Barbara Joan “Sammy” Riley, age 82, passed away peacefully at home with family on March 13, 2020, after a long hard, 3-year courageous fight against cancer. She was born on September 3, 1937 in Holyoke, Massachusetts, to the late Arthur Marshall White and Wilhelmina Georgia Sutter. She leaves behind her husband of 41 years, Richard Vincent Riley, son Charles G. Christie, III and Lorie Albert of Sanford, ME, daughter Susan E. Christie and David Cunningham of Abington, MA, and daughter Lynn C. Rookey of Granby, CT. In addition, she is survived by 31 loving grandchildren (13 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, and 1 great, great grandchild), in-laws, nieces, nephews, and great nieces/nephews. She was predeceased by her daughter Deborah A. Christie of Tulsa, OK, and brother Richard K. Sutter of Yarmouth, MA.
Barbara was raised in Springfield, MA, and graduated from Commerce High School in 1955. She married her beloved husband Richard V. Riley on June 3, 1979. Richard and Barbara built their family lake home in Sandwich, Cape Cod, in 1980. Barbara truly enjoyed working in various positions for the Blue Water Resort in South Yarmouth for 34 years, before retiring in 2008. The highlight of her retirement was owning a home in Florida and becoming an official “snowbird,” and joining her daughter on a 3-week Mediterranean cruise to Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, and Greece, for her first time outside of the country.
Barbara was a dedicated, loving mother, first and foremost. She was the “true matriarch” of her family; she especially loved her role as Nana and celebrating many special occasions and holidays – surrounded by loved ones. She was extremely outgoing and always had something to say, with the understanding that she was always “right.” Her smile was contagious, and her laugh highly infectious. Anywhere she went, she was the “bell-of-the-ball” and loved socializing with everyone. She was always there for her husband and children with great advice, generous hugs and kisses, and maybe a glass of wine or two. We will dearly miss her voice, her laugh, her love for the beach, and her love for reading, games, and animals. We will lovingly cherish our memories of holiday gatherings at her home, her often “extended” visits, her needlepoint, and walking into the house only to see her knitting another signature afghan for a, yet to be determined, special member of the family.
She was a strong, beautiful woman who will be missed so much by so many who had the pleasure of knowing her. Although our heart is never ready, and the time is never right to say good-bye, Barbara will forever live on through fond memories shared.
Barbara’s family would like to express their sincere gratitude to all those who cared for her with such love, grace, and dignity at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL, Cape Cod Healthcare, and especially the VNA/Hospice of Cape Cod who guided her on her journey home.
A memorial service will be held at a future date, due to current restrictions on gatherings. When a date is determined, a follow-up obituary will be posted in the Cape Cod Times two weeks prior to the scheduled service and reception. Service update and words of comfort will be available at www.ccgfuneralhome.com In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Barbara’s name to: Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology Department of Medical Oncology, 450 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215.