In Memoriam: Robert Riley

Author: Carol C. Bradley

Robert Riley Robert Riley

The campus community is saddened by the loss of Robert B. Riley, 50, who died unexpectedly Monday, Oct. 10. Riley, a senior audit consultant in Audit & Advisory Services, had intended to travel to Haiti in November with Habitat for Humanity and the Jimmy and Roslyn Carter Work Project to build homes in Leogane, the epicenter of the earthquake. Mark Miller, brother of Riley’s friend and former wife Jamesen Miller, will fill Riley’s spot in Haiti. Visitation with the family will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23 at Morris Inn.

Says Roger Mahoney, chief audit executive in Audit & Advisory Services, “Robert was very proud to work for the University of Notre Dame and he was truly committed to supporting the University’s mission. We will always remember Robert for the great work that he performed in Audit & Advisory Services, and for the volunteer work that he did, including the cyber safety training that he provided to area middle schools. Robert was an inspiration to us because he continuously found ways to help make the world a better place. We will miss him dearly.”

Riley is survived by his daughter Danielle S. Riley, 8, and her mother Jamesen “Jamie” Miller of Granger. Donations in Riley’s may be made to Habitat for Humanity International by calling 800-422-4828 ext. 7530, and specifying that the donation is for Robert Riley, Carter Work Project.

The following story is reprinted with permission of the South Bend Tribune:

South Bend Tribune Staff Writer
October 15, 2011

SOUTH BEND — Robert Riley was going to remember those who supported his plans to work in Haiti with Habitat for Humanity.

“There is a nail with your name on it, and I will pound it in for you” he wrote to those who donated on his behalf.

But the 50-year-old Riley, so eager to help build homes for earthquake victims in Haiti, died unexpectedly Monday. After learning of the death of his friend and colleague at the University of Notre Dame, David Seidl said, “I can only hope that someone can go in his place to swing the hammer that had his name on it.”

As it turns out, someone will.

Mark Miller, of Hinton, W.Va., the brother of Riley’s friend and former wife, Jamesen Miller, has agreed to fill Riley’s spot in Haiti.

“I thought he was a good candidate to take Robert’s place,” Jamesen Miller said.

Mark Miller will be one of 400 volunteers in the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project Nov. 5-12 in Leogane, Haiti, building 100 homes. In all, Habitat plans to build 500 earthquake-resistant homes there.
Riley, in an interview for a Tribune story published Oct. 2, said he looked forward to “working alongside people who need a decent, affordable place to live.”

He had reached $4,000 of the $5,000 Habitat volunteers were required to raise for the trip, according to Jim Williams, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph County.

“It was obvious that Robert enjoyed working with Habitat,” Williams said. “He relished the opportunity to help someone become a homeowner; and he was really looking forward to going with us to Haiti.”

Williams and affiliate board president Chris Garber will be making the trip to Haiti that week, along with local Habitat pioneer LeRoy Troyer, of South Bend, who will be participating in his 27th Carter Work Project.

Riley, a senior information technology audit consultant at Notre Dame, had been volunteering with Habitat locally for three years.

After an earthquake devastated in Haiti in January 2010, Riley indicated an interest to join any Habitat for Humanity rebuilding effort in that country. He learned this summer that he had been accepted with the Carter project.
He is survived by his daughter, Danielle S. Riley, 8, and her mother, Jamesen “Jamie” Miller, of Granger.

Jamesen said it is gratifying to see the support Riley had in the community.
“I loved him dearly,” she said. "We were attempting to heal from a broken marriage, but I’m grateful to all these people who had so much appreciation for him and what he was trying to accomplish.

“So many people supported him here.”

Those who want to remember Riley by donating in his name to Habitat for Humanity International can call 800-422-4828, ext. 7530, and specify the donation is for Robert Riley, Carter Work Project.