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NATICK – Eugene (Gene) P. Riley, affectionately known as the “Mayor of Harwood Road,” passed peacefully on Monday July 4, 2022, surrounded by his wife Marie and loved ones. 

A resident of Natick for over 65 years, Gene’s 94 years were full of family, friendships, service and joy.  Blessed with the Irish gift of gab, an engaging smile, humor, warmth & unyielding positivity, he loved to meet new people, hear their stories, debate current events and share a moment. Gene enjoyed good food, could carry a tune and loved a competitive card game. 

Graduating from Suffolk University in 1951, Gene went on to a long successful career in sales. Having started locally, he went on to years in international sales, traveling to 6 continents selling medical equipment, relishing it all.

For the last 25 years he was a well-liked and trusted realtor. 

Col. Riley graduated from Commander and General Staff College in 1971 and proudly served for over 30 years in the National Guard and Army Reserves, retiring as Commander of the 351st General Hospital at Hanscom Air Force Base.  

He volunteered for many charities over the years, with a special place in his heart for the Cerebral Palsy Telethon.  Mostly, he appreciated the gift of being with people. He took great joy in visiting friends and neighbors alike, especially those who were ill.  Gene took great pride in and valued the life-long friendships made and he will be greatly missed by many.

The Riley Clan stands in heartfelt gratefulness for this man of faith, dignity and honor. His legacy is one of generosity of self.  Gene leaves behind his beloved wife Marie Denn Riley after 69 years of marriage. He was a devoted Dad to Kathy, Michael, Patrick and Kevin.  Known as “Boppy” he delighted in entertaining his 15 grandchildren and his eight great grandchildren. “Uncle Gene” had a special relationship with his many nieces and nephews.   He was pre-deceased by his cherished and beloved daughter Karen Riley Bayley, son in-law Joe Ratcliffe, and his siblings John, Mildred, Adele and Patricia.

Services will be held at a later date. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests you consider donations to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Memphis Tennessee or Shriners Hospital Boston.

Gene’s final words of prayer were: “Be Kind to everyone. I pray for everyone to be kind to each other.”

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.