McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK


February 26, 2013

Riley Church

McALESTER — Riley Church, 79, died Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013.

Memorial services will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Bishop Chapel of Memories. Arrangements are under the direction of Bishop Funeral Service of McAlester.

Born Aug. 21, 1933, in Antlers, he was the son of Robert Riley and Annie Elizabeth Church. Following a few years in California, most of his youth was spent in Antlers where he was named All-District tackle for his high school team.

Relocation to Maysville in 1951 brought him together with his wife-to-be, Jimmie Lee Smith. After graduating from Maysville High School in 1952, he attended Southeastern Oklahoma State College of Durant, where he graduated in 1956.

He earned his Master’s at East Central State College in Ada in 1961. His graduate work followed in Secondary Administration at Oklahoma University in 1961 and Western State University in Gunnison, Colo. in 1963.

His teaching and coaching career began at Elmore City in 1956 and he served as principal from 1960 to 1963. In Grand Valley he became one of Colorado’s youngest superintendents.

In 1966, he returned to Oklahoma to become a counselor for the state of Oklahoma Department of Vocational Rehabilitative Services and was promoted to Supervisor, Unit 18 in McAlester until retirement in 1992.

He served on several boards and committees and was awarded varied citations for service to the state of Oklahoma. Among them was one presented by former Governor George Nigh, stating simply: “Riley Church, You Done Real Good!”

He was an avid outdoorsman. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and planning for the upcoming season.

Survivors include his wife, Jimmie; his son, Brent, and wife, Debbie, of Tulsa; daughter, Valerie Church and partner, Barbara, of Krebs; daughters, Shannon, of Ada, and daughter, Jayme Starkey and husband, Hank, of McAlester.

Also, grandchildren, Brad Busby, and Lora Busby and fiancé, Joey Young; one great-granddaughter, Peyton Young; stepgrandsons, Brandon, Talon and Bristow Starkey.

And, brothers, George Church and wife, Lillian, Sherman, Texas, and Robert, of McAlester; sisters-in-law, Jackie Mulford, of Wayne, and Janice Downey and husband, Joe, Harrisonville, Mo., and numerous nieces and nephews, friends, and fellow hunter, Archie McMullen.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Riley and Annie Church; father-in-law, Tom Smith; mother-in-law, Onie Smith White, and three brothers-in-law, Valgene Smith, Charles Morphew and Cleo Mulford.

Memorials may be made to McAlester Public Schools Weekend Backpack Program, McAlester Hospice, Mercy Clinic or Boys & Girls Club.


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