John Riley

John Riley was born on 4 March 1935 in Missouri Valley, Iowa. John was the 10th of 11 children born to Robert Isaiah Riley and Minnie Hazel (Pierce) Riley. John passed away Saturday, January 20, 2024 at his home.

John was united in marriage to Jeanette Isabell (Kearnes) for 62 years until her passing in 2018. Four children were born of this union.

John enlisted in the Navy during the Korean War, serving on the destroyer USS Irwin. His ship came under fire multiple times, twice sustaining significant battle damage. For his service, John earned the National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal and the Navy Occupational Service Medal.

Professionally, John held multiple jobs in his early life including working for the Rock Island Railroad. After the family relocated to California to better provide for his wife and children, he was a logistics specialist at Lockheed’s Jet Propulsion Division. His dream job, long-haul truck driving, would come after his return to MV in 1972. He would ultimately drive nearly 1 million miles accident free, a feat that made him very proud.

John was an active member of the community, rarely missing a city council meeting until his health began to decline. He was also a proud member of the Harrison County Humane Society, present at nearly all meetings and events, walking dogs, cleaning kennels, donating time and money and adopting homeless pets. He was most proud of his role as Santa Paws, donning his Santa suit for photos with all types of furry, and sometimes scaly, pets. He would laugh and say that more people in the county had photos of him than they had of the President.

John loved children, especially his great-grandchildren. He was more than willing to listen to their stories and play games with them, always accepting wet kisses and sticky hugs without complaint. They even convinced him to ride the train in the park – though he preferred to watch, saying the seats were just too hard for his skinny rear end.

John was preceded in death by his beloved wife Jeanette, his brothers Elton and Wesley and his sisters Francis, Georgia, Cecile, Flossie, Harriet, Dorothy, Emma and Hazel.

Remaining to cherish his memory are his four children Betty Coddington, Cynthia Riley, Scott Riley and Victoria Allmon (Tom); his 9 grandchildren Jeanete Kohlof, Michael Coddington, Joshua Coddington, Angela Mohn (Warren), Cassandra Dobbs, Jessica Vomund (Eddie), Jared Tharp (Alissa), Michelle Riley and Stephanie Walker (Brandon) and 10 great-grandchildren Kirk Kohlof III, Daena Dobbs, Calissa Dobbs, Audrey Vomund, Addison Vomund, Adrienne Vomund, Avery Tharp, Reagan Tharp, Michelle Riley and Adrianna Walker.

A memorial service will be held on 3 February at Hennessey-Aman Funeral Home. Visitation 1:00-2:00, service at 2:00 followed by graveside service with military honors at the Magnolia Cemetery and a light lunch at the Missouri Valley United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Harrison County Humane Society, Logan, IA.



  • Nelson Marilyn Posted January 23, 2024 12:34 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. You have been a great friend and neighbor to my Mom and Bud.over the years..

  • Rebecca Pavlik Posted January 25, 2024 5:39 pm

    Sending thoughts and prayers to all of you. John was a great man and will be missed by many.

  • Kellie Messer Posted February 2, 2024 3:12 pm

    To Vicki and family
    My sincere sympathy. I got to know John living next door to Betty. He loved his gardening…that’s where we would chat. I gardened for Betty. Peace be with you during this time of loss. John will be missed.

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