John G. Riley

Mar 23, 1944 - Nov 15, 2016

John's Story

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Sierra Vista - Born in Derby, England, John Riley died peacefully in Sierra Vista, AZ, on Tuesday morning, November 15, 2016, due to complications from Parkinson's Disease. John spent his career as a professor of Engineering at the University of Maine before retiring to Bisbee, Arizona, in 2006. He was chairman of the department of Agriculture and Aquaculture Engineering. Equally important to his career, he purported to remember every meal he had eaten in his 72 years of life. He married Ruth Shaw and had 3 children (who all graduated from U Maine and became engineers). He taught them the important things in life: how to select a quality hammer, stock a quality tool box, do the high jump (his daughter held the U Maine record in that event for years), love nature, have a sense of humor, and to be good hard working human beings. He had a life-long love affair with his cars, marmite, and headcheese. John also excelled at sailing his beloved boat the Tardis and refurbishing trashed vehicles. As a Professor he was a demanding but dearly loved teacher. His signature apparel was a well worn U Maine baseball cap. John traveled extensively and the highlight of his life was a trip he took with his college "chaps" in a double decker bus throughout Europe. This group of miscreants, known as Aphrodite, continued to have reunions celebrating that adventure throughout their lives.
John had a British sense of humor that was second to none, which is why this obituary honors him with some sense of humor rather than sadness and sorrow. He is survived by his wife, Stephanie Peavey of 26 years, Ruth Shaw, the mother of his three children, his children Robin Riley and wife Mary Flannigan, Johanna Riley Evans and husband Travers Evans, Ian Riley and wife Bobbie Jo Riley, eight grandchildren, his sister and brother in law Joy and Gavin Bawtree, a 1952 Dodge Truck "Bessie" and a beloved 1981 Porsche, "Elsie".
A celebration of John's life will be held Thursday, June 15, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the McIntire room at Buchanan Alumni House, University of Maine campus in Orono. It is an open house with a brief memorial at 6:30. We invite you to share stories and remember a life lived to the fullest. All are welcome.
Published on  June 10, 2017
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