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Paul B. Riley

Born: Tue., Jun. 8, 1948
Died: Tue., Jun. 23, 2020


Private services at the convenience of the family


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Music by The Piano Brothers


Paul B. Riley, born June 8, 1948 in Rome, NY died June 23, 2020 at Crouse Hospital, Syracuse, NY age 72 years. He resided in Williamstown, NY most of his life and in later years moved to Syracuse. He graduated from Altmar-Parish-Williamstown High School, attended Canton ATC, and graduated from Albany State University. He was a math teacher in Whitehall, NY then spent his career as a 7th grade math teacher at Fravor Middle School in Mexico, NY.
An accomplished musician and a maestro accordionist, Paul began accompanying his father’s fiddle playing at square dances at an early age. He later performed with his violinist sister Maureen, then with various Polka bands and the Swedish music group, “Nordavind”. He gave accordion lessens, free of charge, in order to perpetuate and preserve the legacy and love of the accordion, polkas and schottisches. He loved learning about different cultures, languages and people, was an excellent gardener and had a great appreciation for others, nature and the Earth.
He was predeceased by his parents: Ellis L. Riley in 1963 and Adora J. Finne Riley in 1987. He is survived by three sisters: Sharon (Charles Gaston) Athens, AL, Maureen (Douglas Bishop) Nashville, TN, Cynthia (Jeffrey Waterman) Camden, NY, two brothers: Peter Riley (Diane) Cicero, NY, Daniel Riley (Shelley) Pennellville, NY, a cousin: James Bray of Leicester, MA, his best friend Don Sutkowski of Manlius, NY and many nephews, nieces and friends.
At the request of the deceased, no formal services will be held. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of LaRobardiere Funeral Home, Inc., Camden, NY

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Condolence Booklet

Sandra Scott
   Posted Fri June 26, 2020
Paul was my best friend at Mexico Middle School. I could always count on him. He even let me dress him up as My Dear Aunt Sally! Math people will know what that means. The students love to have him play the accordion. I had him play at Mexico Point Park... but not enough times. Paul was often able to establish a bond with some students that did not bond with other teachers. Paul will be missed but fondly remembered.

I am including a note I received from another colleague about Paul’s passing. Ironically last night I was at dinner with Eileen Waite and Sue Mahaffy and I was telling a story about Paul from the good ol’ days and last week at a small party for Sis Petrocci’s retirement I mentioned how the retirees used to show up the first day of school with donuts etc and Paul played his ukulele!! He was such a great guy- 😊true fact he never called me by my married name- always Miss Nelson!At least we have fond memories of our years at the Middle School! May he Rest In Peace

Peg Brereton
   Posted Fri June 26, 2020
Paul and I started teaching at Mexico the same year. I always enjoyed seeing him and talking. I remained at the high school while he moved to Fravor Rd, the middle school and did not see him often. He was a good guy. RIP Paul and thanks for being a friend. 🌹

Cathy Cushman
   Posted Fri June 26, 2020
I lived across the road from Paul, in Williamstown for almost 20 years. He was one of the kindest people I ever met. He played accordion at my wedding and was a wonderful friend. He will be greatly missed.

Karly Yager
   Posted Fri June 26, 2020
I taught with a Paul for many years at Mexico Middle School. He was a dear man, and a good friend. Paul’s bulletin boards were epic! He will be missed.

Darryl & Kelly White
   Posted Fri June 26, 2020
We remember Paul’s easygoing nature, sense of humor and of course the accordion music! Fond memories that we get to keep.

Kenneth Wells
   Posted Fri June 26, 2020
Paul and I became good friends, as I was one of his students of the accordion . We met on the advice of his accordion teacher Gus.
Every Tues .he had lessons , and all I had to do is bring treats for his dog Bella . I'm sure Bella like Tuesdays as much as I . One amazing thing about Paul after 6 years of listening to all my sour notes , bad habits , he still enjoyed my trying. I still can't remember any music without looking at the books , but Paul did teach me to read music.

ROSEMARY GOETZ
   Posted Fri June 26, 2020
Paul was such a wonderful friend. We would do hall duty together and always had a group of students around us. His sense of humor was great. When I first started at MMS Paul and I ate lunch together in the cafeteria with the kids. One day a student brought in a snake and let it loose right near us. I let out a scream and Paul couldn't get his feet up off the floor fast enough. When he taught fractions and had to form reciprocals he would take a smaller boy in the class and flip him upside down to show a reciprocal. He will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, Paul.

