Phillip O. Riley ’49

Phillip Oren Riley, age 86, passed into the arms of His Savior Friday, January 9, 2014 at Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, Dover, DE. He was born September 17, 1928, in Dover, Ohio, the son of the late Richard M. and Phyllis Riley. At a young age his family moved to Orono, Maine where his father joined the faculty of the University of Maine. Phil graduated with a B.S. in marine engineering from Maine Maritime Academy in 1949 and was commissioned an ensign in the US Merchant Marine and the US Navy. He served in the Naval Reserves for ten years.

In 1949 he married his beloved wife, Marjorie Ann Hawkins, whose father was also a member of the University of Maine faculty. They shared 65 happy and fulfilling years of marriage. In addition to his wife, Marjorie, at Westminster Village in Dover, he is survived by his sons and their wives: the Reverend Dr. John Riley, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Smyrna, and his wife, Kimberly; Phillip G. Riley and his wife, Jan, of Rochester, NY; Bruce G. Riley, and his wife, Elaine, of Dunellen, NJ. He is also survived by his sister, Harriet Cederstrom of Queensbury, NY, grandson Phillip T. Riley and his wife, Stacy, of Easton, PA, grandson, Christopher B. Riley of Dunellen, NJ, granddaughter Erin A. Riley of Redding, CA, granddaughter, Shannon K. Riley of Columbia, SC, grandson, Dylan J. Riley of Smyrna, “honorary” grandson Anthony J. Baker of Smyrna, great grandson, Cameron Riley of Dunellen, NJ, and great granddaughters, Nicole, Kaylee and Nola Riley of Easton, PA, a sister-in-law Gloria Hawkins of Old Town, FL, and several special nieces and nephews.

In 1949 Mr. Riley took a job with Mobil Oil building and operating the New England pipeline. He was employed by Mobil Oil for 39 years until he retired in 1988. In 1963 he moved to New Jersey as the pipeline joined a network originally begun as a World War II security measure in 1943 which spread from Texas northward to Maine and south to Georgia. Over his years with Mobil he participated in the complex designs and implementation of several generations of computer automation systems for pipeline operations and conducted field inspections for their safety and maintenance as well as managing multiple station operations along the east coast.

In 1988 Mr. Riley and his wife moved to Lake Monticello, Virginia. He served voluntarily for six years as President for the Engineering and Environment Commission for the Lake Monticello Property Owners Association. He also joined a local model railroad club which constructed a replica of the old railroad for the Town of Palmyra Museum which is still on display. He was a member of the Fluvanna County Historical Society working on several preservation and reconstruction projects. He wrote a weekly column for the local Lake Monticello News called “Tales of Old Virginia” which told stories of local and statewide historical interest. He had a keen interest in the Civil War and collected numerous books on the subject. He also tutored reading in the local elementary schools. He was active in the First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen, NJ, Meadows Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, VA, and South Plains Presbyterian Church in Keswick, VA. He was a member of Orchard Masonic Lodge #215 AF&AM in Old Orchard Beach, ME.

In early 2014 due to declining health, he and Mrs. Riley moved to Westminster Village Assisted Living in Dover. Throughout his life Mr. Riley enjoyed fishing and caught “the big one”, a 48 inch Great Northern Pike while fishing with his son John at Lac LaMothe in Canada. He also enjoyed sailing, oil painting, traveling to Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, and especially staying at his condo during the winters in St. Maarten. He loved his water front home with its beautiful views at Lake Monticello and his many friends and neighbors there. He loved and cherished spending time with his family and his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He also enjoyed many happy reunions with fellow Maine Maritime Academy alumni. Phil also loved studying the Bible. He loved His faithful Savior Jesus Christ, his country, and his family and was an ardent and unapologetic patriot who put up the American flag every day he was able outside his house. He remained an avid fan of the New York Giants to the end. He was descended from ancient stock including three signers of the Magna Carta, three signers of the Mayflower Compact, and six veterans of the American Revolution. His Delaware ancestors received their grant of land in Sussex County in 1688 from King William and Queen Mary and his Virginia ancestors received their grant of land from King George II in 1759 for military service in the French and Indian War shortly after their arrival from Ireland.

Memorial Services will be held at the First Presbyterian Church with visitation on Tuesday, January 13, where friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. and on Wednesday, January 14 with additional visitation from 10 a.m. until the service of celebration of his life at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be in the Riley family plot at the West Rockport Cemetery in Maine in late spring of this year at a date to be determined, but after the snow melts. Memorial gifts may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Smyrna, 118 West Commerce Street, Smyrna, DE 19977 or Maine Maritime Academy, 1 Pleasant Street, Castine, Maine 04420.

To sign the online guestbook, please visit Arrangements by Matthews-Bryson Funeral Home, Smyrna.