October 6, 1939 – June 26, 2020
Charles Michael “Mike” Riley, passed away on Friday, June 26, 2020, at the age of 80. Raised in Linton, Indiana to Francis Michael Riley and Mary Margaret Tracy Riley.
He attended Indiana State University, obtaining his bachelor degree in 1961. He continued his education and was granted a juris doctorate from Indiana University/Indianapolis School of Law in 1965. His legal career began in Indianapolis when he served as a deputy city attorney, attorney general, and public defender from 1967 to 1980. He opened his private practice in Rensselaer in 1980 and continued practicing law locally & regionally through December 2019. As an established attorney in Rensselaer, he invited Jacob Ahler to join and assume his practice before retiring. Having tried over two hundred jury trials during his career, both civilly and criminally, in 1996 Governor Evan Bayh awarded him with the Sagamore of Wabash, the highest honor given to a civilian in the State of Indiana.
Coming into his passion for politics during a critical time in the country, Mike was the President of the College Young Democrats while at ISU & law school. When he arranged a campaign speech for Robert Kennedy on April 4, 1968, he had no idea he would become a part of history. On the evening of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy took the stage and Mike was witness to what became a milestone speech in Indianapolis history, as well as our collective experience.
A six-time delegate to the Democratic National Convention, Chairman of the Jasper County Democratic Party, and the City Attorney for Rensselaer for many years, his commitment to justice was appreciated by those that worked with him. Having supported the campaigns of many Indiana politicians and in acknowledgement of his historical connection to Robert Kennedy’s campaign he was invited to introduce Barack Obama during a town meeting in Fort Wayne on April 4, 2008.
While his legacy includes many stories, his most cherished ones involved his family and close friends. In 2005, he married Kathleen White and they made their home at Toad Hollow. Sharing a love of adventure, travel and family, Mike & Kathy created a life for themselves and their families where a home was always available for holidays, grandkids, swimming, love and laughter.
His family includes: Kathy White Riley (wife), his children Michelle Riley, Jess Riley & Nick Domogalik, Brendan and Elizabeth Riley, Colin and Rachel Riley, and Kathy’s children Christian and Linda White, Megan and Kevin Wright, Michael and Jill White, Marisa and Greg Weimer, Shannon and Ryan Mears. Add to that their 17 grandchildren.
Preceding Mike in death were his parents and his daughter, Allison Riley Anderson.
In lieu of flowers please contribute to The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN).
A celebration of life will be scheduled in the future. Memories can be shared on the Feeney-Hornak Keystone website.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
July 14, 2020
Jess, Susan and I just heard of Mike’s passing today. We are so sorry. Mike was a friend to both of us, giving all and expecting nothing in return. The world is a little less fun, spontaneous and hopeful than it was before, but Mike taught us all how to restore those virtues and I hope we all can do that in his memory. Love from, Susan Williams and David Rimstidt
July 2, 2020
Mike was one-of-a-kind. He was so humble and kind. But, whenever he was around you, time just slowed down. He spoke slowly and deliberately, each word taking just a tad longer than everybody else. No matter what people were doing in the same room, everybody stopped to listen to what he was saying, because his speaking style drew you in, and the content was always entertaining. I watched him during a jury trial just a few years ago. The evidence was overwhelmingly in favor of his opponent, and on paper, he was clearly going to lose. Yet, the jury came back with a verdict in Mike's favor. The only explanation was Mike's like-ability, humbleness, and therefore his persuasive effect on all 12 members. He was simply a master of his trade, yet it just came naturally to him. We have lost a great man, but he has left us with many very fond memories.
June 30, 2020
Saddens me to hear of Mike's passing. He helped me learn what I needed to know as a new caseworker 30 years ago with humor and patience. He may be gone from earth but will never be forgotten.
Chuck and Jackie Malchiw
June 30, 2020
So sorry for your loss.
June 30, 2020
May passing time, caring friends and loving memories, work gently through the coming days to help comfort his family.
June 30, 2020
The first time Mike came into my office, I greeted him as Mr. Riley. He looked at me and said, " Who in the in hell is Mr. Riley? I'm Mike!"
Mike's laugh, sense of humor, and crazy socks always made the day brighter. I always knew when he was around even if I didn't see him, because everyone would be smiling.
After his retirement there have been fewer smiles and jokes. Life has been set on a dimmer switch, and his presence has been sorely missed by all.
I wish his family peace and comfort in the knowledge that Mike made a difference in the world- especially to those fortunate enough to be around him.
My condolences to all of you.
June 29, 2020
i knew Mike for over 50 years. he was a true Irishman. kind,generous, compassionate and a wonderful friend. I believe I could think of a good memory of Mike everyday and never run out of them. RIP Charles Michael, I will miss you so much.
June 29, 2020
Kathy and family,
So sorry to hear this. He fought a very courageous battle.
We sure had some fun times with the Riley’s, Gibson’s and Stelle’s.