Colleen Kay Riley, 74, of the Town of Gibraltar, passed away after a courageous 31-year battle with MS on Monday, October 12, 2020 at the Door County Medical Center in Sturgeon Bay, with her beloved husband by her side.
She was born September 22, 1946 in Neenah, daughter of the late Donald Joseph and Dorthy June (Collins) Riley. After graduating from Menasha High School with the Class of 1964, she attended Carrol College and obtained her bachelor’s degree in medical technology in 1968. During college, she managed Parkgate Drive In (now Wild Tomato) in Fish Creek. Colleen began her professional working career as a medical technologist at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton. In 1974, she moved to Reno, Nevada and then to Fargo, North Dakota and continued to work as a medical tech. When she returned to the Valley, she began taking classes at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh, where she received her master’s degree in accounting. With that, Colleen became a CPA and co-owner of RSI Trucking until her retirement in 1998. Her favorite pastime and hobby was sailing, where she met her future husband, Gary McNinch. The two were wed in Appleton on February 29, 1984. Together, they enjoyed racing sailboats, sailing through the Bahamas, and downhill skiing in Utah and Colorado. When Colleen was younger, she loved to ride her horse, hike, water-ski, and garden. Although she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 43 and was later wheelchair bound for 15 years, it didn’t stop her from enjoying life – her energy and spirit was boundless. Luckily enough for her, she had a husband and brothers who rigged a bosuns seat and pulley to transfer her from pier to their sailboat, named Colleen K, so she could still go sailing. Her love for animals led her to have many throughout her lifetime, most recently her calico cat, Purrcy, and Siberian Husky, Keisha, who was her constant companion. Colleen was an avid card player and played Mah Jongg every Wednesday afternoon at the Northern Door YMCA. Their family had plenty of gatherings and those were very important to her.
Colleen will be deeply missed by her loving husband of 36 years, Gary McNinch; mother, Dorthy Riley; brother, Gary (Rita) Riley; sister-in-law, Paula Riley; step-brother, Tom Biebow; nieces, Casey Riley and Katrina (Jeff) Maleport; and Gary’s children and grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her father, Donald Riley; stepfather, Ken Biebow; brothers, David and Timothy Riley; and sister-in-law, Sandy Riley.
Due to COVID-19, no services will be held at this time. Memorial donations can be made in Colleen’s name to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (msfocus.org) and can be mailed to: Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, National Headquarters, 6520 N. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309-2132.
Huehns Funeral Home, Inc. & Door County Crematory LLC of Sturgeon Bay are assisting the family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Colleen may be shared with her family through her tribute page at www.huehnsfuneralhome.com.
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