Clarence Riley

1953-2018 Wayne Robert “Clarence” Riley lost his battle to cancer on Thursday, Jan. 11, at home, surrounded by family. He was 64 years old. A celebration of life will be held at Yamaguchi Park on Jan. 27 at 2 p.m., with a potluck to follow at the Pagosa Bar. Clarence was born Nov. 29, 1953, to Frank Riley and Blanche Trujillo in Easton, Penn. Clarence was a long-time resident of Pagosa Springs, moving here in October of 1980. Between the Town House Restaurant, the Junction, Riley’s Restaurant, the Riverside Restaurant, Parelli’s and the Senior Center, he has fed many a local resident and plenty of tourists. Before coming to Pagosa, Clarence and his first wife, Carol, left Pennsylvania to chase their dream of finding Big Foot. They lived in Long Beach, Calif., for a time and then made their way to Camp Verde, Ariz., to be campground hosts at the Grand Canyon. While he lived there, Clarence fed people out of the Kaibab Lodge on the North Rim. After two summers, they found themselves in Pagosa Springs and put down roots, raising two daughters, Eliza and Sarah, in beautiful southern Colorado. In 2005, Clarence married Jeanie and gained two stepchildren, Michael and Rose. Clarence and Jeanie spent two winters living in Florida working in the kitchen for Parelli’s Natural Horsemanship. They always found themselves back in Pagosa Springs. Clarence loved doing anything outdoors. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. He loved taking rides out into the mountains and camping was always at the top of his to-do list in the summer. He loved being out in the wilderness, surrounded by beautiful scenery and wildlife. One thing that brought Clarence tremendous pride and joy was doing the setup and tear down for the Four Corners Folk Festival over Labor Day weekend and the Pagosa Bluegrass Festival in June. You could catch him backstage playing the air banjo and jamming along with the music. Clarence was a huge fan of the Denver Broncos; you could say he bled orange and blue. He religiously watched his Broncos, and didn’t care who heard or saw him shouting at or rooting for his favorite team, screaming at the opponents or flipping off the refs. F@#$ the Raiders, GO BRONCOS!! (He asked us to include that). Clarence battled cancer with grace and dignity. He always had a ready smile or a neighborly wave for everyone. He was a great father, grandpa, husband and all-around great man. Clarence will be missed by everyone who knew him. He is survived by his wife, Jeanie; children: Eliza (Jaime) and Sarah; stepchildren Michael (Randy) Quintana and Rose Quintana; grandchildren: Davian and Kyleah Coss, Riley and Joby Higgins-Miller; former spouse Carol Riley; and many close friends and extended family. He is preceded in death by his parents. Memorial contributions may be made through his GoFundMe account. “It’s the same story the crow told me, it’s the only one he knows. Like the morning sun you come, and like the wind you go.” —Jerry Garcia.

This story was posted on January 27, 2018.