Donald Leon Riley, 75, went to sleep on the evening of May 10th and in the early hours of May 11th was reunited with the love of his life, Lorraine, rekindling the love affair that had been interrupted 16 years earlier when she, too, had departed this earthly plane.
In his 75 years with us, Donnie – also known to those who loved him as “Daddy”, “Pop” and “Paw-Paw” – touched so many family and friends with his goodness, generosity, and quiet warmth. Never one to waste a lot of words, Donnie chose instead to show those around him his love through his actions and caring deeds, helping out whenever he could in whatever way he could without asking for anything in return and never expecting or seeking praise for his assistance.
One of the ways Donnie helped out so many was by repairing their cars, appliances and household items. Trained as mechanic, there was virtually nothing Donnie couldn’t fix. And there wasn’t much he couldn’t drive, either. After years of working professionally as an auto mechanic, Donnie eventually changed careers and went to work for Overnite Transportation. Ultimately, Donnie would drive for Overnite for more than 30 years. When he retired, he was recognized by the company for logging over a million miles and for accumulating an amazing 22 years without an accident.
Those of us fortunate enough to know and spend time with Donnie will be forever blessed with the memory of his great heart, bright smile, and hearty cackle when tickled. We will remember the simple things that brought him pleasure, like his fishing trips with his lifelong friend Morris Cartwright. Or sitting around talking about cars and shooting the breeze with Donnie Rakes, another lifelong friend. Or settling in on Sunday afternoons to watch that week’s NASCAR race and cheer on his favorite driver, Jeff Gordon. After Gordon retired, Donnie’s new favorite became whichever driver won him the pool he and his buddies kicked into for the weekly race.
Most of all, Donnie enjoyed the company of his family and friends. Nothing seemed to please Donnie more than to be surrounded by those he cared about and who cared about him. As his family grew through the years, he became especially fond of the company of his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and his Boxer, Rocky.
Besides his beloved Lorraine – his wife of 40 years -- and treasured Boxer, Rocky, Donnie was preceded to Heaven by his parents Leon and May Riley; and sister Patsy and husband, Tommy Smith.
Among the many remaining who will keep Donnie’s memory bright and alive are his brother Leon and wife, Wanda Riley, of Glen Burnie, MD; brother, Harvey and wife, Becky Riley ,of Salem; sister, Dorothy and husband, Bev Rakes, of Stewartsville; daughter, Robin Foster, of Roanoke; daughter, Loretta Hale and fiancé, Russ Adams, of Gainesville, FL; son, Donnie Jr. and fiancée Sandy Gilley, of Buchanan; and foster daughter, JoAnn and husband, Chris Criscione, of Roanoke, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Also surviving are grandchildren, Sherri and husband, Greg Creasy, of Vinton, Kristy and husband, Daniel King, of Roanoke, Brandon Riley, of Salem, Amber and husband Travis Ratcliffe, of Christiansburg, Kendra Foster, of Brookfield, MO, Christopher Hale , of Vinton, Keith Hale , of Roanoke, Heather Ward , of Troutville, Emily Ross and Brandon Jordan, of Buchanan, Shane Ross, of Buchanan, Sierra Byrd, of Buchanan, Reagan Myles, of Roanoke; 17 great-grandchildren; and special great niece, Amanda Riley-White, of Roanoke.
Funeral services will be conducted at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at Lotz Salem Chapel. Interment will follow in Old Dominion Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at the funeral home.