Retired Fire Marshall City of Lakeland

LAKELAND - Alpha -1/26/1954; Omega -1/04/2014.
For over 24 years, Larry Riles was a colleague, friend, mentor, and brother-in-arms with the Lakeland Fire Department. The first African-American Fire Marshall and the highest ranking firefighter in the history of the Lakeland Fire Department, he was a larger than life figure with a jovial nature and a smooth and easy smile. Before becoming a prominent fixture in the city of Lakeland, he proudly served his country in the United States Navy. When it was time for him to answer that last bell as Fire Marshall on December 8, 2007, Larry continued to be a positive role model for the next generation. He volunteered his time as a PAL mentor and a Florida High School Athletics Association volleyball official for both middle and high school games. Larry also learned to enjoy life by becoming an avid golfer and competing in the Amateur Pool Association. In the off season you could find him working in his workshop in the garage or experimenting with some Cajun/Creole recipes in the kitchen.
On January 4, 2014, Larry Riles was called home to be with his heavenly family, due to heart failure.
Larry was preceded in death by his father and mother, Linus and Velma Riles of Mississippi and two sisters, Oteria Smith and Jessie B. Riles of California.
He leaves to cherish his memory, a loving wife of over 20 years, Shawna Riles, two daughters: Estee and Brionne Riles and one son: Larry N. Riles, all of Lakeland, Florida. Eight sisters: Ruby (Matthews) Dunn, Dianne (William) Allen, Gail (Kenneth) Simmons, Helen Weatherspoon, Dorothy and Samantha Riles, all of Mississippi and Ineice and Jessie M. Riles of California. Three brothers: Rev. Herman (Shirley) of Michigan, Bernard (Wanda) of Mississippi and Jerry Riles of Florida. Six grandchildren: Tyson, Aiyanna, Gavin, Dillon, Brooklyn and Isis and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Friends will be received from 5-7 pm Friday at the Coney FuneraI Home, 1404 Martin L. King, Jr. Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33805. A celebration of life will begin at 11am Saturday, January 11, 2014, at the Victory Church, 1401 Griffin Road, Lakeland, Florida, 33810. Interment will take place with full military honors in Serenity Gardens, 3350 Mall Hill Drive, Lakeland, Florida, 33805.
Condolences may be sent to


Funeral Home

Serenity Gardens
3350 Mall Hill Drive Lakeland, FL 33810
(863) 853-5959

Published in Ledger from Jan. 9 to Jan. 10, 2014