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Memorial for Delbert William Riley

Born in Great Falls, Montana on May 12, 1925
Departed on Aug. 23, 2018 and resided in Albany, Oregon.
Service: Saturday, Sep. 22, 2018
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Del Riley, age 93, completed his climb to glory Thursday, August 23, 2018, living his last sixteen days at the Edward C. Allworth Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon, Oregon. He was born to William M. and Elizabeth E. (Wood) Riley, in May of 1925, in Great Falls, Montana.

Del passed away peacefully, continually surrounded by his loving family. His health declined rapidly due to aggressive cancer of the spleen. He fought a good fight, finished the course and kept his faith.

Del’s family moved from Montana to northeastern Alberta, Canada, when he was three years old. His father farmed and raised cattle. Life was hard there. The winters were long and the ground unbroken. Del’s father often traded hay to the local Native Americans for fish and berries. Del remembered riding to town, wrapped in furs, in a sleigh driven by Cree Indian Chief Joe Peacho. To Del, it was an honor as he was the envy of the “city” boys. When he was eleven, they returned to the States, living in Yakima, Washington, and later settling in Silverton, Oregon. After high school he worked a short time in the shipyards.

Del enlisted in the United States Army in 1943, during WWII, joining the elite 10th Mountain Division, 85th Infantry Regiment, C Company as a ski trooper and scout. He was sent to Camp Hale, Colorado, for rigorous mountain training and later to Camp Swift in Texas before deployment to Europe and the Italian Alps. He was wounded in action on February 20, 1945, at Mt. Belvedere in the North Apennines, Po Valley. Because of the seriousness of his injury he returned to the states and was hospitalized at Madigan Hospital at Fort Lewis, Washington. Medals received during his time of service include the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge, Good Conduct and several campaign medals. He was honorably discharged in October 1945.

In l952, Del met, wooed, and wed Patricia (Patty) Walker of Silverton. She was the darling of his life. After living a short time in Salem they moved to Albany in May, 1953. Del was employed by Albany Typewriter Exchange as service and sales manager for ten years. He and Patty raised three children; Deleen, Mark and Bruce. They were planning to celebrate their sixty-sixth wedding anniversary this fall.

By 1962, Del was battling osteomyelitis, a serious bone infection caused by shrapnel from his war injury. He was in and out of the veterans’ hospital in Vancouver, Washington, for six years undergoing numerous treatments and surgeries. During his rehabilitation, while on crutches, he graduated from Merritt Davis Business College in accounting. When seeking employment, friends encouraged him to run for Linn County Recorder, an open position. He did and won. It was a family affair; an informative experience. Del later was elected county clerk, serving a total of five terms in office before retiring. While in office, he served as president of the Oregon Association of County Clerks and pioneered Vote-by-Mail in Oregon.

During his years in Albany, Del was involved in numerous city, county and state organizations and activities. Among those include serving as The East Lions Club President and receiving the Lion of the Year award. He was an active member of the Albany Chamber of Commerce, past vice-president of the State of Oregon Disabled American Veterans organization, president of the Linn County Veterans Council in 1971 and was presented the Linn County Veteran of the Year award in 1973, and was chosen president of Albany’s Christian Men’s Association. He was also instrumental in establishing Sunrise Park.

Del had a strong faith in his Lord Jesus Christ. He has been a member of Willamette Community Church (formerly lst Baptist) for 43 years. During that time, he served faithfully in various positions, including moderator, trustee, deacon, Sunday School superintendent, director of King’s Sons, Sunday School teacher and as a greeter. He was also chairman of the board of Albany Private School and PTA president.

During early retirement years, he and Patty wintered in Yuma, Arizona, for eighteen years. As a Gideon, he worked with missionaries and pastors across the border. While in Mexico, they distributed thousands of Bibles, supplied reading materials, solar radios, construction materials, medical equipment and aided in installing a Christian radio station. They also were involved in building a church in Tabasco. Del had a love for giving out God’s Word. He so enjoyed going to colleges and schools, giving out free particular to interested students at Linn Benton Community College.

Del had an indomitable spirit and intense will to get the job done, while enjoying life to its fullest. He was known as a man of good ethics and integrity. He never met a stranger and was known to have a keen sense of humor.

He enjoyed fishing, hunting and camping with family and friends. His hobbies included RVing, wood carving, reading and crossword puzzles.

Del's family will forever remember him as “Darling” husband, father and grandpa. Del is survived by Patty, his wife of sixty-six years; daughter Deleen Wills (Mark) of Salem; sons, Mark of Vancouver, WA. and Bruce (Renee) of Tangent; eight darling grandchildren: Jennifer Riley, Becky (Josh) Moyes, Kate (Matt) Boase, Holly Riley, and Caleb Riley all of Albany, and Kelly (Darren) Larson of Bothell, WA, Brent Riley of Lebanon and Nathan (Kari) Riley of Bend.

Del was preceded in death by his parents, and three sisters; Patricia Berg of Newport, Colleen Krug of West Linn and and Joyce Ricketts of Walnut Creek, California.

The family wishes to thank and recognize the special care and love given by the staff of Evergreen Hospice and employees of the Veterans’ Home.

He has taken his bright candle and is gone
Into another room I cannot find,
But you can tell where he has been
By all the little lights he leaves behind.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, September 22, 2018, 11 a.m. at Willamette Community Church, 420 3rd Avenue SE, Albany, Oregon.

The family requests memorial donations be made to: Gideons International, Albany Camp, P.O Box 4, Albany, OR 97322; Willamette Community Church, 420 3rd Avenue SE, Albany, OR 97321; or Samaritan Evergreen Hospice, 1046 6th Avenue SW, Albany, OR 97321.

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