Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Robert “Jack” Riley

Thursday, July 11, 2024
Robert “Jack” Riley

Robert “Jack” Riley passed away July 4, 2024.

Services to remember Jack and celebrate his life will be held on Saturday, July 13, at 10 a.m. at First Methodist Church, 102 N. 2nd St. in Temple.

Jack was born July 12, 1930, in Hamilton, to Robert “Bob” and Kate Riley. He had a wonderful upbringing in Hamilton surrounded by a large family and an abundance of friends. He played a lot of sports and was a proud Hamilton Bulldog.

After high school, Jack proudly served in the United States Navy. He enjoyed many interesting posts including Guam and San Diego. San Diego might have been his favorite post as he played baseball for the Navy there. He often told stories of the baseball games and of some players that he played with and against that ended up in the Major Leagues. But baseball was just for fun. He was very proud to have done his part during the Korean War.

He also conducted Sunday worship services aboard the USS Magoffin.

After the Navy, Jack moved home to Hamilton where he married Edna Estelle Raibourn on Christmas Day 1952. Jack and Edna raised three children during their 67-year marriage, which ended with Edna’s death in 2018. Jack and Edna attended McMurray College together, and Jack subsequently went to seminary at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.

Jack served many communities in many churches, all in Texas: Hamilton, Trent, Godley, Springtown, Bangs, Granbury, Cleburne, Haltom City, Corsicana and Temple, to name a few. He also served as District Superintendent in Brownwood. Throughout his career, he held several influential posts in the Central Texas Conference and was a delegate to the General Conference of the United Methodist Church.

In addition to his work as a pastor, he also served on many hospital boards and university boards. In 1978, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Texas Wesleyan University.

There are several things that stand out about the contributions Jack made during his career. One example is that he was a church growth agent. Every church he served grew substantially in membership, attendance and giving. As a result, Jack presided over many building projects at the churches he served, from building new parking lots to building new buildings and sanctuaries to building entirely new churches.

Jack officially retired from his role as a church pastor in 1993. Retirement didn’t last long though. Very quickly he took on the responsibility to manage the Retired Methodist Preachers Homes program. Then he went back to “building and growing” a church. He and Edna decided to start a new Methodist Church in the community of Morgan’s Point. Today that church is thriving in the community and is known as Foundation Church.

In their late 70s, Jack and Edna moved to Marfa for one final church leadership post where Jack served as pastor at the Methodist Church. After that assignment, Jack and Edna moved back to Temple.

Both Jack and Edna prided themselves on not only being leaders in the church, but also in the communities in which they lived and served. Jack found ways to bring different community organizations and generations together. As soon as they moved to a new community, Jack would begin attending sports practices at the local high school. He would get to know the coaches and volunteer to assist. He loved all sports, and he loved youth. In addition to the sports teams, he would also get to know the school choir directors and band directors. The student singers and musicians would often be invited to perform in the church on Sundays and at special events. In this way, Jack was constantly growing the church, keeping it youthful and vibrant, and touching many lives – both young and old.

Jack was a pastor, a Christian, a patriotic citizen, a political activist, a storyteller, an artist and an art lover. He loved to travel. Last year he called his son and daughter to say that he was going to Sanderson. When they asked why he wanted to go there, he simply answered, “I’ve never been there.” Jack wanted to go everywhere!

Most importantly, Jack was a loving son to Bob and Kate Riley, loving husband to Edna, loving brother to five sisters, and a loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather. He had the honor of baptizing his youngest two great-great-grandchildren in April of this year.

Jack is survived by his son, Robert Riley of Temple; his daughter, Michelle Williams and her husband Steve of Spring Branch; eight grandchildren including spouses; nine great-grandchildren; seven great-great-grandchildren; a sister; and many nieces and nephews and their families.

Jack was predeceased by his parents, his wife Edna, his daughter Lynn Riley, and four sisters.

In lieu of flowers, the family invites you to contribute in the name of Dr. Jack Riley to Methodist Children’s Home. Online donations, donate, mail, 1111 Herring Avenue, Waco, TX 76708, phone, 800-853-1272.