Death of Mr. John S. Riley

20 February 1945 The Tumut and Adelong Times

Prominent Tumut Sportsman

As briefly recorded in our last issue, the death occurred suddenly at the Cootamundra greyhound races on Wednesday afternoon last of Mr. John S. Riley, one of Tumut's most prominent sportsman and a valued member of the Tumut Butter Factory staff for the past 20 years. 

Happy in the possession of a host of friends (there are few men who enjoy such wide popularity among his fellows as did the late Jack Riley), his passing caused shock and sorrow in many places.

He was 42 years of age. Mr. Riley, accompanied by his wife, was attending the Cootamundra greyhound races last Wednesday and just prior to the commencement of the last race complained of a severe pain in his chest.

After being assisted to the secretary's office he was attended to by Dr. Cowdroy, of Cootamundra, who was on the ground.

He appeared to rally and, stating he was feeling much better, gave his wife some money to put on a dog in the next race.

Mrs. Riley reluctantly left him for a few minutes, but on her hurried return Mr. Riley had passed away. He died whilst sitting on a chair. 

The subject of this obituary was the elder son of the late Mr. M. Riley and of Mrs. Riley of Hamilton, Newcastle, where he was born.

He gained his Intermediate Certificate at Maitland High School and from there he went on to Hawkesbury Agricultural College, where he qualified as a cream grader and tester.

Excelling at all classes of sport - football, tennis, cricket and foot running - he was presented with a cup in 1921 as a memento of his elevation to champion athlete of Hawkesbury College.   

Having graduated as a grader and tester, he secured a position in that capacity at the Wingham Butter Factory, later coming to Tumut, where he   has been foreman cream grader and tester at the local factory of the Tumut Co-operative Dairy Co. Ltd. for the past 20 years. 

It was his sporting activities and his love for sport in every shape and form by which Tumut came to hold him in such high esteem.

A big man (he weighed just on 19st.) with a big, generous heart was the late Jack Riley. 

Shortly after his arrival in Tumut he threw himself into football, cricket and tennis activities with tremendous vigour.

He was one of the outstanding members of Tumut's Maher Cup football team in the latter 1920's, whilst his prowess on the tennis courts and as a wielder of the willow was phenomenal. 

His sporting versatility did not end here. Golf claimed his attention for a time and for the past few years, not being able to take such an active part in vigorous sport, had taken a very keen interest in horse and dog racing.

He was appointed to the committee of the Tumut Turf Club two years ago and was a valued member of the club.

He took a prominent part in greyhound racing and visited many Riverina greyhound traces with his dogs, and was well known as the trainer of Bonnie Jude and Flying Skipton. 

Deceased married Miss Leila Hassett, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Hassett sr., Grahamstown, who together with one son, Colin, and one daughter, Judith, is left to mourn the loss of a devoted husband and father.

Besides his mother there is one brother, Mr. Thomas Riley, of Newcastle, surviving. 

Mr. Riley was one of' the first to purchase a block when the Presbyterian Church lands were subdivided, building a fine residence in Simpson-st., Tumut. 

He was a member of the Tumut Oddfellows. and Buffalo Lodges and was also a Free Mason, being a member of Lodge Cowper, Wingham. 

The funeral took place on Thursday   afternoon last, leaving from the residence at 4 o'clock for the C. of E. portion, of the Tumut New Cemetery.

The Tumut Butter Factory ceased operations for the afternoon and the Co-operative Store closed for a few hours as a mark of respect.

The large cavalcade of motor vehicles which followed the hearse was tacit tribute to the high respect and esteem in which deceased was held by all members of the community.

Rev. S. Broadfoot officiated at the graveside and Mr. C. W. Burt attended to the mortuary arrangements. The Pallbearers were Messrs. Em. Mclntyre, Neil Dowell, Clem. McAlister (fellow employees), Jock Dowell, Matt, and Pat. Downing. 

A plethora of beautiful wreaths was laid upon the casket and these outward and visible signs may truly be said to be but a small indication of the feeling in the breasts of numbers of folk who will revere the memory of Jack Riley. 

Truly Could This Be His Epitaph

Here lies one who took his chances 

In the busy world of men, 

Battled luck and circumstances, 

Fought and fell and fought again; 

Won sometimes, but did no crowing; 

Lost sometimes, but did not wail; 

Took his beating, kept on going: 

Never let his courage fail

He was fallible and human,   

Therefore loved and understood 

Both his fellow men and women, 

Whether good or not so good; 

Kept his spirits undiminished, 

Never false to any friend;   

Played the game until it finished, 

Lived a sportsman to the end. 

