Rebecca (Becci) Sue Riley 1966-2024

A Tribute to Rebecca (Becci) Sue Riley (aka Wife, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Niece, Aunt, Cousin, Friend)

This is but a small portion of the story of Rebecca Sue Riley, written with love and memories shared by many.

It’s common to hear someone loved their family, though with Becci there was a ferocity and strength that always showed through. Even if things were rocky, you never doubted her love and loyalty. Becci was an amazing wife, mother, daughter, sister, niece, aunt, cousin and friend – and not to be left out, proud dog grandma to Harper and Echo. She was loved dearly, is already missed and will always be cherished.

Becci’s story began on Nov. 5, 1966, the firstborn child to Jimmie Lee Pagel and Judith Ann Kerbs, and older sister to Michael Todd Pagel and Jeffrey Cole Pagel (son of Jim and Bernice Pagel), and came to a close March 23, 2024, at the age of 57.

Born in Akron, Colorado, and raised in Yuma, Colorado, many of the friends Becci made in preschool were among the same classmates with whom she graduated in 1985. During her high school years, Becci met future husband, Doyle Glenn Riley, took pride in being a Yuma Indian cheerleader, and worked at the Yuma Library and Woody’s Drive In. After attending Aims Community College in Greeley from 1985-1986, Becci returned to Yuma to marry her high school sweetheart, Doyle, on July 26, 1986, with whom she spent the next 38 years.

Following their wedding, Becci and Doyle honeymooned in Pennsylvania, where on the plane they lovingly shared the same ‘barf bag’. To many this may sound gross, and really it is, though Becci loved telling the story of being newlyweds jetting off to their romantic honeymoon, when someone threw up, triggering an awful chain reaction that eventually led to them bonding in a way neither ever expected. She was still laughing when she told this story again in early March 2024, proving it made a lasting impression.

Fortunately, the honeymoon improved from there, and they returned to Yuma where they lived on the Riley family farm, before moving to their home at 203 S. Ivy Street. Becci spent the early years of their marriage working at Baby Bear Hugs (1987-1990) and perfecting the ‘Riley Pot Roast’ and was incredibly excited to upgrade her job title to Fulltime Mom when son, Jordan Michael Riley, was born on June 19, 1991.

Pursuing one of their dreams, Becci, Doyle and Jordan moved to Vernon, Colorado, in 1997, where they resided and farmed for 23 years. They were blessed with another dream-come-true on Feb. 3, 2004, when they adopted daughter, Britney Ann (birthdate Sept. 13, 1999).

Life on a farm was never boring, and Becci kept busy being a mom; fostering several children; bookkeeping; taking meals to Doyle in the field; talking on the phone; and hosting extended family game nights, holidays, BBQs and celebrations. It was in this home, with spectacular views of the sunrise and sunset, where laughter and tears were shared; their children grew up; pets were loved; 4H animals were raised; kids zip lined through the backyard; 4-wheelers were driven; and according to Doyle, perhaps an accident or two along the way, sometimes involving 
a telephone pole.

Amidst the happiness, it was also in this home that Becci began to lose her eyesight, a complication of diabetes, and her true strength and courage emerged. Becci always had a way of finding the good in difficult times and accepted this phase of her life with dignity, never complained and would even respond with good humor when others would say, “Did you see that?” She never wanted the focus to be on her and always asked, and genuinely cared, how others were doing or feeling, often putting them first, before her own needs. Despite these struggles, Becci approached each day with resilience, thoughtfulness and concern for others, and a smile that could light up the darkest room.

In 2020, Becci and Doyle built a house on land near her dad, step-mom, and brother Jeff’s homes, a few miles north of Yuma. While the move was bittersweet, they appreciated being closer to family and town. Becci especially enjoyed living near her nieces, Sophia and Addilyne, and nephew Barrett, who she said often showed up at their house barefoot and ready for a snack, having somehow successfully crossed the sticker-ridden field from their dad’s house.

A common theme when speaking to others about Becci was her unconditional love for her family, sense of humor, sass and spunk, and of course, those beautiful dimples when she smiled. Quick-witted and kind, bold and strong, stubborn and loving, Becci wasn’t afraid to let you know what she thought. She said it like it was, without reservation. And quite often, she was right, which, with love in her heart and dimples showing, she wasn’t afraid to remind you of down the road.

Without a doubt, Becci’s pride and joy was her family. She loved talking about Jordan’s career in the medical field, Britney’s many artistic accomplishments and her grand dogs, which she laughingly admitted she used to tease others about until she became a dog grandma herself.

Becci was a true Yuma Indian’s and Wray Eagle’s fan (which most of us know don’t usually go arm-in-arm) and later added CSU, University of Wyoming and Cincinnati Bengals (Who Dey!) to the list. She was fun, fair, honest and kind-hearted. She leaned heavily on her faith to pull through hard times and often reminded those close to her to pray for guidance and would say, “It’s in God’s hands now.” Her favorite color was purple. She loved Christmas; being a wife and mom; cooking for her family; spoiling her pets; her China dishes from her mom and grandma Hay; playing dominos, Rook and board games; warm fuzzy socks and cozy cardigans. She collected Precious Moments and was a master Texas sheet cake baker, which she always made for her kids’ birthdays. The patio was one of her favorite spots, where she enjoyed the warmth of the sunshine and taking in the sunsets, and as she liked to say, ‘chillaxing!’

As a little girl, Becci was very fond of her imaginary friend, Hoatsy. Once, at a family dinner, someone started to sit down, and Becci shouted, “Don’t sit on Hoatsy!” If memory serves, she once cried that they had left Hoatsy behind, and her dad had to turn the car around to get him.

The older sister of two brothers and eldest of nine Pagel cousins, she was the leader of the pack. Dare we say maybe even a touch bossy at times? She once posted on Facebook that she considered herself lucky to grow up with cousins who felt like siblings. Spending summer Sundays at Bonny Dam, crowding into Grandpa and Grandma Pagel’s house, and vacationing in California, with all cousins sporting matching Hawaiian shirts made by Grandma, will always be treasured memories.

There weren’t many things Becci didn’t like, though she wasn’t fond of being cold, spicy food and snakes. The wind made her sad, hail made her mad and dirty windows were something she didn’t have much tolerance for.

Becci is preceded in death by her mom and step-dad, Judith and Chris Kerbs; parents-in-law, Loren and Althea Riley; grandparents, Leonard and Betty Pagel, and Leah and William Hay; brother-in-law, Danny Riley; and many beloved pets. Loved ones who will miss her include her beloved husband, Doyle Riley, son, Jordan Michael Riley (Hoxie, Kansas), and daughter, Britney Ann Riley (Wray); dad and step-mom, Jim and Bernice Pagel (Yuma); brothers, Mike Pagel (Fort Collins) and Jeff Pagel (Yuma); sisters- and brothers-in-law, Melody Glover (Bill); Rick Riley (Brenda); Peggy Brophy; Amy Walters (Steve) and Crystal Yearous (Dean); and a large extended family.

They say all good things come to an end — but we don’t believe that’s true. So much of who we are can be credited to Becci, each of us is better because of her, and that legacy will carry on forever.

“Mothers really never die, they just keep the house up in the sky. They polish the sun by day and light the stars by night, keep the moonbeams silvery bright and in the heavenly home above, they wait to welcome those they love.” – Helen Stein

Becci, may you see every sunrise and sunset forevermore. We love you.

The Memorial Service will be held Thursday, April 11, 10:30 a.m., at the Nazarene Church in Yuma, Colorado. The interment will follow at the Yuma Cemetery, directed by Baucke Funeral Home.