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John Riley

John R. Riley

Monday, December 16th, 1935 - Tuesday, May 28th, 2019
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John R. Riley, 83, of Wellesley, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on May 28, 2019.

John was born on December 16, 1935 in Troy, NY, the third son of the seven children of the late James M. and Blanche (Peterson) Riley. Raised in Watervliet, NY, he was a 1954 graduate of Watervliet High School where he was Class Vice President, Vice President of the Student Council, Editor-in-Chief of the yearbook, and voted “wisest” in the Senior Poll. John earned his B.B.A. in Accounting from Siena College in Loudonville, NY in 1958 where he was Vice President of the Business Society and Junior Class Treasurer. After John and Anna-Mary were married in 1959, they moved to Boston, where he attended Boston College Law School for a year until its evening program was closed.

A Certified Public Accountant, John spent the first part of his career at various Boston public accounting firms, the last of which was Touche, Ross, Bailey & Smart, a predecessor to Deloitte Touche. In 1975 John left public accounting to join one of his clients, A.W. Chesterton Company in Stoneham, MA, as their Vice President of Finance, a position that he held until his retirement in 1996. During that tenure, he was instrumental in the company’s expansion both domestically and internationally. Governor Michael Dukakis appointed him to the Foreign Business Council for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

John was very active in youth and community activities serving as a Boy Scout leader, Little League coach, St. John School Council president, CCD instructor, and Parish Council member. John served on the boards of the Third Century Foundation and the Catholic Foundation for the Archdiocese of Boston.

He took great pride and pleasure in attending his children’s, and later his grandchildren’s, sporting events, plays, concerts, and school activities. He often joined in on the activities himself, playing softball, skiing, camping, and white water rafting among other activities. He took particular joy in the family Blue Bird motor home, “The Eagle R”, whether he was enjoying a cross country trip, a visit to family in New York, or tailgating at Boston College football games.

A hallmark of John’s life was his deep commitment to his Catholic faith. He often attended daily Mass and was a Eucharistic Minister. He established four scholarship funds at Saint John’s Seminary in Brighton, MA in honor of priests, who were family friends. Later, his son Edward would be trained for the priesthood at Saint John’s Seminary and is now the Seminary’s Dean of Men and Director of Pastoral Formation.

John is survived by his loving wife Anna-Mary (Howe) Riley of Wellesley whom he married on July 4, 1959, and by his eight children: John M. Riley and his wife, Maureen, of Natick; James M. Riley and his wife, Joanne, of Norton; Rev. Edward M. Riley of Brighton; George M. Riley of Framingham; Kathleen A. Burke and her husband, James, of Hopkinton; Jane A. Rose and her husband, Timothy, of Natick; Mary R. Nolan and her husband, Thomas, of Framingham; and Margaret R. (Meg) Gaughan and her husband, George, of Hopkinton. He is also survived by 31 grandchildren: Kathryn (Kate), Rebecca, and Caroline Riley of Natick; Elizabeth and Theresa Riley of Norton; Kelli, MaryLauren, Caleb, and Anna Burke of Hopkinton; Timothy, Joseph, Shannon, Mark, Cecilia, Gabrielle, Eileen, Bernadette, Michaela, and John Rose of Natick; Terrence (TJ), Charles, Emmaline, Edward (Ted), Angela, and Murielle Nolan of Framingham; and Brian, Marguerite (Maggie), Andrew, Matthew, Katelyn, and Christina Gaughan of Hopkinton.

John is also survived by his sisters, Kathleen Pallotolo and her husband, Jim, of Colonie, NY, and Ann Marie Riley of Watervliet, NY; and sisters-in-law, Anna Riley of Troy, NY and Jane Connor and her husband, Edward, of Albany, NY; and many nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, James and Blanche Riley, John was predeceased by his granddaughter, Veronica Rose; his brothers James Riley; George Riley and his wife, Zelda; Thomas Riley and his wife, Dottie; and Vincent Riley; and his nephews, Scott and Jeffrey Matthews.

A Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, June 3, 2019 at 11:30am at St. John the Evangelist Church, 9 Glen Road, Wellesley, MA. Visiting hours will be on Sunday, June 2, 2019 from 3:00pm to 7:00pm, also at St. John Church. Burial will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Needham. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Saint John’s Seminary, 127 Lake Street, Brighton, MA 02135.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Sunday, June 2nd, 2019 | 3:00pm - 7:00pm
    Sunday, June 2nd, 2019 3:00pm - 7:00pm
    St. John the Evangelist Church
    9 Glen Rd.
    WELLESLEY, MA 02481
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Monday, June 3rd, 2019 | 11:30am
    Monday, June 3rd, 2019 11:30am
    St. John the Evangelist Church
    9 Glen Rd.
    WELLESLEY, MA 02481
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    St. Mary's Cemetery
    Hunnewell Avenue
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Karin Morin

Posted at 03:04pm
I am very sorry to hear of your great loss. I didn't know Mr. Riley and have no memories to share; however, I know two of his children - Jane Rose and Fr. Ed - although I didn't know until today that they are brother and sister. Each has made such an impression on me that my sense of their father as a good mentor is dramatically enhanced. Someone who can raise two such fine people (together with his wife, of course) must have been a wonderful man and will certainly be missed by the whole Riley clan. Requiescat in pace.

Deborah Haas

Posted at 11:26am
Heartfelt condolences to Fr. Ed, and all of John's family and friends.


Posted at 09:23am
We are so sorry for your loss, our thoughts and hearts are with you all. May you find comfort in his memory.
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kelsey lee

Posted at 09:02pm
To the family of John R. Riley,
I am sorry for your loss. May you find comfort in knowing that "Jehovah is close to the brokenhearted; He saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34v18) With sympathy,

Mary Bowers Posted at 08:11pm

It is with a heavy heart I express my sympathy to John’s soulmate, Ann, and to all the Riley children and grandchildren. No one can dispute what a wonderfully kind and religious human being John Riley was on the face of this earth. I’ve got some memories of John from so many years in Wellesley and hope your memories will ease your pain as you go through this mourning period. There is a special spot reserved in my heart! RIP John Riley, knowing you’ve been a great example for your family‼️💔

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