In Memoriam: Fran Riley

It was in 1978 that a new reporter moved to the Quad Cities to take a job with popular local radio station KSTT. When he made this move, Fran Riley most likely never imagined he would spend the next 41 years broadcasting to us until his retirement in November 2019.

Though his first job was at KSTT working alongside future radio legend Spike O’Dell, Fran soon moved on to local television news where he would remain for the rest of his career.

He showed up on our television screens as a member of the KWQC-TV broadcasting team in 1994. He reported on a variety of subjects from sports to local stories. Fran found a special place at KWQC when he started a segment called Fran Riley Features. These segments were filled with interesting people and locations from around the Quad Cities.

Born Francis Anthony Riley in Boston Massachusetts on September 30, 1953. He was the son of John F and Grace (Avery) Riley. He attended Emerson College and graduated with honors. Fran soon began his journey after college into broadcasting that would lead him to the Quad Cities.

“The Heart of the Matter,” Quad City Time, December18, 2006, page 42

Over the years, we assisted Fran in finding information about the various topics he was featuring on his segments.

“Will the real Fran Riley please stand up?” Quad City Times, January 3, 2003, page 4.

Receiving a call that Fran was looking for information and a visit to the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Department always put a smile on our faces. We knew, besides incredible reporting skills, a visit with Fran meant smiles and laughter. It didn’t matter if it was your first time working with Fran or your twentieth, he made you feel like an old friend. That skill of connecting with those around him will be greatly missed.

To learn more about the life of Fran Riley, please read his obituary from Halligan McCabe DeVries Funeral Home and the article, “Longtime KWQC reporter/anchor Fran Riley has passed away” from KWQC.

Our sympathies go out to his family. Thank you, Fran, for sharing your kindness, humor, and love of history with us through the years.

(posted by Kathryn and Amy)

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