Livonia, NY – John M Riley has passed. Jack was born in Bennington, VT to John H. and Ruth Lavin Riley on Remembrance Day in 1951. For many years, he believed the Memorial Day parades were for him alone to celebrate his birthday.
He was raised in a loving household in Groveside, NY, where on a dirt road his father and his Uncle Bob built homes side by side. The cousins were more like siblings than cousins. It was somewhat a magical childhood, living out in the country and exploring the world with his cousin, Bobby. Jack’s siblings are Kathy Riley, Bennington, VT; Tom Riley (Kristee Iacobucci), Groveside, NY; and Trish Bossong, Bennington, VT; and his cousins are Barb Gifford, Groveside, NY; Mary Jane Eddy (dec) and Bobby Ellis (dec). He attended a one room schoolhouse down the road for a couple of years, then St. Mary’s and then public school in Hoosick Falls.
After graduating from Hoosick Falls High School, Jack attended Hudson Valley Community College and then proceeded to Oswego State University. In his senior year, Jack met Laurie Hugenbruch and followed her home to the Rochester, NY area. They wed in 1974. He loved all his in-laws and reveled in becoming an uncle on both sides of the family.
Jack proceeded to pursue engineering degrees at RIT, culminating in a Masters in Systems Engineering. Along the way, he worked for various companies as an engineer and after that as a consultant and college professor. He loved being able to share real life experiences with his students.
Jack and Laurie have two children – Meghann and Patrick. When Meg married Stephen Rose, it was an especially wonderful expansion of the family and eventually included three grandchildren: Evelyn, Gavin and Augustus (Gus). Jack loved his children and grandchildren immensely, nurturing all their interests, whatever they may be. He had unique bonds with each grandchild and loved to spoil them with gifts and experiences. Jack nurtured the leader in Evie, the scientist in Gavin and the artist in Gus. Family dinner and family vacations were some of his favorite experiences.
Jack had a great sense of humor. He loved to tease, joke and be good-natured trouble, encouraging his grandchildren and nieces and nephews to do the same. Jack often wore shirts with puns for which he loved to see other people’s reaction. Sarcasm and quick wit he passed along to his children and grandchildren.
He also gave freely of his time to volunteer in many roles either alongside his family or with his profession. Despite never playing soccer in his youth, he learned the game and coached both his children and his grandchildren. He was the cub scout leader of the No Fun Den. (The NFD was named such as he made sure those boys toed the line! Quite a few of them ended up achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.) He was a founding member of the local chapter of INCOSE – International Council on Systems Engineering – and was a key part of coordinating their 2005 International Symposium in Rochester. Jack actively served in church leadership roles and youth groups in Irondequoit, volunteered in the Livonia Fire Department and Livonia and Lima Volunteer Ambulance Corps, among other things.
He was deeply spiritual. His impact on others and this world is immeasurable.
When not working or volunteering he puttered around his beloved six-acre farm in South Lima, NY where the family moved from West Irondequoit – gardening, bee keeping, wine making, wood working, bread baking, building an outdoor wood fired pizza oven, etc., etc. Whatever he was doing outside, he made sure music was playing – mostly 60’s and 70’s. Ask our neighbors. He taught himself guitar and saxophone, although he could never carry a tune. In fact, he turned on music first thing in the morning in the house, even if shortly thereafter he left to do something else.
Jack loved holidays and traditions. He left us with an immense wealth of memories of Christmas cookie baking and tree sales, pumpkin carving at Halloween, trips to the State Fair, RIT Imagination Day, STEM camp, Easter egg hunts, first day of school photos, fireworks, bonfires and sparklers, splashing in the pool, vacation breakfasts, and playing games like UNO, Telestrations and Cribbage.
There will be a celebration of Jack’s life at the farm on a future date when spring has blossomed. His desire is to have his ashes scattered in South Lima, Groveside, at Wrigley Field when his beloved Cubbies are playing at home, somewhere in Ireland and on a beach in Delaware where the extended family spent a week each summer for the past nine years or so. Jack and Evie always had breakfast duty. The past two years he had t-shirts made that said Breakfast Crew just for the two of them.
He will be – and already is – deeply missed.
The Jack Riley Memorial Fund is being established at FLCC to support the purchase of equipment for the lab at the Victor Campus where he was a professor for the past six plus years. Donations can be made at https://www.flcc.edu/giving/ or by sending a check made out to the FLCC Foundation and sent to Finger Lakes Community College Foundation, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua, NY 14424.
In either case, please note that the gift is designated for the Jack Riley Memorial Fund.