Emmett Gene Riley was born Jan. 19, 1921, eight miles East of Rochford. He was the son of Thomas and Eva Riley and the grandson of James M. and Ellen Rose Riley, settlers from Nebraska who came to the Black Hills in late 1870.
Emmett attended Gimlet Creek School through the eighth grade and grew up in the Rochford, Mystic and Pactola areas. At the age of 16 he left home and worked as a ranch hand in Eastern and Western Montana and in 1941 he worked for a logging camp Northwest of Hulett, WY.
On Sept. 2, 1942 he entered the Army Air Corp at Sundance, WY. During his service time he was stationed on several islands - New Caledonia, Figi Island, Guadacanal, Island of Morotai and the Island of Samar in the Philippines, just to name a few. He left the Philippines en route to Fort Leavenworth, KS, where he was honorably discharged on Dec. 18, 1945.
Emmett moved to Belle Fourche, SD in the fall of 1946 and worked in construction off and on until 1948. He had his own trucking business until 1955 and was self employed in various other businesses throughout his life. He married Dawn Anderson on March 6, 1949.. Born to this union was a son, Zane.
He and Zane purchased a masonry sand business in 1973 and in the spring of 1975 they formed Riley Sand and Ready Mix Inc. In 1990, they expanded the business with a plant in Spearfish and in 1996 they sold the business and Emmett retired at the age of 75.
He was active in the VFW Post 3312 and in 1959 became Post Commander. He also became District 10 Commander from 1963 to 1964.
He was a very fortunate man, as he had a loving wife for 50 years and traveled extensively all over the world in and out of the military. He took several return trips to the WWII sites, the South Pacific Islands and attended the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Guadacanal. He also traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, North Africa and Ireland. He also accomplished his dream of parachuting in 2001 at the age of 80.
Emmett went on numerous four wheeling adventures in his old stomping grounds in the Black Hills with many of his great friends (Oh, what memories).
Emmett enjoyed meeting people and was an avid reader and had a photographic mind. He will be remembered for his flamboyant speech and personality and his ability to tell stories. He worked hard and played hard, was opinionated but fair to the end in dealings with all people.