Marion Black Little Riley


Marion Black Little Riley died on March 3, 2011 at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital in Oak Bluffs after a prolonged, complex illness.

She was born in Springfield on April 17, 1929 to David Bruce and Mary Ling Black. She graduated honorably from Cathedral High School and The Elms College. She happily taught kindergarten for 20 years, 9 years in Springfield public schools and 11 years at the private “Little School” in Wilbraham. She lived in Springfield, Wilbraham, and Longmeadow, before moving with her husband to Tucson, Arizona in 1980 and returning to Massachusetts in 1986. Finally, she moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 2002 as a year-round resident with her husband and her dog, Izzie. Marion loved flowers and music, especially American jazz, theatrical plays, and old movies, cooking and cookbooks.

She is sorrowfully survived by her second husband of 41 years, Francis J. Riley, and eight children (Frank, Judith, Nancy, Mary Jane, Peter, Fern, Kenneth, and Sarah), seven grandchildren (Maggie, Booker, Alex, Dylan, Alessio, Griffin, and Liam); and two sisters, Elizabeth Ridenour and Carol Olbrych and brother, Robert Black. Her first husband, Lawson Little, died in 1967 and her sister, Rita Bielitz, in 2008.

There will be a memorial mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, 22 Massasoit Ave, Oak Bluffs at 11 am on Saturday, March 19, 2011, followed by a small reception at Le Grenier Restaurant, Vineyard Haven.

Donations in Marion’s memory can be made to The Elms College, Chicopee, Mass.