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Homer L. Riley

Posted By Hall-Wynne On May 8, 2015 @ 2:42 pm In Durham,Obituaries | 23 Comments

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

Condolences for the family of “Homer L. Riley”

Condolence from Doug Wingate & Dawn on May 8th, 2015 4:10 pm

So very sorry to hear about Mr. Riley’s passing. He was like a second Dad to all of us kids growing up in the old neighborhood. Our lives were all enriched by Mr. and Mrs. Riley both. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Riley and the rest of the family.

Condolence from Steve Riley on May 18th, 2015 1:20 pm

Your comments at the funeral service meant a great deal to all of us. It speaks to a bygone era. All of our folks seem to work together to make sure that we were all watched over and taken care of which allowed us so much interconnected freedom to be kids.
It was great to see you and Dawn and your support lifted our spirits immensely.

Condolence from Wendy Wilson on May 8th, 2015 4:43 pm

What a great life Homer had! His personality, thoughtfulness and sense of humor
brought something special to all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Condolence from Mark Bonner on May 8th, 2015 5:06 pm

I was so saddened to hear of Homer’s passing. I used to see him all the time while working downtown on Market Street back in the late 70’s and through the 80’s. He and I always had good conversations and his smile always brightened my day.

Please know that the family is in my prayers

Condolence from Nancy Jo Chatham on May 8th, 2015 7:50 pm

I’m so sorry to hear about Mr Riley. I went to DHS with Steve and I have fond memories of him. We had some fun parties at your home on Indian Trail. My thoughts are with you all.

Condolence from Steve Riley on May 18th, 2015 1:22 pm

Thanks so much for note. You are so right. We had some fun times at 2600 Indian Trail. I’ve really enjoyed seeing your life through Facebook!

Condolence from George Crane on May 8th, 2015 10:00 pm

So sorry for your loss. Did not personally know your Dad but always heard good things. I know he will be both greatly missed and greatly remembered.

Condolence from Betsy Whitesel on May 8th, 2015 11:27 pm

I was shocked to receive the news even though I knew he was ill. I’ve always been in awe of him. Through the years learning of his achievements and feeling humbled and amazed by them . It created more awe and admiration and respect with each new discovery.
I love Homer and will be there tomorrow in my prayers. Lots of love and gentle hugs for Martha. Wish ii was there to hold and comfort you. Heartfelt love for my cousins. His soul will touch all of you,
Betsy Ann Whitesel

Condolence from Linda Poston on May 9th, 2015 7:33 am

I am just so thankful that I had the pleasure to know Homer. We shared good times and many good jokes. I truely thank Marti and her family for sharing Homer with me. He will be dearly missed. Much Love.

Linds Poston

Condolence from Joyce Williams Woodard (Joseph C.) on May 9th, 2015 10:40 am

Was sorry to read of the loss of Homer Riley. He was a great American and friend to all who had the chance of knowing him. My heartfelt sympathy goes our to Martha and all the family. He was such a joy to be with and through the Exchange Club we has many happy times together. May God grant you all peace and comfort in the sad time. He will be greatly missed by all that ever knew him. A great humanitarian who gave of himself. I’ll always remember his happy smile. Love you all. Sending on behalf of my family especially Kim Hall.

Condolence from Johnny Hazelton on May 9th, 2015 11:11 am

While I had been around Homer a few times, and always found him intelligent and funny, I mainly knew Homer through Steve, my brother-in-law. You could tell how much Steve revered his father by the stories he would tell and through his writings. He was truly a great man, who earned the respect and appreciation of all who knew him. He will be missed and I am so sorry for your loss.

Condolence from Cheyney Hales on May 9th, 2015 12:11 pm

A few years ago, I thanked Martha for all she an Homer did for my family.

Beaming, she comforted me again.

” We knew that you would appreciate it, someday!”

Condolence from Nancy Odom on May 9th, 2015 1:36 pm

Homer had one of the kindest hearts I have ever known. He was a remarkable man and I feel so fortunate I had the opportunity to know him.

Condolence from Tom Kelly on May 9th, 2015 3:52 pm

There was only one Homer. We’ll miss him, but we know he is in a good place. Our confolences to Martha snd the family.

Condolence from Lee Armstrong on May 9th, 2015 6:47 pm

So sorry for your loss. He sounds like a wonderful person. May your memories comfort you.

Condolence from Patricia Proctor on May 9th, 2015 8:46 pm

I am so so sorry to hear of Homer’s passing. He and Martha were always good neighbors when our children were growing up on Indian Trail. Prayers, Trish Proctor

Condolence from Libby Jernigan on May 10th, 2015 10:24 pm

Marti, your Dad must have been such a wonderful person, knowing you and recently meeting more of your family, you are warm loving to each other. I’ve seen you extend that to your friends over the years in many ways. Your Dad can be proud of you for that-
Pete and I will be thinking of you and Susan as well as your family. Now more than ever your memories of time with your Dad will carry you. Hold them close.
our love, Pete and Libby

Condolence from Darnelle Averre on May 11th, 2015 9:42 am

Martha and Family!
Sorry to hear of Homer’s passing. I have wonderful memories of traveling to the District Exchange meetings and serving with him on the Exchange Prevent Child Abuse board. Serving his and Martha’s insurance needs. Wonderful friend and Homer would always say to me BE SWEET! and I am sure many others heard the samething. You were bless to have Homer as your husband and daddy for so many years. My prayer is that God give each of you peace and understanding today and the days ahead. Love to each of y ou. Darnelle Averre

Condolence from Sophia on May 11th, 2015 12:43 pm

I am deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Homer. Even though I did not know him, I feel as though I did through the many wonderful stories shared. May prayers help comfort you and your family during this time of grief. Know that we are here for you if you need anything. Margaret and I extend our condolences.

Condolence from Jocelyn Dorsey on May 13th, 2015 6:31 pm

Mr. Riley was quite a role model for you and many others in your community. May the wonderful memories of him and the love of your family surround you and give you strength in the days ahead. Please know that I am thinking of you as you thought of me in my father’s passing.

Condolence from Tomi Register on May 14th, 2015 2:19 pm

The Rileys were the “other” big family at Asbury … and we all grew up together. I was honored to know Homer Riley … and I offer my deepest condolences to Martha, Lin … and the rest of the family.

Condolence from Charlotte Honeycutt Smith on May 16th, 2015 5:19 am

So sorry to hear of Homer’s passing. I worked for the Teer Company several times and very fortune to know Mr. Teer Sr. and Jr. and Hubert and Homer. A very good company to work for and a very nice group of people to work with.

Charlotte H. Smith

Condolence from The Odyssey of Homer | Life of Riley on May 26th, 2015 7:50 am

[…] (The following is the full text written as a eulogy for my dad on Monday, May 11, 2015 at Asbury Uni…) […]

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