Lee Roy Riley Jr.

October 3, 1918December 23, 2013
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Lee R. Riley, 95, died at home, December 23, 2013. He was born October 3, 1918, on the family ranch near Lamar, Colorado, to Lee R. Riley, Sr., & Ella Rose (Stuckey) Riley. He attended a one-room school house near the ranch through the 7th grade. He graduated from Lamar High School in 1938. He lived with his sister in Wichita, Kansas, while going to his beloved Wichita State Univ. He was a member of the Blue Key National Honor Society and Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. He graduated in 1942 with a B.A. in geology. While in college, he met his wife, Ethel Carolyn McMahon, and they were married on February 14, 1942.

Lee entered active military service with basic training at Camp Robertson, Arkansas, and Office Training School at Camp Davis, North Carolina. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and stationed with his unit at Camp Edwards, Mass., during WWII. Lee trained personnel, participated in the Tennessee Maneuvers and then embarked for Europe. He entered France with Patton’s 3rd Army, moved across France and Germany and entered Nuremberg on VE day. He spent a period of time relocating former POW’s and displaced persons to their native countries. His outfit transported food and other supplies to relocation camps. He returned to the USA in Nov. of 1945 with a Bronze Star and was honorably discharged in Jan. 1946.

He went to work for Carter Oil Company as a geologist in Wichita, KS, and after 2 years transferred to Ardmore, OK, in 1948, during the oil boom. He was the district manager when Carter Oil Co. became a part of Humble Oil and Refining Co. In 1965, the Ardmore office was closed and consolidated to Oklahoma City where Lee became an exploration manager. After 5 years, eh took an early retirement and became an independent geologist.

While living in Ardmore, Lee was President of the Lions Club, headed the United Fund, was Vice President of the YMCA Board of Directors and coached little league baseball. He was member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists since 1954, a member of the Ardmore Geology Society in 1956, a member of the Society of Independent Earth Scientists, an ordained Deacon, Elder and Trustee in the Presbyterian Church, and was a docent at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

He and Carolyn were married for 56 years before her passing in 1998. They both loved to play golf, travel and took extensive trips, visiting all the continents except for Antarctica. For 11 years they treasured the family ski trips to Colorado the day after Christmas.

He is survived by his four children: Pat Simmons & husband Ken of Tulsa and their children Duke Simmons & wife Wendy, their children Scarlett, Noah, Isaac and Milady of Bixby; Laura LaBlue & husband Brent, their children Aston and Faith of Blackwell; Alan Simmons of Dallas; Jean Dunlap & husband Baillie of Oklahoma City and their children Leah Leckness of Midwest City and Genevieve Smith & husband Dallas and their children Dalton, Elle and Rhett of Newcastle; Mike Riley of Oklahoma City and his children Michael & wife Kristi of Oklahoma City, Kevin of Oklahoma City and Jennifer Himes & husband Nate of Yukon; and Janet Earlywine & husband Art and their child Sarah Edwards & husband Bryan of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


Poems by Lee Riley:

Buck was a cowboy supreme Not many could match his measure To have him as your mount Was a real working pleasure.

When working as a cutting horse He was at his best, You only had to keep your seat And he would do the rest.

When you took down your rope He knew what to do, He would put you in position Then the catch was up to you.

Gentle, intelligent and trustworthy He was the very best, When there was work to be done You knew Buck would stand the test.


Memorial Day

We honor our veterans Who served in the past, Especially those who gave their lives So that our freedoms might last.

To give one's life in duty, Is the greatest gift of all, Now we must give him honor Even though our gift is small.

To all our men and women Who have stood against the foe, Our hats are off to you T'is respect we want to show.

War is not a pretty thing, In fact, it's really hell, But sometimes we have no choice And must serve our country well.

Let's work toward problem solution And pray our best for peace, So that lives will not be lost And wars and conflicts cease.


St. Patrick’s Day

We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day We’re Irish we shout out loud, Our ancestors came from Ireland, Of this we are mighty proud.

There are only two kinds of people If you will check you’ll see, Those who are truly Irish And those who want to be.

So put on your Kelly green And go strutting down the street, Show you are proud to be Irish, Top of the morning to everyone you meet.

When you travel to Ireland Go kiss that Blarney Stone, Because you then, forever after Will feel like a king on a throne.


Poetry in General

I can’t believe you doubted That poetry was my line, It is just putting words together And that’s a gift of mine.

I have written poems of love To my wife each special day, I have written of pioneer hardships And the price they had to pay.

I may write to make a point Of things that needs be done, But many times I just write Because I think it’s fun.

Now when I put my name On a poem for you to enjoy, Be certain it’s not plagiarism But that it’s the real McCoy.

I can’t play musical instruments And my golf is not too great, So I guess I’ll just write poems And accept it as my fate.


  • Viewing Sunday, December 29, 2013
  • Memorial Service Monday, December 30, 2013

Lee Roy Riley Jr.

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Genevieve Smith

January 23, 2014

Grandad was truly one of the "Greats"!! He was the most generous, hardworking, fair, loyal, kind, funny, and clever man I have EVER known. I'm going to miss him more than I can put in words. He gave life to this family and very much appreciated legacy.

Jennifer Riley-Himes

January 22, 2014

I could not have asked for a better grandad. I have such fond memories of our time spent together. He was a wise, caring and generous man who will be missed greatly.

Duke Simmons

January 22, 2014

My time spent with my grandfather greatly influenced my love of science, nature, and the outdoors. He was a great man and I cherish all the summers spent at Lake Aluma, time spent at oil wells and various state parks, but - most of all - the week we spent exploring the ranch. I am a better, wiser person for knowing him.

Bryan Edwards

January 21, 2014

A fine man with wit and subtle charm...a person I am better for having met.

Sarah Earlywine Edwards

January 21, 2014

You were a wonderful granddad and will be greatly missed. You have given me and my family so much, you truly blessed us. Thank you.

Mike Riley Sr

January 21, 2014

You were a great Dad. I will miss our Wednesday night dinners. You have given us so much.

Baillie Dunlap

January 21, 2014

As a son-in-law, I joined the family in 1992 and lived with Lee the past eight years. I will always appreciate the warmth with which he welcomed me into the family. I remember his camaraderie as we did yard work and talked early in the morning over breakfast. We both loved our work at the National Cowboy museum and his stories helped to make the West come alive for me.

Patricia Simmons

January 21, 2014

I was blessed with a special Dad, who exemplified the character of an honorable man. He was a real cowboy, who led a cattle drive at the age of 15, an excellent student, military leader, geologist, christian, poet, philanthropist, and a fantastic
example for his children to copy. We all miss him already.

Janet & Art Earlywine

January 21, 2014

The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him. Proverbs 20:7. Dad, you have truly blessed us and our children. We will miss you.

January 13, 2014

Dad, you have blessed my life and the life of my children and grandchildren. You will always be in my heart. You have given us a compass for guiding our lives in the right direction. With the deepest love and respect, Claudia Jean Dunlap