Anna Mae Riley, 83, passed away on Feb. 6, 2021 at her home in Columbia Falls. Her long battle with a rare liver disease ended peacefully as she was surrounded by her family.
Anna, known as Annie to her family, was born October 6, 1937 in Bemidji, Minnesota to Eugene ‘Pete’ and Fay Strowbridge. She was the third oldest in a family of thirteen children. On March 25, 1956 at the age of 18 she married her lifelong soulmate, Don Riley, who preceded her in death just five days before their 55th wedding anniversary.
Throughout their life together, Annie and Don traveled the world. While she was not an adventure seeker, she was always supportive of and committed to her beloved husband’s love of travel as the US Air Force shuttled them around the United States, Germany, and even Iran. After over 20 years of moving and traveling, in 1973 they settled down in Columbia Falls and built the house that would be their forever home. Annie was happy to finally set down roots and have a place that would one day be filled with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Annie’s own upbringing among such a large and loving family instilled in her a great sense of compassion, kindness, responsibility, and generosity, which were evident in every aspect of her life. For several years she donated her time and efforts volunteering at the Columbia Falls Klothes Kloset. Everyone-friend, family, or newcomer—was always welcome at her table. She was renowned for her cooking and baking, skills that she joyously taught to her children, grandsons, and great-granddaughters. She was also creative and resourceful, always looking for a great bargain or interesting new project idea at yard sales and auctions where she would find objects to transform through her sewing, upholstering, and furniture refinishing talents.
Most of all, Annie loved family and all that being a part of a large family entailed. She was close to all her many siblings and her numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and in-laws. Of course, she was a loving and devoted mother and grandmother to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Annie had a remarkable memory and was known for her storytelling, which recounted the lives and events of her vast family.
She is preceded in death by her husband Don Riley, her son Robert ‘Bob’ Riley, parents Pete and Faye Strowbridge, sisters Lois Ward and Linda Weikel, brothers Johnny, William ‘Billy’, Kenneth ‘Kenny’, and Larry Strowbridge. She is survived by her daughter Cynthia Riley Augé, grandsons Peter Newbury and Riley Workman, great-granddaughters Isabeau and Alora Newbury, sisters Alice (Jim) Riley and Judy Green, brothers James ‘Jimmy’ (Jody), Fred, Randy (Debbie), and Eugene ‘Hoosier’ (Judy) Strowbridge, as well as scores of nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws.
Annie touched countless lives and will be greatly missed by so many.
No funeral services will be held at this time, but a memorial gathering will be arranged for this summer.
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