About Jill Wiggins
Born in England, I moved to the U.S. with my family at age eight and grew up in Norwalk, Ohio. After attending Bowling Green State University for one year, I moved to Washington, D.C., to work for the U.S. Geological Survey and met my first husband. We were married for 21 years, had two daughters (Melissa, born in 1970 and Cori, born in 1973), and moved around the U.S., including Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Coronado, California, Lakewood, Ohio, and the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, where, when my younger child started school, I took graphic design classes at Northern Virginia Community College.
We settled in Austin in 1982 and lived on several acres near the Y in Oak Hill with dogs, cats, chickens and horses. I was art director of The Y Weekly newspaper for five years. After divorcing in 1987, I returned to school and received a B.A. in art from St. Edward’s University.
When the newspaper folded (no pun intended), I worked several administrative jobs until I went to the Texas Department of Agriculture (under then-Commissioner, now Texas governor and wilted presidential candidate Rick Perry) as an information specialist. In 1997 I moved to the Texas Medical Board as the one-person public information staff, a job I loved and found enormously satisfying, exciting and interesting, learning more about the practice and profession of medicine than I would ever have imagined when I was taking art classes. But I began as an English major and I’ve always loved to write. I returned to writing poetry in about 1987 and joined the Writers’ League poetry study group in 1990, which I still attend and where I have made many good friends.
I married Gary Payne, an actor, producer and director, in 1996, and have occasionally performed with him in his Capital City Mystery Players, an interactive comedy murder mystery company. We are both active in the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin and I have sung in the choir for many years. I also sometimes sing with Texas Choral Consort.
I am mildly obsessive-compulsive and a neat freak or, as I would put it in a job interview, “highly organized and detail-oriented.”
My two beautiful daughters have presented me with two perfect grandchildren, Bryan, born in 2003, and Chloe, born in 2006. My joys and interests are art, poetry, reading, music, the outdoors (especially the beach), travel, theater, movies and just being active and engaged. In 2004, I had surgery at M.D. Anderson to remove a 10 cm mass from my pancreas, followed by five weeks of chemo and six weeks of radiation. My annual CT scans remain clear and I am lucky and grateful to be alive.