Martha Roberta Riley obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Martha Roberta Riley

March 11, 1935 - May 14, 2017

Obituary


Martha Riley, born March 11, 1935, in Helena Montana, entered into rest May 14, 2017, in Roseville, after a prolonged bout with cancer. Martha was surrounded by her family and friends in the final days of her life.

Born Martha Roberta Lee, but nicknamed Robbie, she was adopted at birth and raised by Frank and Helen Lee, primarily in Great Falls, Montana, where she lived until graduating high school. She moved to Greeley, Colorado and received a teaching credential from Colorado State Teachers College (University of Northern Colorado). There she met her future...

Martha Riley, born March 11, 1935, in Helena Montana, entered into rest May 14, 2017, in Roseville, after a prolonged bout with cancer. Martha was surrounded by her family and friends in the final days of her life.

Born Martha Roberta Lee, but nicknamed Robbie, she was adopted at birth and raised by Frank and Helen Lee, primarily in Great Falls, Montana, where she lived until graduating high school. She moved to Greeley, Colorado and received a teaching credential from Colorado State Teachers College (University of Northern Colorado). There she met her future husband, Tom Riley, a veteran of the Korean War. They married in 1957 in Great Falls, and moved to Stockton, California. Tom taught high school and "Marti" taught elementary school until they began a family in 1958 with the first of five children.

After a brief stop in Southern California, the Riley's settled in Roseville in 1966, where Tom helped open Oakmont High School and was the varsity basketball coach. Martha loved Roseville and loved the small town feel. From the beginning, Martha was active in community groups including Camp Fire Girls, AAUW, the Roseville Urban Forest Foundation, the Northern California Power Authority and her longtime passion, the Friends of the Roseville Public Library.

Martha won a seat on the Roseville City Council in 1982, and was one of the first women, along with June Wanish, to serve on the city council. She was happy to see other women follow in her footsteps, so that Roseville has consistently had women on the council.

Martha helped lead the push for two general obligation bonds in the 1970s, to fund libraries in Roseville. These efforts, along with a thirty year commitment to the Friends of the Library, led her many friends to push for the naming of a new library in Roseville after Martha. Thanks to these efforts the Martha Riley Library was dedicated in 2007. Martha was most proud of how the library became such a widely used resource for her community.

She is preceded in death by her husband Tom (2004). She is survived by her children Mike Riley of Roseville, Helen Derksen and husband Scott of El Dorado Hills, Maureen Dumas and husband Lawrence of Roseville, Tom Riley of Seattle, and Elise Newton and husband Doug of San Jose. She was most proud of her grandchildren, Claire, Natalie, and Grace Derksen, Hannah and Ben Dumas, Madeline, Jack, Cameron, and Blake Newton.

Martha had many, many friends in Roseville, nurtured over decades. She enjoyed vacationing in Lake Tahoe, reading murder mysteries, and "managing" her children. She enjoyed watching sports on TV and would occasionally be moved to raise her voice. She liked local politics and did not lack for opinions. She was funny, witty, self deprecating, and wise. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her.

The Riley family would like to express their sincere thanks to the team of angels who took such great care of our mom including Dr. Lisa Law, Kaiser Hospice, Janice, China, Eydie, and Mareta.

A celebration of Martha's life will be held at the Martha Riley Library on Saturday, June 3rd from 11AM to 2PM.

Donations may be made to the Friends of the Roseville Public Library, P.O. Box 232, Roseville California, 95678.