Mary's Story

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Mary S. Riley, 93, of Chazy, passed away on Feb. 19th. She was the daughter of Blake and Belle Spilman of Hailesboro, N.Y.
She met her husband-to-be, Bernard, as a freshman at Gouverneur High School. It was love at first sight. Always an honor student, she attended Albany Business School and went on to work for the FBI in NYC and Washington, DC., where she was taught that information should be given out on a 'need-to-know-basis'. Her family will attest to the fact that this was an art she cultivated for the rest of her life.
With WWII in progress and Bernard enlisted in the Army Air Force, she and her soul mate married in Amherst, Massachusetts on May 6, 1944. Military life took them to many locations but the one she spoke of most often was Yuma, AZ, where they cultivated wonderful friendships and played a great deal of bridge.
After the war they lived in Canton, N.Y. while Bernard finished his graduate studies. They then moved to Chazy, N.Y. where they remained together until Bernard passed away March 28, 1999.
In 1962, with 4 children enrolled in Chazy School, Mary's intellectual curiosity led her to SUNY Plattsburgh, where she became a first time college student. She graduated with honors and a degree in History. She then attended SUNY Albany, where she completed her Masters in Library Science. Thus began a love affair with books; primarily history books and always non-fiction. She was happiest with three or four books next to her chair, a book in her lap, and the view of her gardens, birds flying in and out of her birdhouses, and the Great Chazy River ambling by.
She was honored to serve as a board member of the Alice T. Miner Museum and as a member of the Friends of the Library and the New York Library Association.
She leaves behind her children, Mary Ellen Riley of Saratoga Springs, Martha Levy (William Levy) of Plattsburgh, John Riley (Becky Hubbell) of Davidson, N.C. and James Riley (Sue Lezon) of Chazy; her grandsons, of whom she was very proud, Brooks Riley of Davidson, N.C., Simon Levy (Katie Lawrence Levy) of San Francisco, Calif., and Jesse Riley (Melinda Freeman) of Greensboro, N.C. Also surviving are her many nieces and nephews and her favorite cousins, fondly referred to as the Easter Peeps for their pastel clothing choices; Nettie, Lou, Minnie and Ellen as well as Joan and Jean. She has now joined her cousin Marge in the great hereafter.
The family invites all who knew her to join them in celebrating Mary's life at the Alice T. Miner Museum in Chazy, Saturday, Feb. 24th, from 1 to 3pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Chazy Public Library or Alice T. Miner Museum.
Published on February 20, 2018
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