Marion W. Riley, 90: Canadian navy veteran loved swimming, family

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MEREDITH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Marion W. Riley, 90, a former longtime resident of Cumberland, died peacefully Oct. 24 at a retirement community after a period of declining health.

She was born in 1924 in St. Lambert, Quebec, and graduated from high school there. During World War II, she joined the WRENS, the women’s unit of the Royal Canadian Navy, and served in British Columbia monitoring Japanese code broadcasts.

Returning home, she attended McGill College and worked at Bell Telephone until 1952, when she decided to join friends in Maine. There she met and married A. Stephen Riley, who survives her.

Before moving to New Hampshire four years ago to be closer to family, the couple were residents of the Wildwood neighborhood of Cumberland Foreside for more than 50 years. During that time, she was active in Girl Scout programs, the Friends of Prince Memorial Library and many other neighborhood, school and community activities.

She also enjoyed travel to Russia with her journalist husband, and to Germany, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to visit their son, a member of the U.S. Foreign Service. An avid swimmer, she frequented beaches from Prince Edward Island to the Caribbean, including her Maine favorites at Popham and Scarborough. But her greatest joy was being a mother and grandmother.

Besides her husband, Riley is also survived by a daughter, Beth, and husband, Kerry J. Mattson, of Bristol, New Hampshire; a son, Stephen W. Riley, and wife, Beth, of Williamsburg, Virginia; her brother, Gerald, wife Betty and their son, Michael, of Perth, Ontario; and five grandchildren, Emily Mattson, of Norman, Oklahoma, Kelsey Mattson, of Concord, New Hampshire, Kerry R. Mattson, of Bristol, New Hampshire, Kathleen Riley, of Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Patrick Riley of Williamsburg, Virginia.

She was predeceased by her brother, Hugh, who was killed in action with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Riley’s memory may be made to the Lakes Region Visiting Nurse Association, 186 Waukewan St., Meredith, NH 03253, or to The Nature Conservancy of Maine at nature.org/maine.

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