Melvin Eugene Riley, 91, of Poplar Bluff, Mo., took his last earthly breath and entered the presence of Jesus on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.
Mr. Riley, the son of the late Floyd (Elza) Riley and Gertrude (Purdue) Riley, was
born September 12, 1929, near Kell, Illinois. He was a Christian, having been baptized as a teenager, in his uncle’s pond.
On April 9, 1948, he married Pansy Jewel Malone, in Mt. Vernon, Ill. They celebrated 70 years of marriage. She preceded him in death in 2019. Mr. Riley was in the Illinois National Guard from 1950-1951. In his early years, he worked the family farm, in Southern Ill. and was a mechanic by trade. His childhood dream became his passion, in 1971, when he joined the Poplar Bluff Police Reserves, soon becoming a PBPD Patrolman, followed by making Sergeant, and becoming Lieutenant in 1975. He was a Class II & III breathalyzer instructor/operator, an NRA-certified firearms instructor, and was instrumental in designing and building the shooting range, and training his fellow officers. He loved protecting and serving the citizens of Poplar Bluff. He served with kindness, honesty, integrity, and a sense of humor. He retired in 1995, spending a few years in Southern Illinois, Florida, and eventually coming back to the Poplar Bluff area, in 2006. Mr. Riley enjoyed spending time with his family, being known as Grandpa Melvin to many, telling stories, taking pilot lessons, woodworking, hunting, fishing, reloading ammo, selling customized caps, reading cowboy books, watching cowboy movies, raising rabbits, raising bees, and gardening.
Survivors include three daughters, Annette (Terry) Frazier of Poplar Bluff, Mo., Aletha (Kim) Arne of Steward, Ill., and Pamela Duckett of Jackson, Tenn., several grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.
He was also preceded in death by a son, Emmett Riley, a son-in-law, Rowland Duckett, and a grandson, Patrick Newman Behm.
Son-in-law, Terry Frazier, will be officiating a private graveside service, at the Purdue Family Cemetery, near Kell, Ill.