American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

George H. Riley, 1912-1972

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1973

GEORGE H. RILEY 1912-1972

George Riley died in Philadelphia on April 22, 1972, at the age of 60. He was born on his parents’ farm near Newtown, Bucks Co., in 1912, graduated from Richboro High School and took courses at the Palmer Business School. For a time he was a reporter for the Daily Intelligencer, Doylestown. He joined the staff of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin in 1930 and was a police reporter for several years. After World War II he was assigned to the Church and Education Department and became religious editor in 1957. He had an extensive knowledge of church matters of all denominations and covered many religious conventions throughout the country. This knowledge and a genial, outgoing manner made him close friends in the Bulletin staff, by whom he was known as the “Deacon” or the “Bishop.” For many years he was a lay reader in the Episcopal Church. He never married.

His interest in outdoor life began in boyhood. He hiked in the Neshaminy area and, in 1939, ascended Longs Peak in Colorado. Whenever time permitted he would take off for the high places, his car jammed with blankets, camera, ropes and climbing gear, a frequent companion being our late member Victor Fritz. In 1940 he attended the camp of the Alpine Club of Canada and climbed one of the peaks of Mount Lyell.

During World War II he served in the U.S. Mountain Troops, training with the 87th Mountain Infantry in the Leadville, Colo., area. He was in the Aleutians in 1943 and saw combat duty with the mountain troops in the Apennines in 1945, a year when he had leave for skiing in the Dolomites and to ascend the Gross Glockner.

He returned to the Bulletin after the war, combining reportorial duties with visits to the West. He visited the Sangre de Cristo Range, Zion National Mounment and, in 1948, was on Saint Arapahoe Peak and the First, Second and Third Flatiron Peaks. In this season he also ascended Ice Pinnacle and Storm Point (St. John Range) in the Tetons, as well as Gannett Peak of the Wind River Range. At a later time he revisited Canada and climbed Mount Assiniboine.

His memberships included the Philadelphia Press Association, American Alpine Club (1949), Appalachian Mountain Club, Alpine Club of Canada and the Philadelphia Trail Club.

J. Monroe Thorington

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.