Cover photo for John B. Riley's Obituary
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John B. Riley

May 21, 1949 — January 19, 2024


John B. Riley

John Bennett Riley, 74, of Overland Park, Kansas, passed away on January 19, 2024, at Overland Park Regional Hospital.

John was born to Edmund and Corinne Riley on May 21, 1949, in Omaha, Nebraska. He grew up in Liberty, MO with his three sisters.

He graduated from Liberty High School in 1967 and went on to receive his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Missouri Rolla (now Missouri S&T). It was during his time at Rolla that he met the love of his life, Sally (Shunk) at a sorority party. John married Sally on June 27, 1970 in Springfield, MO. Together, they raised their two sons, Brandon and Travis. 

John was extremely active in his boys’ lives, leading many Scout adventures, coaching soccer, and attending school activities. He was often deemed the fun dad and relished any opportunity to be goofy. 

In 2018, John earned his proudest title of grandfather to Bennett. John jumped at every opportunity to exchange knock-knock jokes, play games, shoot hoops, play and watch soccer games, and trade bear hugs with Bennett.

John had a successful career as a Mechanical Engineer working for Black & Veatch (B&V) in Overland Park, KS. While at B&V, he returned to school to earn his Master’s Degree from the University of Kansas in 1991. He was active in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

John was involved with the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) since the mid-1990s. He participated in various technical committees, even serving as Chair of the Industrial Air Conditioning Committee. He provided technical input in ASHRAE’s Application Handbook.  He participated in various Standards Committees, and even dedicated his free time during his retirement to work on standards that are nationally adopted in the design of industrial facilities. 

In retirement, John stayed involved in ASME, found a passion for genealogy, enjoyed the Kansas City Lyric Opera, volunteered at the Folly Theater, and attended KC Current, Sporting KC, and Royals games. John submerged himself in the world of roses, becoming very active in the American Rose Society (ARS). He served in various board positions for the Kansas City Rose Society and had been the ARS Central District Director for the past three years. In addition to his own rose garden, he was often helping with the care of the Municipal Rose Garden in Loose Park in Kansas City, MO.

John was preceded in death by his parents; his sister and brother-in-law, Sandy and Charlie Tibbets; his brother-in-law Kenneth Shunk.

He is survived by his wife, Sally; son Brandon of Overland Park; son Travis (Cara) and grandson Bennett of Olathe, KS; sister Karen (Steve) Powlesland of Tucson, AZ; Robin (Mark) Fulcher of Tucson, AZ; and numerous nieces and nephews.

John was a friend to all. He will be missed for his love, his sense of humor, and his constant willingness to give time, energy, and advice to anyone who asked. 

A Celebration of Life will be held from 2:00pm - 4:00pm on Friday, March 8 at Johnson County Funeral Chapel in Overland Park, KS.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be given to the ASME Foundation, Kansas City PBS, or Kansas City Rose Society.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John B. Riley, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Friday, March 8, 2024

2:00 - 4:00 pm (Central time)

Johnson County Funeral Chapel

11200 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, KS 66210

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