Loren Riggins Jr., 84, of Vineland, N.J., former president of Riggins Oil Co. and a longtime supporter of the Boy Scouts, died of Alzheimer's disease on Monday, Dec. 6, at the New Jersey Veterans Home in Vineland.

When Mr. Riggins took over his family's heating oil business in the early 1950s, he was ready to use his Bucknell University business degree to take the company to new heights.

"He wanted to diversify" the business, said son Paul.

Mr. Riggins added about a dozen service stations, which at first sold gas under the Phillips 66 brand but after the oil embargo of 1973 switched to Exxon and Mobil.

Eventually, Riggins Oil started distributing petroleum and converted its stations to its own name.

Mr. Riggins continued to expand his business, which includes more than 30 stations, his son said. The business also distributes petroleum to many New Jersey towns.

"He was a hands-on operator," he said. "He paid attention to customers and details."

Mr. Riggins retired in 1991.

A Vineland native, Mr. Riggins graduated from Vineland High School in 1943. Shortly after starting his studies at Bucknell, he enlisted in the Navy. During the last two years of World War II, Mr. Riggins served on the Silverstein.

Wanting to explore his own country, Mr. Riggins told military officials he had a job waiting for him in San Diego after the war, so he was dropped off on the West Coast. Mr. Higgins hitchhiked the entire way home, making the cross-country trip in just over a week.

He returned to Bucknell and finished his business degree in 1949.

In 1950, he married Joan Sharpless, whom he met while registering a motor vehicle at the agency where she worked. She died in 1984.

For many years, he served as scoutmaster of Troop 10 at the South Vineland Methodist Church, and guided many of his scouts to Eagle rank.

Mr. Riggins also served as president of the Southern New Jersey Council of the Boy Scouts and organized numerous fund-raisers throughout the years.

Mr. Riggins coordinated an effort to construct the headquarters for the council through donations. The facility, valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, opened in 1991 in Millville.

In 1999, Mr. Riggins was awarded the Silver Buffalo, the highest honor within the Boy Scouts.

In addition to his son, Mr. Riggins is survived by son Steven and daughter Patricia Cummines; eight grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and his longtime companion, Marge Catto. Son Robert died in 2009.

Visitation will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, at Pancoast Funeral Home, 676 S. Main Rd., Vineland, and from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, at First United Methodist Church, Seventh Street and Landis Avenue, Vineland. A funeral will follow at 10 at the church. Interment will be at Siloam Cemetery, Vineland.

Contact staff writer Claudia Vargas at 856-779-3917 or cvargas@phillynews.com.