WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — Evelyn Kathryn Weathers Riley of Wrightsville Beach, N.C., passed away at home “warm in her bed” very early the morning of Oct. 18, 2016. Evelyn suffered from congestive heart failure but was never in pain and enjoyed all the visits from family and friends over the last several months.
Survivors include daughter Kathy Riley Dole of Raleigh, N.C., and son L. Randy Riley and wife Jeanie of Short Hills, N.J. Also surviving are five grandchildren: Scott and Evie (named after her Grandmother) Dole, and Graham, Rex and Jud Riley. She absolutely adored them all and they her.
Other survivors include many nieces and nephews whom she so loved as well other relatives, friends, and her devoted care-givers. She was preceded in death by her husband of 55 years, Les Riley, who passed away 11-plus years ago.
Evelyn was born at Panther Branch, Wake County, N.C. on April 5, 1925, to Mal Vernon and Minnie May Weathers. She was preceded in death by her seven sisters and brothers: Beulah Schoof, Myrtle Kearins, Rachel Horton, Lucille Pollard, and Vernon, Charlie and Bobby Weathers.
Evelyn’s Mother died when she was 12; while difficult for a young girl, it helped to create an incredible bond among the siblings in addition to fostering in Evelyn a willingness to work hard and adapt.
She attended college in Raleigh, N.C. and then worked at NC State. She adored Randolph Hill, one of the professors who she worked for, and named her son after Ms. Hill. In Raleigh she met Les Riley, originally from Burlington, N.C.; the two were married in 1949. Soon after, Les, a USAF pilot, was stationed in Manila, Philippines where he flew intelligence missions during the Korean conflict. Evelyn joined him in the Philippines, where they created great friendships that would last for life and where the first child, Randy, was born.
Back from the war, Les attended UNC’s Graduate Business School and then over the next many years created a successful business career. Evelyn stayed focused on raising two children and supported Les through numerous corporate promotions to different areas of the country. With each move she worked hard to contribute to communities, often volunteering in her children’s schools. Numerous photos and awards around the Riley house are testament to her civic contributions.
In the second half of her life and after her children were grown and away from home, Evelyn was proud to offer even more time to church and civic organizations. She loved being an Elder at the Central Presbyterian Church of Summit, N.J. Evelyn was very spiritual. Being a Church Elder was a responsibility which she took seriously and cherished.
When Les and Evelyn moved to Winston-Salem in the early 1980s, both found a real calling as leaders of the famed Crosby Golf Tournament. More recently, Evelyn, Randy and Kathy established a Crosby Scholarship, the Les and Evelyn Crosby Scholarship. Each year, a Crosby Scholar receives educational support via the scholarship.
She particularly enjoyed her time and efforts at The Children’s Center where she was president of the board and had a room dedicated in her honor. In later years, she liked recounting the memories of the good work she did for the center.
In Winston Salem, Les and Evelyn were recognized for their outstanding volunteer leadership with numerous awards including the United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society award for outstanding volunteer leadership and Sara Lee Corporation’s “Community Service Leadership Award.”
Evelyn and Les moved in 1993 to Wrightsville Beach upon Les’s retirement from Sara Lee. They thoroughly enjoyed all the friends they made at the Country Club of Landfall over the last many years. Importantly, the children and grandchildren have so many lovely memories of visiting and playing golf with their Grandfather and Grandmother there.
A memorial service celebrating her life was held on Saturday, Oct. 22, at Little Chapel on the Boardwalk, Wrightsville Beach, N.C., of which she was a member.Evelyn’s was a life well-led. She will be missed but has taught so many the tenets of how to lead such a life.
Memorials may be sent in memory of Evelyn W. Riley to The Children’s Center, 2315 Coliseum Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27106 or to Crosby Scholars, 2701 University Parkway Winston-Salem, NC 27105.