A beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend, passed away peacefully on St. Patrick’s Day from complications of Parkinson’s, surrounded by family at his home in Missoula.
Virgil Merton “Mert” Riley was born June 14, 1937, in Butte, Montana, the first-born son of John Riley and Beryl (Cleary) Riley. He attended local schools and took classes at Montana Western and Montana Tech.
Mert married Beverly Jean (Conwell) in June 1972. Lifelong residents of Butte, Mert and Bev relocated to Missoula which marked the beginning of many joyful years spent cheering on the Montana Grizzlies football team, hunting, fishing, golfing, and winters in Casa Grande, Arizona.
Mert worked in the local Butte mines and was employed by School District No. 1. Mert served in the United States Navy and was honorably discharged in 1958.
Mert was a proud 'Bumpa' to his cherished grandchildren Zack, Molly, Haley, Shea, Jensen, Reed, Riley, Megan, Lauren, Cody, Courtney, Kacie, Brianne, and Kellie.
Mert was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Diane Haniszewski and Jackie Riley, daughter Vickie Petritz, and son Joseph Perrick.
Mert is survived by his wife Bev; sisters Darlene Houlihan and Donna McCreedy; brothers Dick and Matt Riley; daughter Debbie (Craig) Burns; Brother-in-law Larry (Betty) Conwell; son-in-law Tom Petritz; daughter Staci Riley (Chris Mann); son Randy (Lisa) Riley; son Tom (Kathy) Perrick; daughter-in-law Ambra McQuillan.
Mert is also survived by many great grandchildren, nieces and nephews and numerous loved family members and dear friends.
In accordance with Mert's wishes, his remains have been cremated and a service will be held at a later date.
In memoriam, please consider making a cash or food donation to the Missoula Food Bank (1720 Wyoming Street, Missoula, MT 59801) or Butte Food Bank (1019 East 2nd, Butte, MT 59701).
Tap ‘er light.