H. Riley Colvin Jr.


Harold Riley Colvin Jr. of Edgartown and Harrisburg, Pa., died on May 11 in Port Charlotte, Fla. He was 76. Riley will be laid to rest beside his beloved wife of 49 years, Helen, who died of cancer in 2014.

A native New Yorker, Riley was born on Jan. 17, 1940, to Harold Riley Colvin Sr. and Margaret Ayer Snyder, and grew up in Gracie Square. He attended Collegiate School and then Brooks School, graduating in 1957. He received his B.A. in 1961 from Columbia College, where he was a member of St. Anthony Hall. Next stop was the U.S. Army, which sent him to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., where he learned Mandarin Chinese.

In 1966 Riley returned to New York and Columbia, receiving his M.B.A. from

Columbia Business School two years later.

Riley launched his financial career in Harrisburg, Pa., at W.O. Hickok Manufacturing Co. Later he moved to P.R. Hoffman Machine Products, where he spent many years before he rejoined and eventually retired from Hickok as chief financial officer in 1999.

Summers in Edgartown led to many lasting friendships ― and eventually to the girl who would become his wife. In the early ’60s a mutual friend set him up on a blind date with Helen McVey. They were married on Nov. 20, 1965.

As the years went by, Riley and Helen started coming to the Vineyard frequently, and bought their Edgartown home in 1991. They moved here permanently several years later. They were members of the Edgartown Yacht Club and Cracktuxet Trust.

Riley was a devotee of opera and classical music, a skilled tennis player, and a seasoned pilot. He once narrowly avoided a forced landing on the New Jersey Turnpike. Riley was also an avid astronomer. On occasion he would lure Edgartown dinner guests to his massive telescope and lead them on a galactic tour into the wee hours, long after Helen (whose interests were more earthbound) had bade a gracious good evening to all and retired for the night.

Riley is survived by his daughter, Ann Anderson Colvin of Cambridge, and his sister, Elizabeth Colvin Shepard of Seattle, Wash.

There will be a reception in Riley’s honor at 3 pm Saturday, July 9, at the Colvin home at 10 Brushy Lane in Edgartown. Interment will be private, at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club, P.O. Box 654, Edgartown, MA 02539.