Remembering Ray Riley

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Dear Scecina Friends,

On Friday, Jan. 5, 2024, beloved former Scecina Memorial High School principal, teacher, and coach, Mr. Ray Riley, passed from this life to the next. Spanning decades since Scecina’s founding years, Ray Riley was, is, and always will be a pivotal leader in Scecina’s history and future.

We as a Scecina Community send our condolences and prayers of support to Ray’s wife of 62 years, Barbara (Gallagher) Riley, and their vast family, including children and Scecina alumni John (Juliette) Riley (’80), Cindy (Joe) Rosswurm (’81)Jeanne Watson (’83)Dan (Barb) Riley (’85), and Ann Marie (Tim) Goedde (’91), plus numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and beloved in-laws, cousins, nieces, and nephews.

As a married couple, Ray and Barbara Riley were role models of love and commitment rooted in the faith of Jesus Christ. A little over a year ago, when Scecina presented Barbara Riley with the Father Tom Service Award, her first words upon seeing Ray at Scecina that morning were, “My sweetheart is here!”

An alumnus of Sacred Heart High School and Butler University, Ray was a popular Scecina science teacher and football, baseball, and basketball coach in the late 1950s and early 1960s who spirited the beginnings of many Scecina traditions and then carried other ones forward as principal from 1974 to 1986. He oversaw successes such as the annual Irish Fair, the initial years of the Christian Awakening Senior Retreats, and many more.

To this day, many Scecina alumni I know from Scecina’s earliest days fondly reminisce about Ray’s faith, character, commitment, enthusiasm, belief in young people, and belief in Scecina. Ray often said, “Scecina is different,” and he meant it – because of the greatness of Scecina students, families, and educators through the years and because he helped make Scecina a different and great school through his passion and vision. Ray’s service in the United States Marine Corps likely forged a spiritual connection with our school’s namesake, Father Thomas Scecina, United States Army chaplain during World War II.

Because of his holistic teaching experience and athletic background, Ray was a school leader who understood and valued the many facets of a comprehensive high school education. He had the innate gift of supporting, affirming, and celebrating people – students, teachers and staff, volunteers, parents, and, above all, his family, of whom he was most proud. He poured his life into Scecina as a steward of his God-given gifts of time, talents, treasure, family, and prayer.

During many of Ray’s later years, he often asked me two questions. One was, “How is Scecina doing?” After the response, Ray would always punctuate that part of the conversation with the words, “Scecina is a great school.” Ray’s second question reflected his caring elder statesman role and took the form of, “Joe, are you making sure we’re doing . . .?” I can fill in those blanks with numerous Scecina projects, traditions, or Ray’s insightful ideas. His never-ending youthful energy remains a great and inspiring example.

1960 Scecina football coaches 


Front row: William Kuntz, Robert McLeish, William Sylvester. Second row: John Hurrle, William Rosenstihl, Ray Riley.

Thank God Ray Riley became a teacher, coach, administrator, and family man. Scecina carries forth today for reasons including Ray’s lifelong devotion to Catholic education including Scecina.

Calling services for Ray Riley will be on Friday, Jan. 12, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Feeney-Hornak Mortuary at 1307 North Shadeland Avenue, Indianapolis, with the funeral Mass at Little Flower Church, 4720 East 13th Street, Indianapolis, on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. The Riley family has invited memorial contributions to be made to the Ray Riley Academic Endowment in care of Scecina Memorial High School.

To Barbara Riley and your family, we thank you for the gift of Ray Riley through the years!


Joe Therber

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