Memorable Manitobans: John Herbert Riley (1885-1960)
Businessman, municipal official.
Born at Winnipeg on 1 September 1885, son of Robert Thomas Riley and Harriet Murgatroyd (1844-1902), he worked in the claims department of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and later for the Great West Life Assurance Company at Halifax (Nova Scotia), Grand Forks (North Dakota), and Winnipeg.
His father organized the Northern Trust Company in 1903 and he joined the firm as an estates officer in 1907, rising to become President of the firm. When it was purchased by the Montreal Trust Company, he became Chairman of the Winnipeg advisory board. He was also a Director of the Canadian Indemnity Company, Canadian Fire Insurance Company, J. M. Sinclair Limited, Westeel Limited, and Dominion Canners.
On 29 November 1911, he married Ivy Eleanor Collum (1888-1968, daughter of Simon James Collum) and they had two children: Eleanor Collum Riley (1918-1988, wife of Allan S. I. Palmour) and Harold William Riley (1916-1947, husband of Sheila O’Grady). He was a member of the St. Charles Country Club (President, 1934-1935) and Manitoba Club. He served as Reeve of the Municipality of Fort Garry (1924-1925).
He died at Winnipeg on 15 October 1960 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Winnipeg businessman J. H. Riley dies at 75,” Winnipeg Free Press, 17 October 1960, page 4.
Obituary [Ivy Eleanor Riley], Winnipeg Free Press, 23 February 1968, page 29.
Obituary [Eleanor Collum Riley Palmour], Winnipeg Free Press, 19 May 1988, page 68.
We thank Susan Riley for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 26 June 2021