Heaven is where you have ever-laughing life.
  • 80 years old
  • Born on May 24, 1933 in Kentucky, United States.
  • Passed away on February 26, 2014 in North Dakota, United States.

It is with sorrow and rejoicing that we announce that John David Riley stepped into heaven to be with his beloved Lord Jesus in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. His whole life was "constrained by the love of Christ" to show those for whom his heart ached and bled the Way to redemption and hope. He always managed to interject his testimony and witness into even the most obscure conversations. He was funny, enjoyed word-play, and was a jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-them-all. He dearly missed his sweet wife, Annie, who preceded him into death in 2011. Their eventful lives were filled with blessings and hardship. It is with thankful hearts that we know they are at peace and resting in the arms of a Great Big God.

A Memorial Service will be held Friday, March 7, 1:00 p.m. at 1st Assembly of God Church, 3401 25th St. S., Fargo, ND  58104.  RSVP on Facebook to Judyth Grover, Teresa Buckingham or Susan Riley; or send an email to jegrover1@hotmail.com.

Flowers and cards may be sent in care of Judy Grover, 107 Ames Ave., Harwood, ND  58042.

A memorial fund has been established with World Gospel Mission to continue the work to which David and Annie Riley devoted their lives.  To donate, send a designated check to 3783 East State Road 18, 3783, Marion, IN 46952, or call (765)664-7331 to contribute by credit card over the phone.

Posted by Martha Kirkpatrick on 26th February 2017
What I remember most about David Riley is his memorable quotes. I hope I haven't already sent this memory in 2014. My husband was the person who looked on the bright side when all seemed dark to others. One day when David came to Mweya to pick up their children from board school because the country was unsettled and nationals were fighting, David stopped at our house and said, "Well, I see my pessimism is winning out!" You see, Jim was the eternal optimist and David called himself the eternal pessimist. I think we'll all be optimists when we get to heaven and get to be together again!
Posted by Lois (Riley) Norden on 2nd March 2014
I will never forget my loving, caring big brother.He was always checking up on me when David, Paul, Tom & I were in boarding school in Port Shepstone, Natal, South Africa. He was concerned that I didn't get too homesick, & that I was safe & didn't need anything. His knowledge of languages stayed with him. Recently I called to ask him what a Zulu word, that had just popped into my head, meant. He said that means strength, like the strength God gives us when we have to endure very difficult times. He and Annie went through so much. Love to their Godly children, Judyth, Teresa, Susan, Eric and their families.
Posted by Cindy Hood on 2nd March 2014
I remember as a child proudly letting everyone know that MY Aunt and Uncle were missionaries! What a special designation awarded to two incredibly gifted and dedicated servants of God. I will forever cringe at the pain that Annie lived with for decades and observe David's faithfulness to her. To that marriage were born unbelievably gifted children and I stand in awe of each of you. I have so many fond memories of your mother and dad and can say that I never saw them without a smile of their faces. Life most likely was never easy for them but they were faithful, loving servants and reached many people with their love and support - teaching, feeding, providing for the furtherance of God's kingdom. The days ahead will be flooded with memories, laughter and tears. I pray each of you peace as your say your final goodbyes on earth and await a great reunion one day! Love you all!
Posted by Ginna Scott on 1st March 2014
Aunt Annie & Uncle David are amazing! I am so blessed to have known them both. My mom told the story of the government wanting to teach Flemish in the schools. many organizations were in a panic. but the Friends had David Riley: he had grown up in S Africa & knew Flemish well! when the inspectors came around, expecting to close down the Protestant schools = there they were, totally up to & beyond the government regulations! I also recall that there had been many robberies in the Buja area & the police came to Uncle David & Aunt Annie asking for help. Uncle David made a big deal in a public area (a restaurant? the local duka?) about having the mission money on hand & being worried about his safety. Aunt Annie & the kids left the house, some cops took up residence in a bathroom & back bedroom. sure enough, the robbers came around demanding the money. down the hall, past the splashing in the bathroom (oh, my wife is in there taking a bath), into the back bedroom. and the robbers were surrounded & captured! a visit to the Riley's included hugs, fresh baked goodies, funny stories, new kittens . . . whether in Burundi or Kansas. love & prayers to each of you: Eric, Susan, Judy, & Teresa and your families. Ginna (Orcutt) Scott
Posted by Martha And Jim Kirkpatric... on 1st March 2014
My husband Jim and your father Dave always teased each other about Jim's being the eternal optimist. Once when war was going on in 1972, your parents came to Mweya to pick you up from boarding school. Your dad came to our house and said, "Well, Jim, I see my pessimism is winning out." That became an often quoted statement. Thank God for people like your parents that persevered even when life was difficult! They will be rewarded! We loved them, and they loved us!
Posted by Thomas Riley on 1st March 2014
David was a faithful and caring brother. He looked after me when I was helpless and taught me a lot about mechanics. I feel blessed to have have had the assurance he was there when I needed him. He sometimes rode a bicycle with me when we went home from Port Shepstone to Umzumbi for the week end.

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