Gloria Marie Riley
1928 - 2021
Gloria Marie (Salvato) Riley
July 18, 1928 - June 24, 2021
Gloria M. Riley, the oldest daughter of an Italian American family, was born into the Greatest Generation and the Great Depression in the town of Norwalk / Westport, Connecticut.
After graduating from Staples High School with honors, she studied bookkeeping and accounting while working at the Howard Johnson Diner in Norwalk where she was swept off her feet by one of her regular customers, a sophisticated jazz piano player and WW II Navy Veteran, Melvin R. Riley. They were married when she was barely 20 and settled into a life together raising three children in the "Happy Days" of the 50's and the 60's. A great Mom, she hosted Brownies and Cub Scouts, made assembly-line apple pies when our tree was ready to harvest and never failed to produce our favorite cake for birthdays. There were incredible homemade Halloween costumes and all kinds of hiking, beaching, and fishing adventures and vacations to Maine and New Hampshire
But as her kids got older and more independent, Mom was ready for a new challenge and went back into the work force, first as a bookkeeper and eventually working her way up to a position as Accounts Manager for the Glendinning Corporation. She shifted gears gracefully, wearing business clothes and fulfilling the image of a professional woman in the early 60's, while still juggling a family.
When Dad retired, he longed to move south and she was ready for a change. In 1970 they picked up stakes in Connecticut, said goodbye to her abundance of Italian relatives, and moved to a tiny newly developed town near Southport, North Carolina called Boiling Spring Lakes where they knew no one. Here they bought land on a lake and built their new home, a place she would live for the next 50 years.
Barely 5' tall and "pleasingly plump", as our father described her, she embraced the local sport of golf, competing in many tournaments and even achieved the coveted "hole-in-one", much to her children's amazement. She continued enjoying that sport into her 90's.
She spent the final year of her life close to her son, Dennis, granddaughter Elydia, and great-granddaughter Maya in the Boston area with son Rick close by, where she was cared for and enjoyed many family gatherings and backyard picnics during the covid pandemic.
Gloria passed peacefully in her bed on the morning of June 24th, 2021. She wished for no particular ceremony to honor her life but only that she be cremated and her ashes scattered in her beloved lake in Boiling Spring Lakes.
She leaves behind two sons; Dennis Riley (wife Sue Lena Thompson) and Richard Riley (wife Aviva), her daughter Robin Riley Rayner and sister Jeanette Dresing, Granddaughter Elydia and great grandchildren Maya, Louisiana, John and Jasper. She was predeceased by her grandson Colin.
Published by Westport-News on Aug. 25, 2021.
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