Neil Hamilton “Biegie” Riley Sr. of Little Rock, Ark., passed to his Heavenly home on Aug. 15, 2022, joining his beloved wife, Betty Nan Riley, who patiently awaited the reunion for eight years. Neil was born on Nov. 6, 1926, in Antoine to the late James Willis Riley and Sidney Jones Riley. He is also predeceased by his grandson Andrew Dowdy, sisters Sue Johnson and Marcella Weeks (“Bill”), brother Fred Riley (Ann), and brother-in-law James Denton.
Neil was named after a movie star but was most well-known by his nickname “Biegie.” He loved playing baseball, hunting, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors – hobbies he was able to enjoy most of life. At 18 years old, Neil joined the U.S. Navy. He served for two years on the USS Houston during the end of WWII. After serving his country, Neil was immediately hired by Southwestern Bell Telephone Company (later AT&T) in Little Rock where he worked for the next 38 years with perfect attendance.
It was at Southwestern Bell where he met the love of his life, a secretary named Betty Nan Kober. Together they raised their three children, Becky, Cilla, and Hamilton, in a loving home. As family was always of paramount importance to him, Neil loved watching his children participate in all their activities, camping trips to Greers Ferry Lake, family gatherings, and holidays.
At age 60, Neil retired from AT&T and opened Neil Riley Telephone Services. He served many clients, the largest being Camp Robinson. He retired for the last time 10 years later so that he and Betty Nan could enjoy their Greers Ferry lake house at Higden and travel frequently to visit their grandchildren wherever they lived, near or far.
Neil was a member of South Highland Church of Christ, and then Pleasant Valley Church of Christ where he faithfully served as head usher for many years, enjoying greeting members and visitors each Sunday. Outside of church, he never wavered from watching his Razorback teams or from sitting on his porch with a hot cup of coffee.
Neil is loved and survived by his children Rebecca Nan Mulvaney of Nassau Bay, Texas, (Randy), Priscilla Riley Dowdy of Chapel Hill, N.C. (Joe, Col. USMC Ret.), and Neil Hamilton Riley, Jr.; grandchildren Connor Mulvaney (BreeAnn), Pierce Hamilton Mulvaney, and Logan Mulvaney, all of Houston, Texas, John Riley Dowdy (Layla) of Chapel Hill, N.C., Elizabeth Dowdy of Raleigh, N.C., Jefferson Dowdy (Marla) of Orlando, Fla., and Sidney Riley (Emily) of Twenty Nine Palms, Calif. He is also survived by his beloved great-grandchildren Anna Riley and Jackson Dowdy; Evelyn, Arden, and Morgan Dowdy; Della Nan Mulvaney; and Atlas Mulvaney.
He is also survived by his sister, Sherilyn Riley Denton of Arkadelphia and many nieces, nephews, and extended cousins. Neil cherished being the Riley family patriarch.
In his later years, Neil was lovingly assisted at home by his son Hamilton, and his friend and daily helper Donna Rowe from Grace at Home who made each day a pleasure.
Neil’s family extends their deepest gratitude to the floor nurses, ICU South nurses, Dr. Nathan Falls and Dr. David Smith for the tender care they provided during Neil’s covid fight.
Roller Chenal Funeral Home, Little Rock, will host visitation at 2 p.m. and celebration service at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20. The family requests attendees to please wear masks.
Please share your memories of Neil at www.rollerfuneralhomes.com/chenal