Fred J. Riley, age 89, passed away peacefully in Holland, MI, on Friday, January 24, surrounded by his children and their spouses. Fred was born in Hart, MI, on September 20, 1930, to Clayton and Flora Riley, the fourth of five siblings. He grew up on the family fruit farm and attended Mears Methodist Church, Mears elementary school, and Hart high school, where he lettered in football and basketball. Fred was proud to be from Mears and loved returning to visit the family farm, especially in his later years.
After graduation, Fred followed his brother Stan to Michigan State College in 1948 where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in horticultural sciences. While at Michigan State, Fred was in the ROTC and was later commissioned to Japan during the Korean War. Fred often said his days at Michigan State were some of his most memorable; he met lifelong friends and his dear wife Fran, and remained a steadfast Spartan fan for life, attending MSU football and basketball games until last year.
Fred married Frances Ann Luehmann on June 10, 1961, and together they enjoyed living in Hart, Michigan; Kennebunk, Maine; and Fremont, Michigan, their home for 35 years. They were also summer residents of Pentwater for over 50 years. Fred enjoyed a long career in agricultural chemical sales and real estate, selling property at Silver Lake, Bass Lake Shores, and in retirement for Coldwell Banker in Pentwater.
Always up for an adventure, Fred enjoyed many outside activities throughout his life. He was an avid downhill skier, starting from childhood at Russel’s Ridge in Hart to Whistler, British Columbia in his 70’s; he ran the Boston Marathon three times as well as many local races into his 60’s. Fred had boundless energy for his children and 5 active grandsons, always ready to toss a football, shoot a hoop, drive a golf ball, captain a fishing boat, play cribbage, sing a song or read a story. He and Fran enjoyed many winters as “snowbirds” in Orange Beach, AL, where they met many new friends and connected with old friends from Hart and Fremont. He was a longtime member of the Fremont and Pentwater Methodist Churches, the Fremont Lion’s Club and the Pentwater Yacht Club.
Above all, Fred was an exceptional husband, father, grandfather and brother. He will be deeply missed by his 3 children and their spouses, Amy Loew (Dave), Jim Riley (Kaarli) and Dave Riley (Dana); grandsons Riley and Parker Loew, and Benjamin, Nathan and Isaac Riley. Fred was preceded in death by Fran, his wife of 55 years; parents Clayton and Flora Riley; father-in-law and mother-in-law George and Anni Luehmann; sister-in-law Elinore Cowdrey (Doug); sister Margaret Schrumpf (Tom); brother Stanley Riley and sister-in-law Wilma Riley. He is survived by brother John Riley, sister-in-law Carol Riley, sister Grace Simmons (Earl), sister-in-law Margaret Barnes (Richard), and numerous nieces and nephews.
Fred’s family would like to thank the staff at American House Holland, Baypointe Building and Holland Hospice for the loving care they gave to Fred.
A graveside memorial service will be held at the Mears Cemetery on Friday, June 26, at 2 pm, followed by a celebration of Fred’s life at his beloved Bass Lake cottage. Memorials may be made to the Fremont Lion’s Club, PO Box 115, Fremont, MI, 49412.
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