Cover photo for Brian Riley's Obituary
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1955 Brian 2021

Brian Riley

August 22, 1955 — January 19, 2021

Brian Michael Riley, 65, of 535 Summer St. in St. Johnsbury passed away peacefully at home Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.

He was born in Lowell, Mass. Aug. 22, 1955, the youngest of ten children born to Thomas and Helen (Hodge) Riley.  He was a Vietnam-era Navy veteran, stationed mostly in the Middle East.

Brian ended his career as a drug and alcohol counselor for Phoenix House at the St. Johnsbury Work Camp.  He enjoyed volunteering at the Community Restorative Justice Center. In 2003 he met Jeannie Ayer while working at Northeast Kingdom Human Services.  He loved to tell people Jeannie chased him, but the truth was he wanted to be caught!  Brian struggled with failing health for the past several years.

Brian and Jeannie married Feb. 2, 2018 in a special ceremony in the ICU at DHMC because each was tired of the medical staff not talking things over with Jeannie because they weren’t married! Jeannie walked into his room and said “We’re getting married!”.  In the past few years Brian came to love the Lord and wouldn’t have minded shouting it from the rooftops!  Both he and Jeannie attended church at the Monroe Community Church.

He is survived by his wife Jeannie Ayer; daughter Sarah Riley of St. Johnsbury and son Jonathan Riley of Barre; his beloved grandsons Kayden and Kiernan; two brothers Thomas and Charles; a sister Kathy Comtois; Jeannie’s two daughters Valerie and Elizabeth (Sonia); Jeannie’s beloved grandchildren Elijah, Opal, Marley, Finn, Rowan, Beatrix, and Elsie; many nieces and nephews including a special nephew ‘Little Danny’ and his son ‘Little Brian’ (Brian’s namesake).  He was predeceased by six siblings: Theresa, Maureen, Mary, Billy, Emily, and a very special brother Danny.

Plans for a future on-line service are in the works and will be officiated by Pastor Earl Brock.

Memorial contributions would be welcomed if mailed to: The Jazzy’s Children Fund, 1506 Annis Rd., Groton VT 05046.

Jeannie writes “Brian, my love, you have been such a loving, giving faithful husband.  Life with you was always a challenge to be better, be stronger in my faith, to complain less, to stand strong against the wind; to be thankful for each day and to embrace life, no matter what the day holds.  Now it’s my time to put all that into practice, and I’m going to make you proud.  You have earned the right to rest, and I am going to do my best always to be happy for you.”

Isaiah 19: “I will never forget you.  I have written your name in the palm of my hand”.

Memories and condolences may be directed to Jeanne at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Brian Riley, please visit our flower store.


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