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Riley, William Francis



  • Existence: 1884-1956

On March 20, 1884, William Francis Riley was born to Thomas and Anna Sullivan Riley in Ainsworth, Iowa. He attended public schools in Ainsworth and Washington before graduating from high school in Burlington, Iowa. Riley attended the University of Iowa where he received his undergraduate degree in 1907 and his law degree in 1909. He was the captain of the track team at Iowa.   Moving to Des Moines, he began his legal practice in partnership with Addison M. Parker. During World War One, Lieutenant William F. Riley served in the Army's legal department. Returning to Iowa after the war, Riley joined the firm of Carr, Cox, Evans, and Riley in 1922. He remained with this legal firm until 1951. During the years of the Great Depression, Riley served on Iowa's advisory committee of the Public Works Administration. From 1942 to 1945 he was a special assistant to the U.S. Attorney General Hearing Officer of the Selective Service Bureau. Always active in the professional organizations, Riley was a member of the American Bar Association's public relations committee (1948-1951) and was the president of the Iowa State Bar Association (1949-1950). In 1950, President Truman appointed him to the bench as the U.S. District Court Judge of Iowa's Southern District.   An ardent Democrat, Riley campaigned for Governor Clyde L. Herring and Senator Louis Murphy. He also supported Guy M. Gillette. Riley served as an advisor to Herring and helped write his inaugural address. However, Riley was involved in more than just law and politics. He was an outstanding Catholic layman and helped to found the School of Religion at the University of Iowa. Riley was also a sportsman. As a hunter and fisherman he was interested in Iowa's Fish and Game Commission.   William Francis Riley died in 1956 at the age of seventy-two. He was survived by his wife of forty-six years, Catherine Mary Greene Riley, and their six children.   Chronological biography   William Francis Riley [WFR]   1884 -- Born at Ainsworth, Iowa, the son of Timothy Riley and Anna (Sullivan) Riley, March 20, 1884   1907 -- Graduated A.B., State University of Iowa, Iowa City   1909 -- Graduated from State University of Iowa Law School   1909 -- Admitted to the Iowa Bar Association   1910 -- Married Catherine Mary Greene of Sioux City, Iowa, August 23, 1910. Six children resulted from this union: Mary Frances (Mrs. John J.) Lawler, Rochester, Minnesota; William Francis Riley, Jr., Tucson, Arizona; Robert G. Riley, Des Moines, Iowa; Richard Riley, Cdr., USN, Washington, D.C.; Philip T. Riley, Lt., USN, Sassebo, Japan; Catherine Barat (Mrs. Alan K.) Stewart, Jr., Phoenix, Arizona.   1922-1951 -- Practiced law in Des Moines, Iowa, with the firm of Carr, Cox, Evans, and Riley   1933 -- Chairman of the Iowa Legislative Interim Committee, 1933-1934   1942 -- Served as Assistant to the U.S. Attorney General Hearing Officer SSR   1949 -- President of the Iowa State Bar Association, 1949-1950   1950 -- Appointed U.S. District Judge of the South District, Iowa   1956 -- Died. Buried in Des Moines, Iowa, December 29, 1956

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

William Francis Riley Papers

Identifier: msc0192
Abstract Lawyer and U.S. District Judge from Iowa. Correspondence, speeches, legal materials, and subject files relating to the law, politics, and religion.