William (Bill) Francis Riordan passed away on Monday, November 16, 2020 after a short illness. His wife and children were able to be by his side when he passed. Bill is survived by his wife, Jocelyn Ruebel, daughters Cindy, Carol, and Stacy, son John, and wife Jessica. Bill had three granddaughters, Carson Kavathas, Sarah Gavaldon and Scottie Riordan, whom he adored and two grandsons, Dustin and Ty Davis. Bill is also survived by three of his brothers, Jim, Richard and Terry and a sister Mary Ellen. He was preceded in death by his parents, Bernard and Helen Riordan and older brother, Bob.
Bill was born in Wichita, Kansas on Wednesday, March 26, 1941. His father worked for TWA and in 1948, he was transferred to Albuquerque. Bill always considered Albuquerque his hometown. He attended Highland High School and received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from UNM in 1965 and a Juris Doctorate Degree from UNM Law School in 1968.
Bill began his law career by working as a Legal Aid Attorney with the Legal Aid Society in Albuquerque. In 1969, Bill served as an Assistant District Attorney in Bernalillo County. He also served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of New Mexico the following year. From 1972-1978, Bill had his own private practice in which he handled commercial law, personal injury, and trial litigation. In 1978, Bill was selected by the Second Judicial District Judiciary to serve as a Children’s Court Judge.
Bill was elected to the New Mexico Supreme Court in 1980. He was selected in 1986 to serve as Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court. After leaving the Supreme Court in 1987, Bill was asked to be the Acting Secretary of Corrections for New Mexico by then Governor, Garry Carruthers.
Bill was again in private practice from 1987 to 1992 and 1994-2001. His practice was primarily representation of numerous state and local government agencies under contract with the New Mexico Risk Management Department.
Bill also served as the first Independent Counsel for the City of Albuquerque from 1987-1990. In 2001, Bill developed a successful mediation/arbitration practice and he remained in practice until his death.
Bill was a devoted father, friend and husband. Bill had a passion for the law and doing the right thing. He was one of a kind. Bill also loved Hot Rods and would travel around the country to car shows whenever his schedule would permit. He could talk for hours about cars and the adventures he had with his own Hot Rods. He will be missed. Rest in Peace. Court is adjourned.
Due to the current Covid 19 pandemic, there will be no funeral services. Cremation has taken place. His family and friends are planning a celebration of Bill’s amazing life in the spring of 2021 when conditions are safe for people to gather. Donations in Bill’s memory may be made to the charity of your choice.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William Francis (Bill) Riordan, please visit our floral store.