The Odyssey of Homer. A Great Ride.
Homer L. Riley, Sr., a lifelong resident of Durham, NC, passed away at the age of 92 on Thursday morning, May 7, 2015. He died while in the kind care of the staff at The Pavilion at Croasdaile Village. Homer and his wife, Martha, have lived in Croasdaile Village since 1999.
Homer led a wonderful and full life during which he traveled to 84 countries through his wartime service and his distinguished professional career. He dined with Saudi princes and West Virginia coal miners. He made and kept friends quicker than most, and valued his time with each.
He loved and cherished his family
Homer was born in Durham, the son of Norfolk and Letha Riley, attended E. K. Powe Elementary where he met the girl of his dreams when he was 13 and Martha Glymph was 12.
They both attended Durham High School.
Homer enlisted into the United States Marine Corps in 1942. Prior to shipping out, he and Martha were married at the Glymph family home at 2040 Englewood Avenue.
His service put him in the fiercest battles in the Pacific including the initial assaults on the Islands of Roi-Namur, Saipan, Tinian and the most deadly and infamous battle on Iwo Jima.
Homer received the Bronze Star for heroic achievement in battle on Tinian leading a platoon under intense fire to detect mines and booby traps. “With great coolness and courage, he supervised the work of his men and aided in the work of removing these obstacles himself. He showed great courage and his conduct throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
Homer began his long career with Durham’s Nello L. Teer Company in 1949 after graduating from North Carolina State College with a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering. He rose quickly through the ranks and was appointed Vice President in 1954.
His loyalty to Nello Teer Company and Teer family members never wavered during his 38 years.
In 1982, he was named President. He became President and CEO in 1984. Homer retired in 1987.
He was very active in serving his hometown community in particular through the works of the Exchange Club of Durham for which he served as president. He was inducted into the Book of Golden Deeds in 1998. He served as president of The Exchange Club’s Center for Prevention of Child Abuse in Durham.
He served as president of the NC State Engineering Foundation, Croasdaile Village Residents Association and as director of First Federal Savings and Loan, Better Transportation of North Carolina and the NCSU College of Engineering Board of Advisers.
Homer was preceded in death by his sister, Mildred Pope, of Durham. He is survived by his sister, Doris Perry of Fayetteville, NC, Martha, his wife of 72 years, their five children, Marti McCracken and spouse, Susan Turner, Lin and wife, Sylvia, Steve and wife Julie, Ginger, and Page and wife, Maggie. They have seven grandchildren: Kelly, Claire, Clark, Blair, Lyle, Peyton and Russell.
The family will receive friends 4-6 p.m. Saturday at The Great Room of Croasdaile Village, 2600 Croasdaile Farm Pkwy., Durham. Memorial Services will be held 2 p.m. Monday at Asbury United Methodist Church, 806 Clarendon St, Durham. A committal gathering with military honors will be held at Croasdaile Village Lakeside Park followed by a reception in the Auditorium of Croasdaile Village.
In lieu of flowers the family offers the following charitable donations: NC State Engineering Foundation referencing the Homer and Martha Riley Scholarship Foundation, Asbury Methodist Church or Croasdaile Village Benevolent Fund. Arrangements are entrusted to Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, Durham. Online condolences at www.hallwynne.com