George Riley, a local philanthropist who helped change the face of downtown Farmington, died January 5 at Naples Community Hospital in Naples, Florida.
He was 85.
Farmington resident David Judge, a long-time friend of the family, said he has known Mr. Riley as “my friend’s father, as a businessman, and later as someone who dedicated his energy to making the world a better place.”
“He will always be remembered for his generosity, and the many projects his family funded, which will benefit many generations on a global scale,” Judge said.
Mr. Riley became nationally known as the small television repair shop he opened in 1952 grew to become Clover Technologies, Inc., a Fortune 500 company acquired in 1998 by Ameritech. When the business sold, he and his wife, Dolores, established The Riley Foundation, with the mission to promote the educational development of children.
The foundation provided cornerstone support for Riley Park, which draws scores of visitors to downtown Farmington for the Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market, Rhythmz in Riley Park summer concerts and other events.
Other local contributions have supported Riley Park Ice Rink, open during the winter months inside Riley Park; Riley Skate Park, a state-of-the-art skateboarding facility in Founders Sports Park, Farmington Hills; and Riley Archery Range inside Heritage Park, Farmington Hills.
In 2005, a $5 million gift established Detroit Public Television’s Riley Broadcast Center in Wixom, formerly the headquarters of Clover Technologies. DPTV paid tribute to Mr. Riley in 2012, on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
The foundation supports the work of Angela Hospice in Livonia and Beaumont (formerly Botsford) Cancer Center in Farmington Hills, has sent hundreds of children to a wilderness youth camp, and provided medical and tuition support for young people in need.
After his wife’s death in 2010, George and his daughter, Kimberly, established the Dolores Riley Educational Grant, which provides scholarships for Miss Farmington pageant contestants.
A funeral mass will be celebrated on Saturday, January 13, 12 p.m. (in state 11:30 a.m.), at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, 23815 Power Rd. in Farmington. The family will receive visitors at Heeney-Sundquist Funeral Home, 23720 Farmington Rd. in Farmington on Friday, January 12, at a time to be determined.
Memorial tributes are suggested to Angela Hospice. Check the funeral home website for a more complete obituary as information becomes available.