Herschell D. Riley


Herschell D. Riley, beloved husband, father, brother, grandfather, and great-grandfather passed away surrounded by his family on February 26, 2024, at the age of 84. Born and raised in Washington County, Florida, Herschell graduated from Chipley High School in 1958. He enlisted in the US Air Force in 1962 and proudly served his country at duty stations in Texas and California. This sparked his love for travel which was one of the great joys of his life. He was always planning his next trip, but the destination never mattered as much as the memories made along the way. His children fondly recall a journey to New Jersey and New York City in 1978 and a memorable Christmas vacation to California in 1981. The stories from those trips are still repeated whenever family gathers. He explored seven different countries, embracing diverse cultures and landscapes, while always imagining where his next trip would lead. Herschell and Nellie also opened their home to three exchange students, introducing them to the US and creating lifelong friendships. While planning for his next trip, he dedicated over 36 years of his life to the Florida State Hospital where his commitment and hard work left a lasting impact.

A kind and patient soul, Herschell was the epitome of a loving husband and father, always expressing his deep affection for his family. His unwavering faith in God was evident through his active involvement at Cypress Grove Church, where he served in a variety of roles including deacon, church secretary, Sunday School teacher and superintendent. He also served many years as choir leader, where he shared his lifelong love of music. Music was so important to him, and he encouraged the same fondness in each of his children. Many wonderful hours were spent singing together, whether gathered around the family piano, at church, or just riding together in the car.

Herschell is survived by his devoted wife of 58 years, Nellie Riley, his three children Gregory (Michelle) Riley, Lisa (Tom) Armstrong, Angela (Mike) Santone, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He is also survived by brothers Herman (Peggy) Riley and Hertis (Caroline) Riley and sisters Helen (Fritz) Rice and Judy Cathcart. He was preceded in death by his parents, Coleman and Thelma Riley, and brothers, Horace Riley and George Riley.

The family extends their heartfelt gratitude to the staff at Marianna Health and Rehab for their compassionate care and support during Herschell’s final days. Herschell will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him, but his legacy of love, faith, and adventure will continue to inspire generations to come. May he rest in eternal peace.

Funeral services will be 2PM Monday, March 4, 2024, at James & Sikes Funeral Home Maddox Chapel with Pastors Mike Allen and Wayne Fussell officiating. Burial will follow at Cypress Grove Assembly of God Church Cemetery with James & Sikes Funeral Home Maddox Chapel directing. 

The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at James & Sikes Funeral Home Maddox Chapel. 

Expressions of sympathy may be made at www.jamesandsikesfuneralhomes.com


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