Kathy Burt
   Posted Fri June 26, 2020
I worked with Paul at MACS when 7th and 8th grades were still in the High School building. We both taught math. When I think of him, I remember his quick smile and some of his clever creations for his classroom. I remember his accordion playing and somehow finding my way to Florence (Hotel?) on a weekend night for music. Many students and acquaintances carried rocks back from vacations all over the country to contribute to his ‘famous’ rock wall.
I’m glad that I knew him.
May you have many good memories to support you when you think of Paul.
My condolences.
Kathy (Hage) Burt

Michael & Donna Weaver
   Posted Sat June 27, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers goes out to Paul's family and friends in this time of sadness. We had the fortunate opportunity to become friends with Paul for about 6 years now. Paul used to bring in consignment items for us to sell at our store in West Monroe. Paul loved to talk and was a great man. Paul loved to search for accordion figurines for many years for his collection. We were able to find a couple of them that he did not have. Paul would look at them and know if he had it or not. Paul will be greatly missed.

Karen Meyers
   Posted Sat June 27, 2020
I feel blessed to have many happy memories of Paul from a very young age though our high school graduation. I always enjoyed when our families got together. My sincere condolences to the family. May you Rest In Peace Paul.

Cynthia Mellon
   Posted Sat June 27, 2020
The best teacher i have ever had.. I hated.math and if it was not for mr. Riley i would of never made it.. The way he taught i comprehended.. Want to say how sorry. I am and he will be missed

Richard Mitchell
   Posted Sat June 27, 2020
Cindy, Jeff, Randy, and families,

i want to express my sympathies to you all. It's difficult doing so in writing but given today's circumstances, I guess that will have to do.

I hope you all grieve peacefully, and remember Paul fondly for all the good times you all had with him.

Peace and love, Dick and Rosemary Mitchell

Keitha and Rod Britton
   Posted Sat June 27, 2020
Dear Riley Family:
Our deepest sympathy on your loss of Paul. Williamstown has lost another great man who definitely made a positive difference to our little community.

Virginia Florczyk
   Posted Sat June 27, 2020
We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the Riley family upon the passing of Paul. A steadfast person who held firmly to his beliefs. Very generous in sharing his talents from teaching in the classroom, sharing his love of music, gardening, helping those in need and his skills in the kitchen especially his strawberry/rhubarb pie.
Our mother/grandmother considered him a second son and always enjoyed his music wherever she was even in the nursing home. We as a family were honored to have him play the accordion at her funeral and celebration of life.
I was lucky enough to have a nice visit at dinner with Paul a year ago while visiting in Syracuse.
May he now Rest In Peace as his job on this earth is now done.
In sympathy and friendship,
Virginia, Michael(Jennifer), Bill(Sarah) and Suzanne Florczyk

Frederick Kucharski
   Posted Sat June 27, 2020
Rest in peace Paul, you will be missed. Thanks for the memories. Fred and Carol Kucharski

Janet Clerkin
   Posted Sat June 27, 2020
I took accordion lessons from Paul for several years. I was not his star student but I was his first and continued until he moved to Syracuse. I always thought I would resume when I retired and had more time to practice. He was a wonderful friend and very patient teacher. An excellent musician who pushed me beyond my comfort zone. He was so generous to his students, writing new arrangements for us and sharing sheet music. I found him through a letter to the editor that he wrote to the weekly paper titled "Viva L'Accordion." I always felt that was meant to be. Paul helped me fulfill a lifelong dream to learn accordion, and shared his talents with so many. My sincere sympathy to Paul's family and friends. He will be missed.

Jay Rector
   Posted Sun June 28, 2020
Paul was always happy to talk and share his knowledge on whatever subject being exchanged. Such a nice gentleman and a pleasure to get to know.

Brad Bryant
   Posted Sun June 28, 2020
My condolences to the family. Paul was a wonderful guy, patient teacher (he taught my nephews), and inspiration to many. He was so kind to visit with my mom as she aged. She always looked forward to seeing him. May he rest in peace.

Judy George
   Posted Sun June 28, 2020
I worked with Paul for many years at the Mexico Middle School. He was a special person, and a great friend.

anna marie moosbrugger
   Posted Sun June 28, 2020
Paul was a Wonderful, and very dear friend. We enjoyed many church suppers together, with other friends, and many other good times. He was a Wonderful accordion player also! I had him come over this year to one of my get togethers with friends, and we surprised a priest friend of ours with music all night, and surprised him with a birthday celebration with polish music, since he is polish. It was the Best get together I had, and Paul made it the Best! He will truly be missed by us all!

Larry Baker
   Posted Sun June 28, 2020
I am the brother of Bertha Baker. I wish to extend my sincerest condolences to the family and friends. God bless all of you in this time of grief.

David&Marilyn Costello
   Posted Mon June 29, 2020
To the family of Paul Riley, Our deepest sympathy to an outstanding guy from Williamstown.

