Robert Jordan Bio
From Tar Valon Library
Robert Jordan was the penname of James Oliver Rigney, Jr. who was born on October 17, 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina. He had an older brother who was 12 years older than him, and begun his education at an early age. His parents often left him in the care of his older brother, who read young James many books, which may have inspired his love for literature. He taught himself to read by 4 years old, and was reading classics such as Mark Twain by 5.
Rigney served two tours in Vietnam (1968-1970) as a helicopter gunner, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with bronze oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with "V" and bronze oak leaf cluster, and two Vietnamese Gallantry Crosses with palm. Returning from Vietnam, he attended The Citadel and received an undergraduate degree in physics. After graduating, James was hired by the United States Navy as a nuclear engineer, and started writing in 1977. He had many hobbies, which included history, hunting, fishing, sailing, poker, chess, pool, and pipe collecting. He described himself as a “High Church Episcopalian” and often received communion more than once a week. He married Harriet McDougal, who currently works as a book editor and who was also Jordan’s editor. In 2006, he was diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis, and was given 4 years to live. In early April of 2006, he began chemotherapy treatments in Minnesota, but unfortunately, did not beat the odds. James Oliver Rigney Jr., beloved author of The Wheel of Time series, died on September 16, 2007.