Last Thursday, Wallingford suffered a tragic loss when two of its longtime residents, Dan and Rose Riley, died from injuries sustained after their car hit a tree on N. 34th St. at Burke Avenue N. If you were in the neighborhood around 12:30pm, you probably heard the news helicopters flying overhead and heard the emergency vehicles heading south. The Rileys were taken to Harborview Medical Center and later died within hours of one another.
According to the obituary in The Seattle Times, the Rileys had been together for 64 years, married in 1948, and raised seven children. Prior to their meeting, both served in World War II, with Rose as a nurse for the U.S. Army, stationed in England during D-Day, and Dan stationed on Army bases and working with prisoners of war.
Rose continued nursing and worked at Swedish Hospital until they married. Dan worked for Seattle Public Schools as a high school teacher for Ballard High, and then as Director of Student Placement until he retired in 1982. Nancy Bartley of The Seattle Times also wrote that Dan was instrumental in ramping up the district’s busing program in the 1970s with the goal to “achieve racial balance in the schools.”
According to Bartley, the Rileys were longtime residents of Wallingford, living in a Craftsman home they had purchased for $14,000. Over time, they enlarged the two-bedroom home to accomodate their family.
A funeral mass will be held for the Rileys at St. Benedict’s this Saturday at 11:00AM. In lieu of flowers, remembrances can be made to St. Benedict School.
This is the kind of story that sticks with you for days and days because there’s something so bittersweet about how they died; so tragic, and yet they were together during their final moments. I didn’t know the Rileys personally, but my sincerest condolences go to their family and friends.