JANE OLA RILEY, 89, was an only child, born November 19, 1933 to Harold M. Curtis and Evelyn (Lewis) Curtis in Independence, Missouri. She passed into her new life July 13, 2023.
She grew up in the Independence, MO. area and was lucky enough to spend the summers on her Aunt Mary’s farm in Sibley, MO. Her male cousins teased her and hung her on a fence post to get away and do “boy” things, until Aunt Mary caught them. Such was the life in the 1930’s depression years.
She continued her education in the Independence schools, until her senior year in the fall of 1950 at William Chrisman High School, where she was seated in Mr. LeFever’s Algebra II class and Jimmie Riley walked in the door, she smiled and he nodded and smiled back as he went to the back of the room to sit with the other football players. This continued through September and most of October, until her girlfriend convinced her to ask him to the Sadie Hawkins dance. Thus began the 73 year love story between high school sweethearts.
She graduated in May 1951, and attended Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Mo. (now University of Missouri, Warrensburg) for two years. Due to a severe teacher storage in Missouri, her councilor said she would qualify for a teaching job in Taberville, Mo. Turns out it was a one room school with 12 students, from 1st to 6th grade. Her biggest challenge was a 6th grader, named Russell, that towered over her and was only three years younger, that had never been promoted . Once she figured out what he meant by ”I have to make water” and make the trip to the outhouse, she could only smile and carry on with rest of the students. At the end of the year, Russell got promoted to Appleton City schools, and JANE OLA ended her brief teaching career forever.
By then, it had gotten serious with Jimmie (JAMES L . RILEY) and they were married June 26, 1954. In true NAVY fashion, two weeks later he left on a two month cruise, to Europe. That was the start of her career as a dedicated NAVY WIFE. After being stationed in Texas, California, Japan, South Carolina, she returned home to Independence as Jim left for a one year tour in Vietnam, upon his safe return, the adventure continued, they went to Monterey, CA. for Jim to obtain his Master’s degree at the Naval Postgraduate School. At the end of that year, her patience and dedication, was rewarded and they were sent to Hawaii, which turned out to be their longest five year stay. The NAVY got even for that wonderful tour by sending them to Washington D. C. After two years there, they made it to their final home in Corpus Christi, TX. in 1978. Over 45 years as proud residents of Corpus Christi.
It was here she got to enjoy her passion for art and crafting. JANE OLA’S CREATIONS was born in 1983, and prospered for 15 years, before she lost the vision in her right eye and could no longer paint. But during that 15 years she was blessed to have 100’s of satisfied customers at home and in many states across the country. During that period Jim retired for a second time, and Jane Ola was so delighted to have an endless source of unpaid help at her disposal. For many years after she had to quit, she still got calls, asking for her to paint something special. It broke her heart to have to turn them down, but there was always a slight smile, as she was pleased to know that she had made an impact with her creations.
In late 2018, she started her “long goodbye” as signs of dementia started affecting their lives and Jim stepped up to become her sole provider. They stayed true to their vows, as they overcame the pandemic, and came out unscathed. As she continued to decline, they did celebrate their 69th anniversary on June 26, 2023. Eleven days later she entered hospice at home, and completed her journey to heaven, on July 13, 2023, as Jim held her hand one last time. A beautiful soul and a wonderful life.
Jane Ola is survived by her husband of 69 years, CDR. James L. Riley; her four children, Jamie L. Delos Santos (Brian-deceased), Terry M. Riley, Kelly A. Kauffman (Calvin) and Vicki S. Rudolph (Stanley). Six grandchildren, Jennifer (Richie), Sarah (Juan), Patrick (Sonya), Samantha (Robbie), Travis and Kyle (Jennifer) and eight great-grandchildren, Ali (A. J.), Christian, Tyler, Riley, Emma Sue, Eli, Annie, and Stella.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Wounded Warriors, Tunnel to Towers, or any other Veterans Group in her honor.
Visitation will be held at Sawyer-George Funeral Home on Saturday, July 29, 2023 from 10am-1pm. The Funeral service will follow at 1pm. Interment will be Monday, July 31, 2023 at Coastal bend State Veteran's Cemetery at 1pm.