James “Jim” Riley, age 82, of Gabriels, passed away on Jan. 22, 2023 at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.
Jim was born on Sept. 3, 1940, the eldest of five sons born to William and Mabel (Columbe) Riley.
He was a lifelong resident of Gabriels, attending the Gabriels’ schoolhouse, graduating from Saranac Lake High School and Paul Smith’s College. After graduating college, Jim enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving as a Currier while stationed in Berlin, Germany. His military service was an experience he genuinely enjoyed, and where lifelong friendships developed. Upon his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, Jim returned to Gabriels and secured a position working at Camp Topridge owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post. He continued working at Camp Topridge while under the ownership of New York state, and later transferred to the state Department of Transportation until his retirement.
He enjoyed the world he made for himself, taking long daily walks up and down state Route 86 or cross-country skiing along the railroad tracks in Gabriels. As Jim grew older, he fell more comfortably into his gift of gab and telling stories of his adventures. He was able to connect with others by having an eye for valuable collectibles and selling antiques at local flea markets and his annual Barn Sales highlighting the opening and closing of the summer season. Jim enjoyed tinkering in his workshop and was featured in the “Mattias Oppersdorff Adirondack Faces” collection exhibited at The Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake.
Jim is survived by his brothers Robert (Lynne) of Diamond Point, John of Bloomingdale, Timothy (LuAnne) of Harrietstown, Lawrence (Mary) of Saranac Lake, and several nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
Funeral arrangements are in care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home, 20 Church St., Saranac Lake NY 12983. Visitation will take place Friday, Jan. 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. with a brief service immediately following at the Funeral Home with Reverend Eric Olsen officiating. At Jim’s request, a private burial will take place in the spring of 2023 at Mountain View Cemetery in Gabriels.
Memorial donations in honor of James W. Riley may be made to the Paul Smiths-Gabriels Volunteer Fire Department in care of the funeral home. Family and friends are invited to share a memory, leave a condolence, and sign the online guest book at www.fortunekeoughfuneralhome.com.