1933 - 2018
Mark Scott Riley, 85, of Rancho Bernardo, California, passed away on August 18th, 2018. Mark, the only child of Gratia and George Riley, was born on August 3, 1933, at St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco. Shortly after Mark's birth, his father passed away unexpectedly, and Mark was raised with the help of his aunt and uncle, James and Thelma Marshall. Mark spent the majority of his young life in the Imperial Valley eventually attending college at San Jose State University and San Diego State College where he ran track and played basketball at both. Mark served his country as an enlisted member of the U.S. Army at Fort Ord. He met his first wife, Merle Ostrom, in college. Mark and Merle were married in the summer of 1955 and had their first and only child, Kathleen. Tragically, Merle died in an auto accident when Kathleen was an infant. Mark eventually married the woman with whom he would spend the rest of his life, Virginia (Ginny) Johnson, a widow with three young children of her own: Michael, Mark, and Molly. The family was raised in the Imperial Valley where Mark enjoyed a long and successful career in the advertising industry, working with such national firms as Foster and Kleiser, Patrick Media Group, Eller Media Company, and Clear Channel Communications. Although Mark's roots were in the Imperial Valley; in later years, he and Ginny loved the life and home they made for themselves in Manhattan Beach. More important than the short list and timeline noted above, Mark and Ginny led a full life of family, friends, dogs, work, travel, and adventure. Mark was born to socialize! He thoroughly enjoyed all business and family gatherings and took advantage of every opportunity to tell a story or recite a joke (often with the aid of a trusty cocktail). Mark had an incredible memory for people, events and he reveled in the joy of recalling favorite anecdotes. Until the end, Mark always made an effort to stay in touch and share a joke with as many friends as possible (you know who you are, and he loved you). Above all, Mark spent the last several years of his life caring for Ginny, his wife of over 50 years. Mark is survived by his wife, Ginny; daughter, Kathleen May; stepchildren, Michael Johnson, Mark Johnson and Molly Johnson (Zbojniewicz); grandchildren and great-grandchildren include, but will not be limited to the following: Ross, Crosby, Carley, Bailey, Bevan, Demi Sue, Ellie, Andi, Will, Riley, Ronin, Ryder, Hudson, Sawyer, Eden, Hazel, Francis and Pius. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Alzheimer's Association ( in the name of Virginia Riley, would be appreciated. A private family service is pending.
Published by Imperial Valley Press Online from Aug. 31 to Sep. 2, 2018.
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4 Entries
Molly Zbojniewicz
April 26, 2019
Psalms 90:10 says that the days of our years are 70 years, And if because of special mightiness they are 80 years. May the memories of the wonderful times you shared together bring a smile and joy in your heart.
September 12, 2018
Mark supported his children in their athletic competition and stayed involved with the Spartan Family. He worked hard trying to get an alumni association to support the graduating seniors. Mark was one of the good guys glad to have known you.
Emma Jones
September 2, 2018
Great memories of a long friendship. Rest in peace, dear Mark.
Gordon & Marcy Belson
August 31, 2018
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