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Harold E. Riley

Obituary for Harold E. Riley

July 23, 1928 - September 21, 2017
Austin, Texas | Age 89


Harold E. Riley, 89, lived a life of faithfulness to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His earthly life ended on Thursday, September 21, 2017, but his legacy will live on in the many lives he touched.

Born in Grandfield, Oklahoma on July 23, 1928, Harold was the second of three children born to Ruby S. Riley and Ray I. Riley. He graduated from Paschal High School in Ft Worth, Texas and earned his BBA degree from Baylor University in 1952. As an All-American athlete, he played on the 1952 Orange Bowl team. Upon graduation, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams but declined the offer to pursue a successful career in the life insurance industry. He began working in the industry in 1953 before assuming the Presidency of National Western Life Insurance Company in Austin, Texas in 1962 and serving through 1968 when he founded Insurance Company of America. In 1987, he became Chairman of the Board and CEO of Citizens, Inc. based in Austin, Texas, positions he held until 2014.

Throughout his lifetime, Harold was recognized on numerous occasions for his personal accomplishments, business achievements and self-less generosity. Although a very private individual, he lived with a passion to help others. Harold's life perspective was significantly impacted by the generous help his family received from a West Texas rancher in the 1940's. Faith in Jesus Christ was Harold's first priority in life followed by the love he had for his family.

A faithful member of Hyde Park Baptist Church, Harold supported his Lord's work as a committed, humble servant. "I've found that as we live our lives, it is for other people," Harold said, "and that's what it is all about – leading other people to follow Christ." Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary said, "One of the reasons that we're so grateful for Harold is that he's an example of when God blesses you with the things of this world, most people live and die with them, very few people invest them in the kingdom of God."

Harold was preceded in death by his sister, Betty R. Akeson and his brother, Gordon L. Riley. He is survived by his loving wife, Dottie S. Riley, his four children Rick D. Riley and wife Leeann, Randall H. Riley and wife Monique, Jana L. Riley, Ray A. Riley and wife Jenny, along with stepson, Mark D. Merrell. Harold was also a loving grandfather and great-grandfather to Alyca Riley, Allyson Riley, Austyn Riley, Macy Sligar, husband Logan, and their daughter Scottie Ann, Rhett Riley, Lee Riley, wife Caitlin, and their daughter Elena Rose, and Christopher Riley.

Visitation will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 24th at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N. Lamar Blvd. Austin, Texas 78705. Memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm Monday, September 25th at Hyde Park Baptist Church, 3901 Speedway, Austin, Texas 78751. A reception will follow in the Friendship Hall.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Hyde Park Baptist Church or Hyde Park Baptist Foundation, 3901 Speedway, Austin, Texas 78751 or the Harold E. Riley Foundation, PO Box 22517, Ft Worth, TX 76122, which solely benefits Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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