Ralph B. Riley, 92, of Fort Smith died Saturday, February 23, 2013 in Fort Smith. He was born January 29, 1921 in Central City, Nebraska to Ralph B., Sr and Theodosia Dick Riley.
A veteran of World War II, he served in the 134th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division from 1940-1945. His unit was credited with five major battles, including the Battle of the Bulge, in the European Theater. He was wounded in Normandy, France for which he received a Purple Heart. He also received the Combat Infantry's Badge, the Bronze Star and the Diplome d'Honneur, de la Medaille(Liberation Medal and Diploma) awarded to American combat troops by the President of France on September 11, 1999. He was a Life Member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and Disabled American Veterans.
He was employed by the Fort Smith Public Schools for 35 years, serving as a teacher, Assistant Principal and Principal of Darby Junior High School, Director of Instruction, Assistant Superintendent, acting Superintendent and retired in 1983 as Deputy Superintendent. During his career in education, he served as District Representative of the Arkansas Education Association; member and Chairman of the Arkansas Advisory Council on Secondary Education; member and President of the Arkansas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; member and President of the Arkansas State Council on Economic Education.
After retiring, he served in the offices of Vice President, President Elect and President of the Arkansas Retired Teachers Association. He served as President of the Fort Smith Retired Teachers Association (FSRTA) and editor of the FSRTA Newsletter.
Ralph was very active in the community and loved Fort Smith. He served on the Education Committee of the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce and is a past member of the Fort Smith Carnegie Library Board, on the Board of Directors of the Fort Smith Girls Club, Secretary of the Fort Smith Planning Commission, President of the Lincoln Day Care Center Board, Chairman of St. Johns Senior Citizens Center Board, Secretary/Treasurer of the Sebastian Retired Citizens Association(SRCA), President of the Advisory Board of Sparks Regional Medical Center, Secretary of the Fort Smith Symphony Association, Board of Directors for the Westark Area Girl Scouts and Board of Directors for the Inter-Faith Community Preschool. He was also a 34 year member and past President of the Salvation Army Advisory Board and a 54 year member of the Noon Civics Club of Fort Smith, serving as President in 1978. He was also a member and past editor of the newsletter for the Fort Smith Heritage Foundation. For 18 years he delivered Meals on Wheels for the St. Johns Senior Center and he volunteered at Sparks Regional Medical Center.
Among the recognitions he has received are Spirit of the Frontier Award, in 2001, from the City of Fort Smith, Lifetime Achievement Award, in 2003, from Fort Smith Heritage Foundation, Lifetime Membership from the Salvation Army Advisory Board and the Honor Roll Award, in 2007, from the Fort Smith Public Schools Foundation.
He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Linda; two daughters Donna Starr of Estero, FL and Kathy Brosi and husband Ron of Omaha, NE; one son, Kerry Riley and wife Michelle of Bayside, TX; five grandchildren, David Riley and wife Diana, Melissa Riley, Heather Brosi, Jennifer Cernigliaro and husband Mark, and Amanda Riley; one great granddaughter, Georgia Riley-Burke; one sister, Luetta Garrett of Dublin, CA; a step son, Tony Rupp and wife Angela of Mountainburg, as well as three step grandchildren, Jackie Rupp, Joe Rupp and wife Elizabeth, and Will Rupp. He is preceded in death by a son, David Riley and a sister, Rogene Baty.
A memorial service will be Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 10:30AM at Central Presbyterian Church. Private burial will be at Woodlawn Memorial Park. The family will visit with friends following the memorial service in the Fellowship Hall at Central Presbyterian Church. Services are under the directions of Edwards Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Central Presbyterian Church, 2901 Rogers, Fort Smith AR 72901 or the Salvation Army, 301 North 6th Street, Fort Smith, AR 72901.
Online condolences may be made at www. edwardsfuneralhome.com