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Joe Riley

Funeral services for Joe Riley will be conducted at 11 a.m., Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at New Hebron Baptist Church, with Bro. Tommy Tanner officiating, assisted by Bro. Jeremy Knowles and Bro. Earl Clark. Interment will follow in the New Hebron Cemetery, with Dr. Matt Buckles officiating. Mr. Riley, 86, entered into the eternal rest of his Lord March 23 at Lawrence County Hospital in Monticello. Saulters Moore Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.

The family will receive friends Wednesday morning, beginning at 9 a.m. until the hour of service at 11 at New Hebron Baptist Church.

Mr. Riley will be carried to his final rest by his grandsons, Justin Westmoreland, Jared Smith, Jordan Westmoreland, Eli Riley, Bret Linton, and Blake Reeves. Honorary pallbearers include Samuel Parkman and members of the Myron Lee Sunday School Class.

Mr. Riley was born on Aug. 9, 1937, in Lawrence County to George Henry and Mary Nell Hutchins Riley. A graduate of New Hebron High School, he played football for the Golden Bears. After high school, he embarked on a career as a bricklayer before transitioning to become a skilled tile setter. His work ethic and commitment were truly commendable, qualities that would define his 42-year tenure at Diamond M Offshore Drilling. In addition to his professional pursuits, Joe, together with his beloved family, managed Riley Farm – raising blueberries and later, hay. The farm was not just a livelihood but a labor of love where everyone has their own story of learning to drive the tractor and learning what a hard day’s work was while making cherished memories.

In addition to enjoying woodworking, he was an avid hunter and fisherman. Tending to his chickens, guineas, and parrots also brought him immense happiness, reflecting his nurturing spirit. Moreover, Joe’s commitment to his community shone brightly through his involvement at New Hebron Baptist Church. As a dedicated deacon and choir member in years past, he exemplified his unending devotion to his Lord.

Above all his favorite pastimes, family gatherings were Joe’s favorite where he would captivate listeners with stories from his youth. Mr. Joe, as he was affectionately called, was not only a gentleman, but he was truly a “gentle man.” His gentle demeanor and kind heart endeared him to many, especially the children who adored him for his sweet gesture of handing out peppermints at church each Sunday. Joe’s warmth and generosity knew no bounds, leaving an everlasting impact on those whose lives he touched.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Riley was preceded in death by his first wife of 57 years and mother of his children, Patricia Collins Riley; his son, Jason Louis Riley; granddaughters, Amanda Hartzog, Jacy Riley; brothers, George Henry Riley Jr., Frank Riley, John Mark Riley; and his sister, Sabra Sullivan.

His memory will forever be cherished by his wife of nine years, Karen Riley, of New Hebron; daughters, Betty Riley (Charles) Smith, of Holt, Fla.; Amy Riley (Gene) Linton, of Jasper, Ala.; son, Joey (Terah) Riley, of New Hebron; daughter-in-law, Amy Riley, of New Hebron; stepdaughters, Teresa Roberts, of Baton Rouge; Melinda Morgan, of Selma, Tenn.; Christia Miller, of Nashville, Tenn.; stepson, Jim Turnage, of New Hebron; and a sister, Nell Riley Myers, of Jackson. The legacy of their Papaw will also live on through his grandchildren, Jenny Authement, Julie Buffington, Eli Riley, Sarah Hartzog, Justin Westmoreland, Jana McGough, Jordan Westmoreland, Jared Smith, Abby Crider, Carly Reeves, Riley Linton, Bret Linton; as well as a host of great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.