Amongst the immediate relatives noticed as the graveside were the bereaved widow, Mrs. Riley, Mr. and Mrs. W. Hassett (father- in-law and mother-in-law), W. and E. A. Hassett, A. Jamieson and J. Chandler (brothers-in-law), Mesdames W. Hassett, K. Hassett, A. Jamieson, J. A. Chandler (sisters-in-law), Mrs. W. Treweek, Mr. and Mrs. J. Beaver, Messrs J. and W. Beaver, Misses E. and L. Perkins and Valda Jamieson.

Others present included Mr. W. F. Heydon (manager Tumut Co-op. Dairy Co. Ltd.), Messrs. John French, Dan. Twomey, Bert and Em. McDonald, Ern. Mclntyre, Don. Dowell, Neil Dowell and Miss Con.Fisher (butter factory staff), members of the Co-operative Store staff and Board of Directors of the Co-operative Dairy Co.. Mr. A. N. Fuller. M.H.R., and Mrs. Fuller: Mr. C. E. Chapman (Dairy Branch, Department of Agriculture), Mr. A. Pulver (Southern Districts Dog Owners and Trainers' Association), Mr. F. Robins (Wagga).

All local sporting bodies were represented and personal friends and citizens present were too numerous to mention. 

Appended is a list of the floral tributes:- Leila, Colin and Judith; Mum, Tom and Edna; Mum, Dad, Nita and Willie; Ted, Ada and Family; Emmie, Arthur and Family; Rita, Alf. and Family) Ken., Neita and Family; Con. Fisher; Jim and Veney; Aunt Mary and  Family; Beaver Family; the Directors of Tumut Co-op. Dairy Co. Ltd.; Butter Factory Staff; Co-operative Store Staff; Worshipful Master and Brethren Lodge  Cowper, Wingham (N.S.W.); Officers and Members Loyal Tumut Lodge, M-U.  I.O.O.F., Tumut Branch; Buffalo Lodge 194, Tumut; Staff W. H. Fuller and Son; Students Tumut Intermediate High School; Tumut Rugby League Football  Club; Tumut Tennis Club; Tumut Plains Football Club; Mr. and Mrs. John French; Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Quinn and Beverley; Mr. and Mrs. Joe Brown and Family; Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Fuller and Zelda; Mr. and Mrs- D. E. Twomey and Family; Doug, and Hope Fuller; Constable and Mrs. Longhurst and Family; Mr. and Mrs. J. Bassett; Mr. and Mrs. Percy Clee; Mr. and Mrs. T. J. O'Brien; Mr. and Mrs. V. F. Heydon and Family; Mr. and Mrs. Wal. Wortes, Cliff, and Girls; Mrs. McGrath, Pat, Hassel, Allan, Patty, Lorna and Bon; Mr. and Mrs. H. Moon and Family; Mr. and Mrs. T. McCausland; Tumut Cordial Factory; Mr. and Mrs. Fred. L. Baker and Family; Mr. and Mrs. E. Fenton and Family; Mr. and Mrs. A. Pulver; Dr. and Mrs. Mason and Family; Boydie and Phyllis Beegling and Family; Mr. A. Masters and Family; Mr. and Mrs. A. Cameron and Family; Mr. and Mrs. Jack Emery and Mona; Mr. and Mrs. A. Cheney, Leo and Pearl; Mr. and Mrs. Bamford and Family; Mr. and Mrs. J. Henrick; Jess, Jack and Margaret Dun- can; Mr. and Mrs. J. Wilson and Family; Eric and Jack; Mr. and Mrs. Perce Andrews; Tom. and Mirrie Malone and Family; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Mclntyre; Mrs. Collison and Nell; Viv. and Milton Margules; Mrs. Hoad and Family; Mr. and Mrs. A. Davenport; Harry and Doris Eggleton and Family; Mr. and Mrs. N. Beegling and Colin; Ada, Allan, Jock and Jim Claffeyl; Mr. and Mrs. C. F.   McAlister; Mr. and Mrs. Ern. Crampton and Warwick; Mr. and Mrs. G. Livingstone and Family; Fred. Henkel and Family; Mr. and Mrs. J. Butler and Family; Eve, Mattie and Matt. Downing; Lloyd, Stella and Beryl; Dos. and Family; Jack and Clare Burgess and Family; Mr. and Mrs. T. Young and  Family; Mr. and Mrs. Cruise and Marie; C. A. Brew; Mr. and Mrs. F. Robbins; Mr. and Mrs. W. Eurell and Family; Ron and Dorrie Brown (Kerang, Vic.) ) The Knitters; Norman Crowe; Mr. and Mrs. Jock Dowell and Family; J. F. Lockeridge and Family; Mr. and Mrs. D. Phillip; Tom Connors.