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OBITUARY: Robert Oscar Riley Nov. 23, 1938 – Feb. 3, 2015

on February 5, 2015 - 12:21pm

ROBERT OSCAR RILEY Nov. 23, 1938 – Feb. 3, 2015

Robert Oscar Riley, 76, of Hernandez, passed away without pain on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 in White Rock, following a short illness.

Robert was preceded in death by his parents, Oscar and Lola Riley; in-laws, Ruth and Harold Nedrow.  Robert was born November 23, 1938, the second child of Clarence Oscar and Lola Belle Rawls Riley in Monticello, Arkansas. He was raised in simpler times, with a deep and abiding love of family, and a special connection with the outdoors and animals, spending countless hours hunting and fishing with family and friends. With his sister Mollie Jane and his brother Carroll Doug, and a large extended family nearby, he learned to love life.

He extended this bond with nature to his career, and received a degree in forestry from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. He served with the US Forest Service for over 37 years, in many capacities, including fighting forest fires all over the United States. He was never happier than times spent outdoors, especially if family and friends were there with him.

His work with the Forest Service took him to Idaho, where he met his future bride, Alice Bates. They were married November 25, 1966, and weathered 48 years of good times and tough times, with patience and enduring love. They made their life together, living in Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Arkansas, and finally settling in New Mexico to be closer to their grandchildren. 

He was a devoted husband and father, and they were the parents of two children, Leslie and Dan. He shared with his children his love of the outdoors, and of animals, raising and training horses and dogs, especially Labrador retrievers, and spending time in hidden places in the national forest. He shared with Alice his love of gardening, and they were able to enjoy fresh garden produce everywhere they lived. He also shared with his children the simple values of hard work, family first, honesty, compassion, integrity, and the ability to tell a colorful story.

He spent the final years of his life as a resident of Hernandez, enjoying a new part of the country, close to his children and grandchildren. Just as he had with many young men before, he hunted and fished with his grandsons, especially enjoying trips to the Valles Caldera, and El Rito Canyon, and turkey hunting with his buddy Tony. He attended virtually every athletic or academic event that his grandsons were a part of in northern New Mexico, and enjoyed every second he spent with each of them.

He is survived by his wife Alice; son, Dan both of Hernandez; his daughter, Leslie (Robert) Geyer, and grandsons, Cory, Brian, and Alex Geyer, all of White Rock, NM; his sister, Mollie Jane Harty of Minneapolis, MN, and his brother, Carroll Douglas (Reba) Riley, and aun,t Kathleen Rawls all of Monticello, AR., and numerous brothers and sisters in-law, nieces, nephews, and special friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Española Valley Animal Shelter, or to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

A memorial service will be held Friday, February 6, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at the Española Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1008 Fairview Lane, Española, NM, with a luncheon for the family to receive visitors following the services. The family of Robert O. Riley has entrusted the care of their loved one to the DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Española Valley. 505.747.7477 –