Cover photo for Judith Riley's Obituary
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1938 Judith A. Riley 2024

Judith Riley

August 1, 1938 — February 15, 2024

Judith A. Riley, resident of Corrales, NM and originally of Peabody and Reading, Massachusetts, passed away February 15, 2024 at the age of 85.

Judy was born Judith Ann Ellison in Beverly, MA on August 1, 1938, the eldest of two children born to the late William M. and Sarah E. (Hammond) Ellison. She is survived by her son, Todd Riley of Peabody, MA, daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth & Christopher Medina of Corrales, NM, grandchildren, Cassandra & Joseph Medina, sister-in-law, Shirley Ellison, and several nieces, nephews and cousins. She was predeceased by her beloved husband of 47 years, Alan Riley, brother, Robert Ellison, nephew, David Ellison, grandson, Mateo Medina, and brothers and sisters-in-law, Janice and Anthony Van Riper and Orrin and Francine Riley.

Judy was raised in Peabody, MA and graduated from Peabody Veterans Memorial High School, class of 1956 where she was a majorette for the band. She attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she received her B.A. in Education in 1960, and Salem State College where she obtained her M. Ed. In Counseling and Guidance. Judy and Alan met as teenagers and married in 1966, settling in Reading, Massachusetts where they made their home and raised their family.

Judy taught in Burlington Public Schools until her retirement in 2004. She loved her 4th graders and gifted and talented students at Fox Hill School and Francis Wyman Elementary where she was a dedicated, beloved educator for hundreds of students, a mentor to many new teachers, and where she formed enduring friendships with so many colleagues. Outside of the classroom, Judy, along with Alan, were active members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading where they were an integral part of the church community. Judy provided countless hours of service to any committee, board or event that needed her help and boundless energy. She and Alan were longtime members of the UUCR choir and the Reading Community Singers where Judy could indulge her lifelong love of music. She so enjoyed singing with her choir and RCS "family" and was in her element on stage in countless shows and performances where her smile and energy lit up the room. Judy was also an accomplished amateur genealogist, researching and documenting centuries of ancestors in her family tree. She relished her time digging in the dirt in her garden and vacationing with family in Martha's Vineyard, her favorite "happy place".

After Alan's death in 2012, this lifelong New Englander eventually moved to New Mexico to live with Beth and her family, where she quickly made new friends and somehow managed to get by, despite not being able to find a decent cup of clam chowder or plate of fried clams. The sacrifice was worth it to her to be able to spend time with her grandchildren and watch them grow up. She bravely faced health challenges in her final years with her characteristic determination, positivity, and humor. She will be deeply missed by all of those she touched.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading, 239 Woburn St, Reading, MA 01867 on Saturday, March 30 at 11 am, with reception to follow. Private interment will be at Linwood Cemetery in Haverhill, MA.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Judith Riley, please visit our flower store.


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