Riley Littleton Carr was born on March 15, 1937 in a stone house on a small hill at the corner of Main and Seventh Streets. The eighth child of Nicholas Burke Carr, who's legend has it had the largest hands in Laurel with which he struck mortar joints with only his fingers, and Beulah Elizabeth Hobbs, a very strong willed religious woman. He would proudly boast he was the only baby who's picture was ever on the family Christmas card. And so began the life of the man that many are proud to call their husband, their father, their grandfather, their great-grandfather, their uncle, and/or their friend.
Donna and Riley were married for more than 53 years. Most of them spent in Savage (Maryland), living next to his mother, and either up the road from his brother Burke or down the street from his sisters Peeney and Maizie. They raised two lovely daughters, Ronda and Lisa, whom he made sure knew their many aunts, uncles, and cousins; visiting them regularly, whether it was a game of pitch or poker, throwing horse shoes at a backyard cookout, sharing a cup of coffee, or simply reliving the good ole' days. He would also reflect on times he had with his young son Bunk.
He was a wonderful storyteller. He had a fantastic memory and could recall the smallest but significant details of his life with great clarity, and then magically weave them into his story. His grandchildren, Kristi, Katie, Bradley, Rileigh, Jacqui, and Jenni would sit around and listen in awe of their Poppy's stories. Riley held his family ever close to his heart.
He also treasured the many dear friendships he formed over his seventy-eight years, and with whom he made many memories. Cooper, Slim, Corkey, Burhead, Jimmy, Charlie, Doris Ann, Dickey, and John and Nancy, just to name a few. Everybody had a nickname. It was his way of making you feel welcome.
Riley had always led a very active life, even up until the day before his death. He was at the track cheering on his racehorse Quality Wise, as he finished a close second at LaurelPark. It was a life well spent and enjoyed with many happy times.
Those of us who had the privilege to know Riley, knew him as one hell of a hard-working man, who's word was all you ever needed to know the job would get done, and get done right. He was the man to get 'er done, as they say.
He took great pride in educating those who were interested in learning his craft, particularly architects and other degreed individuals on the job. He was fortunate to have, not one, but two exceptional right hand men in Tommy and Curt. One was like family, and the other became his devoted and loving son-in-law and best friend.
Riley, I'm sure, counted himself lucky to have such a caring and loving family to help nurse and care for him as the cancer progressed, and I'm also sure he gained a great deal of comfort from knowing they were there for him, as he had been in the past for them. Despite his worsening illness, Riley aka Miracle Man, as Dr. K called him, never complained about his sometimes obvious discomfort, a rare trait, indeed.
Many people come and go in our lives, but very few make a worthwhile, memorable impression. We will forever remember that contagious smile and those piercing blue eyes.
You will forever live on in our Sunshine+Roses+Memories.
Riley Carr is my grandfather, my Poppy, and I will miss him dearly. He is one of the reasons why I got involved with Racing 2 Cure and will continue to work hard for the families we help.
Poppy was, as you can tell, a hard working man that spent many hours stressing his body on job sites. When Poppy went to the doctors because he complained of back pain the doctor just said it was because of him working hard and stressing his back. Poppy, being the old-school man he was, agreed with what the doctor said and did not worry about it anymore for a few years. When Poppy started not feeling well, the doctors began testing for several things, including cancer.
By the time the doctors figured out it was cancer, Poppy was diagnosed with Stage-4 Prostate Cancer. Poppy was only given a few years to live. It was because of his hard work to keep his body healthy and fit that he lived as long as he did and fought the battle he did.
While I or my other families members did not know about about Poppy having back pain before being diagnosed until recently, there is a positive message. My family and I urge anyone having unusual pain, especially if it is reoccurring, get it checked out by your doctors. You know your body better than anyone.
- Nominated by Bradley Carpenter and Family