Jane Riley Obituary

Jane  D. Riley
Jane D. Riley

November 2, 1931 - November 17, 2019
Born in Des Moines, Iowa
Resided in Des Moines, Iowa
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Her majesty, the Queen of Beaverdale, Jane Daisley Riley, departed this earth on November 17, 2019. Her reign was as impressive as it was lengthy. Her infectious smile, wicked sense of humor, and vivacious laughter will be greatly missed by all whom she encountered.

The world was graced with Jane’s presence on November 2, 1931, when she was born to Edwin Trayes Daisley and Frankie Mae Nichols Daisley in Des Moines, Iowa. Family obligations required Jane to leave her homeland for Chicago, Illinois, where she attended and graduated from Loring High School for Girls. Upon graduation, she returned to the Promised Land to attend the University of Iowa, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree, and was a member of the Delta Gamma sorority.

In 1953, Jane wed Charles Wheeler. They resided in North Carolina in the early part of their marriage, where Jane developed a love for the ocean as she watched the tide change on the sound and the storms roll in off of the open water with her faithful dog, Mimmer. Jane had four children, Susan, Wendy, Charles, and Janie, from her brief marriage with Charles.

Jane met her match and married Roger Riley in 1979. Jane and Roger’s home reverberated laughter and joy, and their door was always open for friend and family gatherings. Jane and Roger enjoyed daily walks with their dog, Ginger, nightly card games, traveling, and “wintering” in Sun City, Arizona. They were extremely competitive Wheel of Fortune fanatics. On their countless travels, Roger would sneak away and return later with a present for Jane to memorialize their trip, and Jane would later reflect, “He (Roger) really spoiled me and made me feel like a princess.” Jane enjoyed living out her golden years with a partner that matched her passion for life, commitment to family, and enthusiasm for football and tennis.

Jane’s life was marked by astounding perseverance, determination, and grace, as she raised her four children on her own while pursuing her career as a kindergarten teacher in the Des Moines Public Schools. Jane’s dedication to her students was reflected in her perfect attendance over her 32-year career in which she never missed a day of work. To many she was an enigma, she was a stickler for etiquette and manners, but she was also a forward-thinking woman challenging everyday norms and encouraging her children and her students to push the envelope and never settle. However, to those that knew her, she was known for her kindness; she was often seen handing out $2 bills to neighborhood children on their birthdays, she took time to speak with everyone she encountered, and she was the biggest cheerleader for her family and friends.

Jane’s zest for life was unmatched; she was never on the sidelines, but rather always in the heart of the action whether playing football with her son, riding horses bareback with her daughters, playing tennis with her family, or faking affection for Iowa State at Sue’s Mothers’ Weekend, where her overzealous performance of Delta Gamma cheers landed her in the hospital.

Jane loved football and faithfully cheered for her Hawkeyes at every opportunity with her trademark grumble “C’mon Hawks!” Jane’s competitive nature led her to 12 first and second place finishes over 19 seasons in her Fantasy Football league, and she proudly displayed her “Mom.com” trophy for all to admire.

Jane’s love for animals spanned over her whole lifetime. She once visited an animal shelter and was upset that the dogs did not have proper beds, so she immediately ordered 42 beds to be delivered to the dogs. Her own rescue dogs were the loves of her life, and her loyal companion, Mary, was by her side until the end.

In her later years, Jane became a rebel. She loved playing cards, she obsessively checked Vegas odds on NFL games, she celebrated 5 o’clock regularly, and to the dismay of her children, she got a tattoo commemorating her love for Roger.

Jane was a renaissance woman; she loved to read, needlepoint, and cook, but she also mastered new technology, never ceasing to amaze her grandchildren with her presence on social media and ironic use of emojis. She wore many titles during her life: teacher, wife, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend, advocate, but the greatest of these was the title of “Mom” that she earned from her ultimate masterpiece, her beloved children: Sue, Wendy, Chuck, and Janie.

Jane is preceded in death by her husband Roger, her parents, two brothers E. T. (Ding) Daisley II and David N. Daisley, and her son-in-law Greg Crouch. She is survived by her children Susan Crouch of Minneapolis, Wendy Erickson (David) of Overland Park, Chuck Wheeler (Tracy) of Des Moines, and Jane Peterson (Pete) of Urbandale, her grandchildren Jessikah Moliterno (Rick), Joe Smeltzer (Meredith), Dr. Elizabeth Erickson, Anne Crawford (Michael), Charlie Wheeler, Kathryn Driscoll (Vincent), Samuel Wheeler, and David Wheeler, her great grandchildren Oscar, Evie, and David. Jane also enjoyed the company of Roger’s children, Rick Riley and Nancy Minor, their spouses, children and grandchildren. Jane is also survived by her sisters-in-law Debbie Daisley and Mickie Daisley, and numerous adored nieces and nephews.

Services will be held at The Cathedral Church of St. Paul at 815 High St. on Saturday, November 23 at 3:00 p.m.

If you would like to make a donation in her memory, please consider giving to B.A.R.K. or donating for a memorial bench at Ashby Park.

B.A.R.K. is a nonprofit dog rescue that was close to Jane’s heart. She actively followed the work of this group and cared deeply for the animals that this group attends to. Jane, as well as several of her family members, adopted dogs rescued and cared for by B.A.R.K. Their address is 4971 Westwood Terrace, Kansas City, MO 64112.

Ashby Park was one of Jane’s favorite places. Throughout her life, she spent countless days in the park, and the park hosted numerous family tennis tournaments. In her later years, she loved to sit and watch families experience the park as she did with her own children for so many years. Jane’s family will place a bench in Ashby Park to celebrate Jane’s life and encourage those in the future to continue to appreciate the beauty of the Ashby Park. Contributions for a bench can be sent to Friends of Des Moines Parks, 1551, E. MLK Jr. Pkwy, Des Moines, IA 50317.






Celebration of Life
Cathedral Church of St. Paul
815 High Street
Des Moines, IA US 50309
Saturday, November 23, 2019
3:00 PM
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