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Don E. Riley

don riley

March 15, 1947 ~ August 8, 2022

Born in: San Antonio, Texas
Resided in: San Antonio, Texas

The journey of Don Edwin Riley began on March 15,1947 as he was born to Evelyn Marie and GC “Grover Cleveland” Riley in San Antonio, Texas. Don was the first born of the four “Riley Boys.” He accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior at the tender age of eight at Memorial Baptist Church of San Antonio. This started a faithful relationship with the Lord that would guide him through his entire life. Don had a loving, kind, gentle, humble, and tender spirit. He was always very generous, a good listener, a wonderful teacher, and always willing to help those in need.

Don began his primary educational journey in Kindergarten at St. Peter Claver Catholic School. Don then matriculated to Grant Elementary in San Antonio ISD and was placed in the second grade, putting him a year ahead of his age group. He continued on to Dunbar Junior High where he played football and ran track. He even played for the YMCA with Rev. Anderson’s “Oreos” team. Don went on to Thomas Jefferson High School in 1964, one of the top-ranking schools in the district. While at Jefferson, he
played football and was an All-District Linebacker on the Mustang Football Team.

After receiving his high school diploma, Don started his studies at San Antonio College, but the Vietnam War began, and the Army called him to duty. Don served as a Medic during his tour, and by the grace of God, he managed to survive the ordeal as a conscientious objector. When Don returned from Vietnam, he set about building his life right here in San Antonio.

Don married his childhood sweetheart, Beverly Jean Austin on June 27, 1970. Two and half years Don and his” Kitten” welcomed to the world his son Daniel Eugene.

When he found out that they were expecting his first child, Don set about finding a worthy means of providing for his family. Don began working at San Antonio Transit System. He started as a Bus Operator. After two years as an operator, Don was promoted to the role of Station Foreman. In a 42 year career,
this quiet man became a VIA Legend. Some career highlights:

• One of the first Five African Americans to serve in a management role.
• A member of the “Original Seven;”Bus Operators who went to jail during a wage dispute between the City and bus operators. Their sacrifice laid the foundation for the Amalgamated Transit Union.
• Upon his retirement, he is one of the longest tenured employees for VIA Transit.

As he was building his career at VIA, Don was also serving faithfully at his childhood church, Memorial Missionary Baptist in several roles. He was ordained as a Deacon at the church in 1972 and served in a plethora of roles: Finance Secretary, Vacation Bible School Teacher and Superintendent, as well as Sunday School Superintendent and Teacher.

In 2011, he lost his first love of 41 years, his “Kitten,” passed away in December of that year. He was faithful to the end, and the Lord allowed Don to embrace love with Velma Ruth Holland. On June 19, 2016, they united in Holy Matrimony She provided faithful love and care to Don until his sunset on August 8,2022.

Don was proceeded in death by his first love, Beverly, his mother Evelyn, his father G.C. two brothers, James and Glen. He is survived by his son Daniel, his wife Velma and brother, Grover (Yvette); three stepchildren; Barsey (Phyllis) Holland, Allen (Lori) Holland, and Tanesha Hughes; step-grandchildren, Alexander, Erinese, Markell, Nadiege, Dorain, Laliana, and Caleb; five nephews, (Paul Austin, Brandon Riley, Jeffrey Austin, DarrylAustin, David Allen; seven nieces, Ivana Marie, Theresa Williams, Dawn Riley,
Leanna Frederick, Jessica Allen, Ivana Austin, Jasmine Austin, two very special God-daughters, Sheree LeShawn Holloway and Pamela Annie Clark along with scores of great-grandchildren and extended sons and daughters around the world. His light has indeed shown brightly for all men to see.








If you are attending the services for Mr. Riley, the family is respectfully requesting that mask are worn.


Visitation: August 21, 2022 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Memorial Missionary Baptist Church
1253 Lombrano St.
San Antonio, TX United States


Service: August 22, 2022 11:00 am

Memorial Missionary Baptist Church
1253 Lombrano St.
San Antonio, TX United States


Cemetery: August 22, 2022 1:30 pm

Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
1520 Harry Wurzbach Rd.
San Antonio, TX United States


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  1. CandleImageGod was making a flower arrangement ,not just any arrangement it was an extraordinary it was like no other arrangement but as he admired his handiwork he noticed something was missing, he walked around in the garden looking and looking for the perfect flower and then it appeared one of the most beautiful flowers he had ever seen it stood tall ,proud , and with the biggest smile because it knew that it was the one that God has chosen, Mr.Don Riley was picked from amongst ,many,
    beautiful flowers after God had finished the arrangement he stood and marveled at the most beautiful arrangements that he had ever made it was Extraordinary and that flower was Mr.Don E.Riley a good and faithful flower.

  2. You were that first Big Brother fir me. I remember when you came all the way to my school from yours when you heard that I was hurt to make sure I got treatment and made it home ok. So now I know that God has come to do the same for you. Love and thankfulness I send with you my cousin. Sincerely Wardell

  3. To the Riley family: “God is our refugee and strength a very present help in time of trouble” Psalms 46:1. I am sadden to hear that Cousin Don has passed away, but I want the family to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers during your time of sorrow. Don was a wonderful, loving kind man and may he rest in peace. God bless you all, Love, Your Cousin: Ima Jean Austin Butler

  4. CandleImageMay you rest in God’s never ending peace. I pray peace and healing for your family and loved ones, in Jesus mighty name. Rest in Heaven Sir.

  5. I worked with Don for many years. He was a kind, gracious man, who I came to call a friend. He had a smile that lifted the burden from your heart and was a true Christian. God bless you Don. Sending condolences and prayer of peace and strength to Don’s family in this time.

  6. Nothing is more painful in this world than losing someone you love so dearly. You have left some wonderful memories that will never fade from their hearts 💜 may you REST IN PEACE 💜💜

    • I remember Mr.Don E. Riley when l would drive to VIA Bus Terminal, To pick up our father when his shift was through to go home. He was always there to greet me. Or if he hadn’t made it in yet. I would shoot a game of pool, until he arrived. He will be missed.

  7. Mr. Riley was among the best people to ever come into our lives at VIA. I will forever remember his pleasant attitude and kindness.

    Rest In Heaven

  8. CandleImageI have fond memories of working with Mr. Riley in the 1990s.
    My condolences.
    Your final trip home, Bro.

  9. CandleImageOne unforgettable human being I had the absolute pleasure of seeing daily. An amazing spirit. Sweet person to all. Had the patience like no other . Hard working.
    Most employees will recall him for his smile and laugh.
    What a gent.

  10. Mr. Riley was a real saint of God! A true representation of God’s spirit and graciousness here on earth. I look forward to the time I meet him again in heaven!

  11. CandleImageI was very fond of Mr. Riley. He always treated me like a daughter. Thanks for being a positive male presence in my life.

    Tonya Carpenter

  12. CandleImageI’m praying for your family. Mr. Riley was a gentle pillar who was an examr of God man. He had a servant’s heart. I look forward to seeing him on the other side. May he rest in peace with God.

  13. Don Riley was not only one of my bosses,he was my very dear friend at Via , after 35 years at Via l retired,but would call him,lor go by to see him ,My deepest Sympathy to his family

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