Frances Marilyn (Ostrom) Riley, 101, passed into the Lord’s hands on February 24, 2021 in her apartment at Generations at Riverview, East Peoria. Fran was born on August 25, 1919 to Clarence and Rose (Wendell) Ostrom at a farm near Woodhull, IL. She was baptized at home as she was not expected to survive. Fran married Edward Dale Riley on November 14, 1943 at First Lutheran in Monmouth, IL. They celebrated 65 happy years together in November 2008. Ed worked for NCR his entire career and they made many lifelong friends. He predeceased her on November 2, 2011.
She was educated at Pleasant Valley – a one room schoolhouse with 15 students. She attended Alpha High School and Kewanee Business College where she learned impressive shorthand and typing skills that she used regularly until well into her 90s. She treasured her memories of life on the farm and kept in frequent contact with the friends she made.
Fran was employed in the office of Illinois Iowa Power Company. She also worked for the Warren County Farm Bureau and various offices including Public Service Company of Colorado in Denver and Boeing Airplane Co. in Dayton, Ohio.
After Ed’s discharge from the Air Force, they returned to Illinois and lived 25 years in Creve Coeur. They built their own house in the Wardcliffe neighborhood in Peoria and lived there for 40 years. Ed and Fran were faithful members of Salem Lutheran Church in Peoria since 1946. Fran took care of her mother until Rose’s death in 1981. She also cared for her Aunt Ruth traveling weekly to Rock Island for more than ten years.
Fran enjoyed her life. She was an active Pink Lady (volunteer) at Proctor hospital. She also was a secretary for the Salem Women’s group, treasurer of Salem’s Day Care School and leader of her own Salem circle, now disbanded. Fran was a skilled homemaker and enjoyed entertaining. She was known for her adventurous and delicious desserts and salads. Her picture (in a fancy apron!) and homemaking tips were featured in the Peoria Journal Star.
Fran and Ed loved to travel and visited all lower 48 states by automobile. She enjoyed sports – her beloved Cubs have another angel fan in heaven! A skilled bowler, she earned many trophies. A lifelong music lover, her favorites were big band and vintage country. She often sang and turned the pages while Ed played the organ. She greatly enjoyed the music programs offered at Riverview especially the accordion players.
Growing up as an only child, Fran’s friends and neighbors became her family and her cousins became her siblings. She was a second mom to many and leaves behind a raft of people who love her very much and will miss her greatly. She enjoyed nothing better than to sit down with a cup of coffee, a sweet of some type and have a chat with her loved ones. Her laugh was infectious and her wit was sharp and hysterical.
Peppered throughout this celebration of Fran’s life are the words ‘friends’ and ‘family’. Fran gathered friends from all aspects of her life from the time she was a Pleasant Valley girl in elementary school to her life at Riverview and all stops in between. More importantly, she kept those relationships and nurtured them. She called frequently. She wrote letters often (usually typed on a manual typewriter!) and many times wrote letters to people she also saw in person. When her friends passed on, she kept the association alive by continuing relationships with the people that were in their lives. Those of us she left behind have been extraordinarily blessed that we have an amazing, shared connection through her. For all of us – our circles have widened and we have gained new friends and family as well. Her touch, her heart and her legacy will continue to live in those of us that were so fortunate to be on the receiving end of the calls, letters and visits.
Fran leaves behind her only remaining first cousin, Mary Anne Lovdahl of Gilbert, AZ; her namesake cousin and goddaughter, Frances (Unni) Sreekumar of Gilbert, AZ; nephew Richard Michael Riley of New York, NY; nephew Patrick (Lois) Riley of Joilet, IL; four great nephews/nieces; 5 great-great nephews/nieces one named Riley Frances. Also surviving are close cousins Janice (James) Henss of Mt. Pleasant, IA; Delores (John) Daniel of Aurora, CO; Carol (Richard) Benne of Burlington, IA; and Ronald Davis of Novato, CA. She also leaves behind her special “nephews at heart” Leonard (Mary Ellen) Porter PhD of Auburndale, FL and Ross Edward (Jovanna) Porter of Hendersonville, NC who grew up knowing Fran and Ed as a second set of parents.
In addition to her husband and parents, proceeding Fran in death are beloved in-laws Charles and Irma Riley, Richard and Mildred Riley and Barbara Behrens; special cousins Robert and Betty Carlson, Donald Carlson, Florence and Maurice Davis and Carl Lovdahl as well as “too many to count” loving friends that will welcome her voice to the heavenly choir.
Funeral services will be at Cumerford-Clary Funeral Home in Peoria, IL on Saturday, March 6th at 10 AM. A one hour visitation will proceed the service from 9-10 AM. Pastor Craig Swenson of Salem Lutheran will be officiating. Burial services will be held at Andover Township cemetery in Andover IL at 1:30 PM. Masks are required and attendees are expected to follow all Covid-19 protocols. For those unable to attend, there will be an opportunity to view Fran’s service online at the Cumerford Clary Facebook page.
Memorials may be made to Salem Lutheran Church in Peoria. The family would like to thank Transitions Hospice and Generations at Riverview for their loving and devoted care. Both organizations have gone above and beyond supporting Fran’s family and friends during unprecedented challenges. They threaded the needle of providing Fran as much comfort and contact as possible while adhering to statewide protocols. Fran’s loved ones are truly grateful.
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Salem Lutheran Church
1700 W War Memorial Dr, Peoria IL 61614