Miss Maxine Riley touched lives in Tucumcari

Lynn Moncus

Last week, Mrs. Kathryn Stephenson of Edmond, Okla. called to report the death of her dear cousin, Miss Maxine Riley, 95 of Brookfield, Mo.

Many of you will recall Miss Riley and the many years she worked at City Hall in Tucumcari. She and one or two other people took care of city business when we were really a city and long before computers were popular. As Deputy City Clerk, Miss Riley used pencil, pen, adding machines, and standard typewriters to tend to the business of the city, including sending out all utility bills. She also took the payments, even when the customers interrupted her tasks.

No matter how busy she was, she appeared to be calm, was friendly, and took the time to chat should anyone want to talk for a while. Always beautifully groomed, Miss Riley was a lady wherever she appeared and was highly respected by those of us who knew her. Her professional approach to the work at City Hall was noted by all who entered there and was appreciated by the city employees in the various departments. Her knowledge of the work and of the business of our city drew acclaim from the mayor and commissioners as well as from the other citizens.

Mrs. Stephenson spoke lovingly of her cousin as she recalled the years during which they roomed with Mrs. Mionette Harrison, the chorus teacher in the Tucumcari schools. She mentioned that although they had not grown up together, they became very close as soon as Miss Riley moved here from Missouri. She talked about the great times the three friends had at Mrs. Harrison’s home and the later adventures they had before Miss Riley’s retirement and return to Missouri.

While talking to a number of Miss Riley’s friends last week, all mentioned how highly they regarded her. The younger ones recalled how kind she was to children wherever she met them and how much time she would spend with them during Sunday school and church. Almost all recalled that she spoke to all as an equal, never trying to be better than the next person. Most also remarked about her friendliness, whether at. work or at social gatherings.

We were very fortunate to have such an outstanding person in our lives. She set a wonderful example for each of us to follow and made each of us feel pleased that we had the opportunity to know her.

Although she moved back to Missouri, she returned to Tucumcari frequently to visit friends and relatives as long as her health would permit. She was buried in Brookfield, but we know that part of her heart always remained in her second home.

Lynn Moncus is a resident of Tucumcari and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun at 461-1952.