Riley, Joan A.

August 2, 1943 - May 2, 2016

Joan Anderson Riley was born in El Paso, Texas on August 2, 1943 to Carlyle and Evelyn Anderson. She passed from this life from COPD on May 2, 2016. She is survived by her daughter Melyssa Riley of Dallas, TX and grandogher Rikky, also of Dallas, her aunt Beth Wately of Rocky Mound, NC as well as numerous beloved cousins.


Joanie graduated from Amarillo High School in 1961 (GO SANDIES!), where she was popular and active in many school activities, especially theatre, where she had to locate props such as a telephone booth, pbx board and a complete dentist’s chair for productions such as “Lil” Abner”. She was also involved with school journalism and was offered the editorship of her senior yearbook- by a male teacher who did not believe women belonged in journalism.


She attended Amarillo Jr. College and went to work as a legal secretary in top Amarillo law firm. After she was moved to Dallas, she worked for the law Firm of Coffee, Coffee and Chantilis. When Peter opened his own law office she joined him as a personal secretary / paralegal. She spent her final working years as a Casino Marketer for the Dallas branch office for the MGM/Mirage Hotels and Casinos, where she worked under Floyd Dakil, Susan Savage and Claude Kimberlin. She loved her job and the people she always worked with.


Joan married Jerry Riley on August 22, 1963, gave birth to their daughter on February 20, 1971 and lost her husband on July 28, 1974.


A single mother, Joanie dedicated herself to her daughter and filled their home with love, laughter, music and books. Melyssa’s birthdays were huge celebration with everything from roller skating parties to sleepovers complete with boxes of pizza and enormous sheet tent forts. Holidays were big events. She created over the top Halloween costumes for her daughter, tirelessly hid, rehid and rehid Easter eggs, and turned their home into a Santa Wonderland at Christmas. She always welcomed her daughter’s friends; she was affectionately called “Mom” by many of them.


Joanie loved Tex- Mex and margarita, seafood and wine. She had a eclectic taste in music listening to everything from Marvin Gaye to Johnny Cash. She loved classic movies; some of her favorites were “Laura”, “Gilda” and epics such “Doc Zhivago” and “Lawrence of Arabia”. She adored musicals- on stage and on film. She loved to laugh and dance and shop and hang out with the girls and spend summers in Hot Springs, and above all, she loved to spend time with her family.




One condolence on “Riley, Joan A.”

Kandy Caffee says:

I’m so very sorry about the loss of your Mom. I discovered it after reading your sweet message on my mom’s obituary. Our moms were such great ladies, and were so very close when you and I were young. Mom had shared many stories of some of their antics. I recall every time I saw your mom I always thought how beautiful and elegant she was. I truly hope you’re well, and send prayers and love to you.

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