beautiful soul devoted to her family and profession.

On Saturday, October 5, 2019, at 9:11 p.m., Riggs’ obituary says, “this world lost one of its most beautiful people…. our beloved mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece and cousin… Dr. Rainè Riggs.” She was only 46 years old.

Tragically, Rainè died two days after her diagnosis of neuroendocrine cancer and three weeks after she became ill. “Her last words were to tell her children how much she loved them and she was so sorry that she got sick. Her last moment was spent with her No. 1 cheerleader, her mother, holding her hand and whispering in her ear how much she loved her,” her obituary said. Donations can be made in her honor to the Love Without Boundaries charity.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Rainè Riggs’ Moving Obituary Declares ‘Our World Will Never Be the Same’

Riggs’ lengthy obituary was very moving and emotional.

“How do you go on day by day when your heart just keeps breaking over and over?” it started.

“How do you get out of bed in the morning when every breath you take is so painful you just want to cover your head with your blanket and hide away from the world? How can the laughter and smiles of three children heal your heart while at the same time you are crying? How can the world ever be the same when it said goodbye to such a beautiful soul? It is simple…. our world will never be the same.”

Bernie Sanders has been married twice; first to Deborah Shiling (now Messing), and now to Jane Sanders. Neither of Sanders’ wives was the mother to Riggs’ husband, Bernie’s son, however. The UK Daily Mail reports that Bernie’s son Levi is his son with a third woman named Susan Mott. The obituary says that Riggs’ mother-in-law is now named Susan Glaeser. She is married to husband Hendrik.


2. Riggs Met Bernie’s Son, Levi Sanders, While Volunteering at an Emergency Food Shelter in Vermont

levi sanders

FacebookLevi shared this photo on his Facebook, taken when Obama was Senator.

Rainè married into the Sanders family after meeting Bernie’s son Levi Sanders while working at an emergency food shelter. According to her obit, she was “a truly selfless person,” who also helped homeless veterans.

Rainè was born December 23, 1972, a daughter of Richard Riggs and Rinda Yukevich Riggs, according to her obit. According to his LinkedIn page, Levi Sanders is now a senior policy strategist on his dad’s 2020 presidential campaign. “Proven track record in electoral politics, fundraising, grassroots organizing and building strong community relationships,” his page says.

He also worked as a consultant on his dad’s Senate campaign; as a social security legal analyst for Cambridge & Somerville Legal Services; and as general manager of the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf. He has a bachelor’s degree in arts and history from the University of Oregon. Levi once ran unsuccessfully for Congress.


3. Riggs Studied Geriatric Neuropsychology, Clinical Sleep Medicine & the Effects of Chemotherapy on the Brain

According to her obit, Riggs “graduated valedictorian of her class from Burgettstown High School in 1990. Rainè then attended American University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology.”

“After American University, she attended Harvard University and Brown University, where she earned her master’s degree in geriatric neuropsychology and clinical sleep medicine,” the bio continues.

“During her time at Brown University, Rainè received an award from the National Institute of Health for her research study on the affects of chemotherapy on the brain. Finally, Rainè earned her doctorate in neuropsychology at the University of Vermont.”

Her death comes only days after Bernie Sanders was treated for heart issues.


4. Riggs Started a Palliative Care Department at Dartmouth Medical Center & Volunteered at Ground Zero After September 11, 2001

According to the obit, Rainè “was also the co-director of Behavioral Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School for several years. While there, she developed and started its Palliative Care Department for Dartmouth Medical Center.”

She later owned Riggs Geriatric Psychology in Windsor, Vt.

After September 11, 2001, says the obit, Riggs helped at Ground Zero by providing “much needed counseling for survivors, first responders and the families of those who lost their lives.”


5. Riggs Was a Mother of Three Who Loved to Pick Berries With Her Children or Spend Time at the Beach

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Levi Sanders with the couple’s children.

According to the obit, Riggs was the mother to three children: Sunnee Riggs Sanders, Ryleigh Riggs Sanders and Grayson Riggs Sanders. The couple adopted the children from China.

“From the first moment she held them in her arms, her entire world changed. Rainè’s every thought was of her children. She truly strived to make every day of their lives special,” the obit says.

“Rainè loved to spend time picking berries with her family and then bringing them home and spending the whole day baking. She loved to take her children to festivals and always allowed her children to pick the weekend adventures. There was nothing she would not do for them. Rainè’s favorite pastime was spending time at the beach, whether at the lake or the ocean. She made sure the summer was filled with little trips and never wasted a day. Rainè truly lived every day with her children as though it may be the last.”

READ NEXT: Levi Sanders’ Bio.