Project Description

Riley: Myrtle Ada
April 19, 1924 – March 5, 2019

Myrtle Ada Riley (nee Williams) was born April 19, 1924, and died peacefully in Oyen Long Term Care March 5, 2019, at the age of 94.

Myrtle was born in Williams Lake, British Columbia to Jim and Etta Williams. Shortly after the birth of her sister, Edith, the family moved to a farm in Chauvin, Alberta. The family was complete when brother Earl was born. They then relocated to Black Diamond as Myrtle’s dad got a job in the oil industry. One of Myrtle’s fondest memories was telling about being able to read a newspaper outside at night as every home in Black Diamond had its own gas flare that lit up the sky.

After high school, Myrtle and Edith moved to Calgary to work downtown at Zellers and experience the big city. A short time later, at a dance in Calgary, Myrtle met the love of her life, Joe Riley, who later became her husband. They bought a house in North Hill, Calgary, which at the time was still on the outskirts but is now considered ‘inner city!’ Myrtle and Joe travelled extensively throughout their married life, including a trip on the Queen Mary to England, a car trip to Mexico, and numerous camping trips with their Airstream trailer.

Joe Riley died in November 1973. Myrtle remained in her house until moving to Oyen in 2005. She was the ‘hotel’ and the greatest hostess for the many family members who came from the country to the city for a few days.

At a family gathering, Myrtle was reunited with a childhood friend from Black Diamond, Don McCaulder, who became Myrtle’s companion and best friend for 18 years until his death. They enjoyed travelling Alberta and dancing on the weekends at the Legion.

In 2005, Myrtle moved to a fourplex in Oyen to be closer to her sister Edith and her family. She quickly became involved in the community, going to coffee parties, the senior centre, and of course, dances. Myrtle loved the boys, dancing, nice clothes and having the occasional beer. She always had a smile for everyone and will be fondly remembered for her great sense of humour.

In January 2017, Myrtle moved to the Oyen Lodge where she joined Edith until her health failed and she had to move to Long Term Care, where she resided until her death.

Myrtle was predeceased by her parents Joe and Etta Williams; brother Earl Williams; husband Joe Riley; stepson Gordon Riley; friend Don McCaulder; nephew Scott Williams; and her caretaker for many years, niece Sandra Smith.

She leaves to mourn, her sister Edith Smith; nieces and nephews Bill and Kim Smith, Brian and Geraldine Smith, Ian and Darlene Williams, Clay and Kari Williams, and Dana Williams; three step-granddaughters Karen Aberdeen, Judy Johnston, Wendy Foote; and great- nieces and nephews.

A funeral service was held March 10 at the Oyen United Church in Oyen. Officiating Clergy was Rev. Helen Reed. A tribute was given by Myrtle’s family and special music was provided by Jerilyn Norris. Pallbearers were Adam Smith, Clay Williams, Bill Smith, Brian Smith, Andrew Grudecki, Devin Smith, Jeri Smith, Parker Williams, and Lisa Shearer. Honorary Pallbearers were all of Myrtle’s many friends and family who cared and shared in her life.

Memorial tributes may be directed to the Oyen & District Health Care Foundation, Box 150, Oyen, AB T0J 2J0; Oyen United Church, Box 392, Oyen, AB T0J 2J0; or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Following the funeral service, family and friends were invited to a luncheon hosted by the United Church Congregation in the Oyen United Church.

MacLean’s Funeral Home of Oyen in care of arrangements.