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Margaret Ishee Riley

Margaret Ishee Riley was born outside of Laurel, Miss. to Chester and Inez Ishee.

While in high school, she looked across to the adjoining junior college and saw the young man to whom she would be married and share 59 years. Margaret and Bill “Howard” would have two children, Denise and Bill Jr. She took pride in her children’s accomplishments and loved to hear them sing. Margaret’s life would center on family and creative activities. Margaret enjoyed painting, arranging flowers and designing her Oxford home’s yard and gardens with Howard. Howard and Margaret would go one to be awarded Oxford Garden Club’s “Yard of the Month” numerous times, as well as being featured in Mississippi Magazine.

Margaret also discovered her talent and love for catering and event planning. Her catering company was often booked over a year in advance by brides wanting her to make sure she would save their wedding date. Margaret continued to cater for over two decades, during which time her relationship with her best friend, Izetta Berringer, began. Izetta was with the family, helping with Margaret’s care throughout her transition to hospice and Margaret’s death.

Anyone who knew Margaret was aware of her knack for finding the best garage sales, farms with barns to go through and bargains. This led to Margaret and Howard having several antique booths in area antique malls after Howard’s retirement. Very few of those who knew Margaret were aware of her enjoyment of the occasional “soap opera.” Those in her Sunday school class at First Baptist Church who shared this pastime know who they are! Margaret also loved to laugh. You would never be around her very long before she told a story, perhaps including something you had done, or tell a joke made funnier by her fumbling the punch line.

Margaret loved her Lord and strove to serve him by serving others. She loved helping people. She never told anyone about her acts of kindness, but her children have often heard from those their mother touched, who told the stories of her generosity and caring.

Margaret was preceded in death by her husband, William H. Riley, Sr. and her brother, Chester Mike Ishee, of Laurel and Pensacola, Fla. She is survived by her daughter, Margaret Denise Riley of Brookhaven, Miss., and her son, William H. “Bill” Riley, Jr. of Arlington, Mass.

Margaret will be missed but leaves her friends and family with a lifetime of memories filled with fun, love and happiness. In lieu of flowers, please find someone who needs some help, some money, some food or encouragement. Meet that need while thinking of Margaret. She will be smiling on you from heaven.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 28, 2018, at Antioch Methodist Church in Laurel. Visitation will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. with graveside service immediately following. Memory Chapel in Laurel will be coordinating the arrangements.