Stella Carlene Gillespie Riley

Published 2:09 pm Thursday, November 19, 2020

June 27, 1930 – Nov. 16, 2020

Carlene entered heaven on November 16, 2020 after a lengthy illness. A graveside service will be held 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 22, 2020 in the Natchez City Cemetery under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.

She was born on June 27, 1930 in Jackson, MS, to John T. and Mayme Cooper Gillespie Jr.

Her early school years were at Barr Elementary, Enoch Jr., High, and graduation at Forest Hill High School in Jackson, MS.

After graduation, she went to work for Dr. Myers in Jackson and then Dr. Homer Whittington in Natchez. It was in Natchez where she met her husband William F. “Bill” Riley, Sr. as he was starting his law career.

Carlene was a wonderful hostess and enjoyed playing Bridge with her friends, cooking, entertaining and masterfully decorating her husband’s law office. She was an animal lover and especially loved dogs.

She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and sister. She is preceded in death by her parents, husband Bill, son Mark and great granddaughter Danielle.

Carlene is survived by her son William F. “Bill” Riley Jr., daughter Bonnie Elizabeth Riley, grand children Lisa Riley Blanchard (Shelton), William F. Riley Ill, Benjamin Lee Riley (Sonya) along with six great grandchildren. She is also survived by her loving sister Bonnie “Sis” Burgess of Madison, MS and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

She and her sister shared many wonderful memories and fun times from their childhood and into their adult life.

Carlene will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

The family would like to express gratitude to her family friends Jerry Walker and Susan Weed and her caregivers Mary Sewell and Denicsheo Davis.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at