Erin Horner
   Posted Tue June 30, 2020
From Gus Rautenberg, Paul's Accordion Teacher:

Dear Riley Family-
I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathy to you. I was so sad to hear that Paul had passed. He called me from the hospital - I had hoped and prayed that he would get better. I recently had open heart surgery with a double bypass and told him that I felt bad I couldn't visit him while he was there.

Paul took accordion lessons from me for many years. He became an accomplished and outstanding accordionist. I was very proud of him. Paul was an all around great guy who became a lifelong friend to me. Even after his lessons ended, he came to visit me at least once a week. I will truly miss Paul, our chats and his friendship.

May God Bless all of you and give you strength and comfort during this difficult time.

With Deepest Sympathy-
Gus

Dona Dixon
   Posted Tue June 30, 2020
To The Riley Family,

I imagine that Paul never expected to find someone to love the accordion as much as he did. Paul shared his time, sheet music, knowledge and love of accordion with our son, Luke. His generosity, patience and personality quickly won him a place in our lives. He became a part of our family over the years, attending birthdays, funerals, and graduations. We are saddened to lose him, but blessed to have had Paul as a friend and teacher. He will be remembered with great affection, in this house where his accordion legacy lives on.

My Sincerest condolences,
Dona(student/friend)

Luke Dixon
   Posted Tue June 30, 2020
The Saints
A Tribute to Paul Riley

There were snakes in the stone wall
that goes all the way around
And huge maples and some rhubarb
covering the ground.

There were dogs in his kitchen
either Bella, Dash, or Ellie
Waiting for a treat
and a pat upon the belly.

There were figurines on the table
and more of them in a case
And six rows of Chobani empties
to teach me button bass.

There were songs from Palmer-Hughes
from Batter Up to Tchaikovsky
And a Book 10 grad certificate
all generously given for free.

Then there were lessons after skiing
with supper at his house in between
Where we’d talk about my day at school
or what some Polish phrases mean.

Then there were homemade jigs and polkas
received at college through the mail
Titled for whatever crossed his mind
from holidays to Blossvale.

There were Roland FR-8xs for each of us –
a two-man band with no constraints
Making accordion music for hours
we’ll send off one of The Saints.


-Luke Dixon
30 June 2020

Susan Mahaffy
   Posted Wed July 01, 2020
Paul was the math teacher on my original teaching team at Mexico Middle School along with Sandy Scott and Jim Munger. I learned so much from these three friends as I began my teaching career! Paul was always so helpful to me, and an extremely kind person. I was saddened to hear of his passing and would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the entire Riley family.

Richard Babcock
   Posted Wed July 01, 2020
I had Mr. Riley as my math teacher in 1986-87. He was a great math teacher, and by far one of my favorites at Mexico. He was always willing to help everyone, and always had great stories to tell. A great positive influence that was full of knowledge and encouragement. He will be greatly missed.

Luke Dixon
   Posted Wed July 01, 2020
To the Riley Family:



The Saints
A Tribute to Paul Riley

There were snakes in the stone wall
that goes all the way around
And huge maples and some rhubarb
covering the ground.

There were dogs in his kitchen
either Bella, Dash, or Ellie
Waiting for a treat
and a pat upon the belly.

There were figurines on the table
and more of them in a case
And six rows of Chobani empties
to teach me button bass.

There were songs from Palmer-Hughes
from Batter Up to Tchaikovsky
And a Book 10 grad certificate
all generously given for free.

Then there were lessons after skiing
with supper at his house in between
Where we’d talk about my day at school
or what some Polish phrases mean.

Then there were homemade jigs and polkas
received at college through the mail
Titled for whatever crossed his mind
from holidays to Blossvale.

There were Roland FR-8xs for each of us –
a two-man band with no constraints
Making accordion music for hours
we’ll send off one of The Saints.


-Luke Dixon
30 June 2020

Carolyn (Stepien) Sabloski
   Posted Fri July 03, 2020
To the family and to my cousin Donald, My sincerest sympathy on the passing of Paul. my mom knew him and spoke so well of him -- the kindest, respectful person she always remembered who came to her many garage sales with my cousin Donald. Rest in peace Paul you have made many smiles here on earth.

Nadia Greasley
   Posted Mon July 13, 2020
We were so sad to hear about Paul's passing. He was part of our church group for a number of years and played the accordion at every service. He loved music and was very talented. He was also a sweet man who always had a kind word or a joke to share. Paul was a good man who would comfort you if this was what you needed.

I was fortunate to talk to him a couple of weeks before he passed. He sounded like his usual sweet self, but also tired and worried. I remember telling him I would call him back to check how he was doing with his treatment. It never happened.

We will miss you Paul, for you were a good friend. Rest in Peace and play the accordion to your heart's content. Farewell my friend...

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