Anthony Cornelius Diggs was born on April 9, 1951, and departed this life on August 24, 2023. He was raised in Hampton, Virginia. Better known as Tony, he served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War and accepted an early dismissal after getting a feeling that he may not survive if he returned to the battlefield. Following his service in the military Tony operated his own janitorial company before moving to a local music store. Although Tony had originally planned to be an architect, it was his work at Musicland that shifted his career path toward commercial radio.
Tony began his career in broadcast engineering in the 1980’s at a boutique firm in Tidewater, VA known as Fine Tuning Associates. There he designed and built countless broadcast and production facilities across the country. As the firm wound down operations, he was hired by one of Fine Tuning’s larger customers - ABS Communications in Richmond, VA. At ABS, Tony served as chief engineer of Richmond’s highest rated radio station and was the architect behind a number of technical innovations unheard of even in the largest markets in the country.
It was also during this time that he met his future wife, Deborah Hamilton. She was working as a sales consultant at Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) and all of the radio engineers called that department for digital phone services for remote broadcasts. Tony and Debbie spoke occasionally but did not meet in person or start dating until several years later.
By the late 1990’s Tony relocated to Maryland where he served as the chief engineer for Radio One - designing and building studios for nationally syndicated radio shows. In the early 2000’s Tony worked at American Tower where he helped design and build broadcast and antenna facilities, including a facility at the World Trade Center. After the unfortunate events of September 11, 2001, Tony moved to CBS Radio where he was the chief engineer for Washington’s WJFK radio station. At WJFK he oversaw the engineering of a nationally syndicated talk show as well as the sports broadcasts for Washington’s football team, now known as the Commanders. Following WJFK, Tony spent several years working as an independent contract engineer.
Tony and Debbie were married on September 9, 2000, at Debbie’s church, Peoples Congregational UCC. Tony became a member as well. He was instrumental in helping the church acquire a new sound system during the time of Rev. Dr. A. Knighton Stanley. He ran the board and trained other members to operate the system during church services.
Tony could handily fix or jury-rig just about anything. He had many interests, including cars, jazz music, architecture, and more. Even in his later years Tony maintained a keen interest in technology as it continued to evolve.
One of Tony’s most cherished relationships was with Shalawn Serpa of Virginia Beach, Virginia, who came into his life through a previous marriage when she was a young child. He affectionately referred to her as his daughter and although they were not related by blood, theirs was an unbreakable bond. Tony will also be lovingly remembered by his wife, Deborah Hamilton-Diggs; sister-in-law, Carol Hamilton; and many cousins and friends.
The service will be held on Thursday, September 14, 2023. Visitation starts at 10:00 a.m. and the Celebration of Life Service is at 11:00 a.m. at Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ, 4704 13th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20011. The service will also be live-streamed. Go to http://www.peopleschurchucc.org and click on “Live”.