Mary Jane Riley

Mary Jane Riley

July 26, 1923 - July 29, 2009

Mary Jane Riley

July 26, 1923 - July 29, 2009


Mary Jane Parkin Riley

Mary Jane Parkin Riley, 86 of Mission Viejo, died July 29 at Silverado Senior Living in San Juan Capistrano after a battle with cancer.

Born in Kansas and Raised in Chicago, Ill., Mary was married to the late Walter C. Riley, Jr., and was the mother of four adoring children: Walter C. Riley, III., 60, of Palatine, Ill; Carol Riley, 58, of San Clemente; Ellen Sloan, 54, of Mission Viejo and Janet Riley Mazariegos, 44, of Silver Spring, Md. She is also survived by her elder sister Eileen Parkin Kelley, 89, of Arlington Heights, Ill. She had five grandchildren: Erin Riley McCleary, 33, of Minneapolis , Minn., Sean Riley, 27, of McHenry, Ill.; Katelyn Sloan, 15, of Mission Viejo; Riley Mazariegos, 12, of Silver Spring, Md., and Aran Mazariegos, 9, of Silver Spring, Md.

She is a 1941 graduate of St. Gregory’s High School in Chicago, where she performed in school plays and was a guard on the high school basketball team. Her senior photo described her in this way: ‘A mirthquake of laughter. Raven tresses hiding elusive shades of darkest blue.’

Mary has resided in Mission Viejo since 1979. She has been an active member of St. Kilian’s Catholic Church and its Good Samaritan Program. She also was a daily mass attendee and led rosaries on Fridays. An active golfer, Mary accomplished something that few golfers can claim: two holes in one in her lifetime, one of which occurred within weeks of her husband’s death at the same hole where he had his own hole in one. She also played in several bridge clubs.

A gracious entertainer and cook, Mary was known for her hand-cut noodles, her rum cakes baked for anyone who showed her a kindness and for her therapeutic chicken soups, delivered to any ill friends or family. She was also known as a loyal, 30-year fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and for her tendency to speak of Magic, Shaq and Kobe as if they were her own sons. Her family has speculated that her cheers and armchair coaching contributed to the Lakers’ 2009 Championship win, an event that she was thrilled to witness in the last year of her life.

Mary lived on a magical street called Cordero Lane, where neighbors were one, big extended family. Thirty years worth of the Lane’s residents called her a dear friend and some adopted her as a surrogate mother and grandmother when relatives were not near. Friends of her grandchildren remarked ‘She’s the kind of Grandma we all wish we had.’

Her warm smile and green, twinkled eyes brought joy to the faces of her family and her loving caregivers at Silverado until the moment of her death. Mary and her family were especially grateful to her lead caregiver Joana Yamoah, whose tender care, hugs and kisses were a great source of comfort to her and the entire family.

A wake will be held at O’Connor Mortuary, 25301 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills on Friday evening, July 31, from 7-9 p.m. A prayer and memorial will held at 7:30 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Kilian’s Catholic Church, 26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo, Saturday, August 1 at 10 a.m.

Donations in her memory may be sent to Mission Hospital Foundation, 27700 Medical Center Road, Mission Viejo, CA 92691 or Silverado Foundation 27123 Calle Arroyo, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675.

The Riley Family wishes to extend its deepest appreciation to friends, family, neighbors and colleagues who have shown such immense love and support during this difficult time.

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40 responses to Mary Jane Riley

  1. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. May the wonderful memories you have help you through this sad time.

  2. Anne Ellett says:

    Ellen – my heart is with you and your family at this time of your Mother’s passing. The love from your family filled your Mother’s room in San Juan and so many of Silverado’s associates have said how much they will miss her. God Bless.

  3. My prayers are with your family
    Mary…and their immense loss.
    I did not personally know you Mary,
    but I did know you through my sister Elpidia and she expressed such caring affection. You were always in my prayers.
    What a beautiful place you are in now and I will meet you there one day. Blessings, Carmen Ekblad

  4. Janet,
    My heartfelt condolences on the passing of your mother. I never knew her, of course, but knowing her daughter, she must have been a wonderful person. Remember her fondly; it is the greatest gift in so many ways, and one she would appreciate the most. Best wishes, Dan

  5. Mrs. riley was such a special person that no words are adequate. We are saddened for everyone’s loss. She was truly a great and inpirational woman, and so many of us will miss her. She will always be with our family. I have so many fond memories of Mr. and Mrs. Riley and will always cherish them. Our deepest condolences to everyone in her family.

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