Harold (Harry) Riley was born on September 8, 1943 in the middle of World War II. His dad, Harold (Pat) Riley, was training in the Army Air pilot program in Pennsylvania therefore his mom, Vera May Riley, and Harry lived with her parents Virgil and Ines Folsom (Granddad and Grannie) until Pat returned from the military in 1946. Harry’s little brother David was born in 1947. They grew up on Poplar Street in Sapulpa in front of Sugar Loaf Hill where they enjoyed playing with all the kids of the neighborhood throughout their childhood. The boys and Granddad and Grannie joined his parents at their watermelon stand and, later, at Riley’s Root Beer Stand.
Harry excelled in math and science and went to both the State and the National Math and Science Camp the summer before his senior year. After graduating from Sapulpa in 1961, Harry went to OSU where he was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and graduated in chemistry in 1966. Harry married Julia Miller in 1965, after she had chased him, successfully, for 10 years.
Harry was a Distinguished Military Graduate and was commissioned into the Regular Army. Harry and Julia spent the next two years in Germany where he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. In Germany they lived with the Germans, became fluent in the language and developed an abiding love for the people. Harry then served in Vietnam in 1968/1969. When Harry returned to the states, he went to the University of Missouri, Columbia and graduated with his MBA in December 1971.
In his first “real” job, Harold was a member of the Monsanto group and perfected the use of computer modeling in business in St Louis. In 1973 Harold and Julia’s life changed. The Lord Jesus took over their lives and from that point they followed the Lamb, first to Chicago, then to Oklahoma City where they were blessed to adopt their two sons Harold (Hal) and Joshua. After 12 years, they moved back to the Chicago area for 20 years then to Houston, Kenosha, WI, Milwaukee, Stillwater, and, finally, Sapulpa. Upon retirement, Harold and Julia went to the Living Stream Ministry Full time middle aged training in Anaheim for a year before serving with Christians on Campus on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus and finally his beloved Oklahoma State University.
Harold’s greatest joy was being with his 2 sons, participating and cheering them on in all their endeavors….baseball, soccer, football, wrestling, tae kwon do, climbing and repelling off mountains, spelunking, camping, fishing, swimming; even though he was fearful of heights and tight spaces and cared little for sports. He watched them grow and encouraged them to be the best of humans. He deeply loved them and his wife.
Harold also was happy to share the Lord with any who would listen, to lead ones to take the Lord into their spirit and to shepherd them to grow in Christ by reading His word, praying, and calling on the Lord’s name. He and Julia opened their home for young Christian women to live with them. Harold and Julia cherished each one of the young women and prayed for them constantly.
Harold died in the family home in Sapulpa on May 20, 2020, succumbing to frontotemporal dementia exacerbated by chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He will be missed by Julia, Hal and his daughter Kiera, Joshua and his wife Nicky and daughter Marcy, his brother David Riley and wife Jill, his brother-in-law Lyle Miller and wife Virginia, his sister-in-law Sara Lea Clary (Cupcake) and husband David, and many nephews and nieces.
Graveside services will be at South Heights Cemetery, Sapulpa, OK on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, at 2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution in Harold’s name to the Lord’s Move to Europe. Make the checks payable to: The church in Anaheim/LME, P.O. Box 9107, Anaheim, CA 92812 USA. LME was Harold’s favorite place to contribute because he never lost his heart for the Germans.