Virgil Riley


Virgil Lee “Tank” Riley, son of the late Virgie Riley and Lessie B. Riley, was born on June 8, 1947, in Gould, Ark.

His education included graduating from Fields High School in Gould in 1965; and AM&N College (now University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff), where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Industrial Arts Education in 1969. He furthered his studies at the University of Central Arkansas and University of Arkansas (Fayetteville).

Virgil’s life span included being a bus driver for CTA (Chicago, IL), a Laboratory Technician at International Paper, a master carpenter, and an avid fisherman.

In 1972, he joined the teaching staff of Vaster High School in Moscow, Ark. He later joined the Pine Bluff School District as an Industrial Arts and Industrial Technology Education Instructor. He retired in 2000 after 27 years of teaching. Virgil was a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, AARP, UAPB Alumni Association, National Education Association, Pine Bluff Education Association, and the National Association of Retired Teachers.

Virgil joined Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Gould, Ark., at an early age where the late Reverend John Littleton served as pastor. He served as Jr. Deacon, church clerk, and the Sunday School Superintendent. Upon moving to Pine Bluff, he moved his membership to Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church where he became a member of the Trustee Board, Finance Committee, and a member of the male choir.

Virgil was best known for the stories he would tell and being the life of the party. He thought he could feed a multitude with two fish and five loaves of bread. Although he was stingy with his fish, he was very kind-hearted and didn’t mind giving his last dollar to anyone. He was well known and loved by many.

Eternal rest was granted to him on Friday, April 26, 2013, at his home. He was proceeded in death by his brother, Jimmy Clyde; sister, Ella Lee; and nephew; Darral Lane (Sheila).

Mourning his loss yet rejoicing his life, is his wife of 29 years, Deloris Riley; his son, David Riley (Glenda) of Pine Bluff, Ark.; three daughters, Jacqueline Riley of Gould, Ark.; Tonja Tanner (Terry) of Pine Bluff, Ark.; and Yulanda Riley (Charles Rouse, Jr.) of Pine Bluff, Ark.; one sister, Stella Nash and one brother, Michael Collins, both of Denver, Colo.; nine grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, four nephews, and a host of relatives and friends.

Service will be at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, May 4, 2013, at Pilgrim MBC by Rev. Kevin Crumpton.

Burial will be in Cedar Grove Section of Graceland Cemetery by Brown Funeral Home of Pine Bluff.

Visitation/Family Hour will be Friday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the funeral home.

The body will lie in state at the church from 9:15 a.m. until time of service.

The family will be at 1503 South Nebraska Street, Pine Bluff.

Online Register: www.brownfuneralhomeandmortuary.com.