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Catherine (Kitty) Cain Riley passed away gently on November 18, 2022. She was 99 years old and spent her entire life in Bel Air. She was a greatly loved and much respected businesswoman and was honored as a Harford Living Treasure.
Kitty was born on Feb. 10, 1923 at the Wren Box on Gordon Street in Bel Air to Rebecca Webb and James Harry Cain. She is a descendant of the Streett, Baldwin and Lippincott families. Kitty graduated from Bel Air High School in 1940 and was the Class Secretary.
Having lost her father at an early age, she knew hard work first at the Acme and later the Harford Gazette. During the war, Kitty worked at Aberdeen Proving Ground. In 1942 Kitty married F. Worth Riley of Pleasantville. Their wedding was on Memorial Day since that was the only day Worth had off from building airplanes at Martins. The wedding was at her Uncle Winfield Cain’s on Roland Avenue. She and Worth moved into a cape cod on the same street and resided there for 70 years.
After the war, Kitty worked for Dr. Charles Richardson and Dr. James McCosh. In the 1950s she went to work for Paul Glackin Real Estate and oversaw his rental properties. In 1973 Kitty started her own business doing secretarial and bookkeeping work.
Kitty Finally sold her business and retired at the age of 86. For more than 30 years she shared an office with her daughter Senator Cathy Riley on Office Street.
Mrs. Riley was a caring member of her community and served as a Girl Scout Leader, volunteer for the Cancer Society, Heart Association and Red Cross among others. She was a long time Sunday School teacher, member of the Vestry and Senior Warden at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Kitty was a proud Democrat, first working the polls for her Uncle Winfield and then active in her daughter’s many campaigns. She served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Third District Democratic Women.
Kitty was a member of many bridge clubs and noted for being able to make three no trump out of almost any hand. She and Worth were also members for over 50 years of the Mt. Gretna Group. They were 8 couples of dear Bel Air friends that supported each other and vacationed together each Labor Day weekend in PA and later at the Riley’s beach house in Bethany.
In the 1960s Kitty and Worth started buying old houses to renovate. Working together, they built a substantial portfolio of rental properties. For over 40 years Kitty did the planning, renting, and managed tenant issues while Worth did the hands-on reconstruction. Neither had a pension and they decided these properties would be theirs. They were hardworking, wise people.
Mrs. Riley was predeceased by her husband Worth, her parents and sister Anne Cain Rhodes. She is survived by two daughters, Rebecca R. Puente, former long-time Bel Air Elementary School Nurse and former Senator Catherine I. Riley. In addition, she deeply loved her three grandsons, Mark (Alice), Philip (Amy) and Jeffrey (Mindy) Puente and five great granddaughters, Becca, Ellie, Megan, Kate and Claire. She will be missed by her many nieces, nephews and cousins, and by the many people whose lives she touched.
Kitty Riley loved life and loved people. She embraced The Golden Rule and did her best to live by that creed.
For the last 10 years, Kitty has been at Lorien Assisted Living in Bel Air. She built a strong bond with so many caregivers who helped her make it to 99. She and her family particularly thank Nikki Wilder, Sabrina Walker, Abby Johannes, Cara Coley, Tamika Havell, Netra Adderly, Tiffany Green, Melissa Adams and Jackie Johnson. Each of them loved and respected our mom and she felt just the same.
For those wishing to send memorials, please forward them to the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Habitat for Humanity, or Harford County Humane Society in honor of her beloved Smokey.
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
3:00 - 7:00pm (Eastern time)
McComas Family Funeral Homes (Bel Air)
Thursday, December 1, 2022
Starts at 11:00am (Eastern time)
Emmanuel Episcopal Church
St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church Cemetery
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