961 25th Street Columbus, IN 47201

Earl Riley

May 20, 1934 - June 14, 2022


Obituary For Earl Riley

Earl Riley began his journey in life on a farm in Croswell, Michigan. He moved throughout southeast Michigan and when he retired from Chrysler he traveled around the South and central Midwest until he found some land in Dubois, Indiana to contemplate and to learn about for a while. On a late evening in June his journey came to a sudden end. His trek lasted 88 years, 1 month, and 23 days.
Earl was preceded in death by his parents, John and Laura, his sister Helen Lucille, and his brothers Leland, Erwin, John Harold (Dutch), Robert, and Richard. He is survived by his son James and his daughter Darlene.
Earl had an organized mind and never stopped learning: night classes, community college, public libraries, guitar lessons and music theory at Birdland Music, and finally he surprised himself by earning an associate degree in science from Vincennes University in 2005. He never would brag or talk about honors he received, but he kept every single photograph, certificate, plaque and pin.
Volunteering became Earl’s outlet: he volunteered in the gardens at the historic West Baden Springs Hotel for years (before it became a casino), helped Senior citizens with their taxes, tutored students at the Dubois library, and was active with repairs, plays, revivals, Bible studies, and growing in faith at Crystal Community Church. (Romans 12:7, Galatians 5:22) He would often go hiking/walking in the many parks and forests in this area. Feeding and caring for local cats was also a passion of his.
A quiet man, Earl was a bit shy, but he was always thinking and processing what he saw and heard, always ready to help and solve a problem in a situation, a structure, a car. He hung to the side at social events and was a rather private man, but his presence was felt. He left a mark on the lives of those with whom he interacted and cherished the friends and fellow travelers he met throughout his life.
These organizations were important to Earl: the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the Smithsonian Institute.

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