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Terrance Joseph Riley, Ph.D.

Terrance Joseph Riley, Ph.D., age 68 of 10 Magnolia Dr., Danville, and formerly of Bloomsburg, died at 2:10 a.m. Saturday, November 23, 2019 at the Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. He was born on June 20, 1951 in Flint, Michigan, son of Clarence Joseph Riley and Marie Germaine (Vanhecke) Riley. He was a graduate of St. Mary's High School in Mt. Morris, MI. He received a bachelor's degree in Philosophy from the University of Michigan in 1973, a Master's Degree in English from Michigan State University in 1979, and a Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University in 1982. He had a long teaching career and was much loved by generations of students at the former Northern State College in Aberdeen, SD; Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey; and Bloomsburg University of PA, beginning in 1990.

Terry Riley's primary area of specialization was British Romanticism, but he maintained an interest in the whole of the "long 19th century," (ie; the art and philosophy of Great Britain from about 1750 through World War I). Another large part of his career had been English pedagogy; he came to Bloomsburg in 1990 to direct the Writing Center and remained in that position for twelve years. Recent research interests included 19th century technology and the British Empire in literature.

He was pleased to work at a state university, in special hopes of encouraging 1st generation college students, as he was one himself. He was proud of his work on both department and university retention committees and continually reworked his own curriculum to make it accessible to everyone.

Other interests included listening to classical music, watching Science Fiction movies (including B-rated), all things Steampunk, gardening, driving around in the countryside trying to get lost, and walking his cat, Ruby. This photo is from the dining room on Queen Mary II, on one of his Atlantic crossings to England. He had the driest, most acerbic wit and in department meetings always had his colleagues roaring.

Preceding him in death were his parents and his sister, Constance Yerrick. He is survived by his wife, Janet M. Locke, his parents-in-law, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, several dear cousins and nieces and nephews, and many treasured friends and students. 

Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Dean W Kriner Inc Funeral Home and Cremation Service, 325 Market St, Bloomsburg, All are welcome to a memorial service for Terry at the First Presbyterian Church of Bloomsburg, 345 Market St, on Sunday, December 1, at 2:00 pm with the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth McCormick officiating, The service will be followed by a time for fellowship in the church Fellowship Hall.

If you care to give a memorial donation, you may consider Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble or Animal Resource Center of Bloomsburg, both local charities which were close to his heart. 

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Terrance Riley, Ph.D., please visit our flower store.


I was an MSU classmate of Terrance. I remember his humour and his interest in all the material we studied. He was always ready with a good comment and a keen insight.

Virginia Bemis Dec 10 2019 12:00 AM

Having earned a degree in English from Bloomsburg and as a former Editor-In-Chief of the student Bloomsburg Literary Journal, I have very fond memories of Dr. Riley. In classes, working with him on the journal, getting bits of advice on life, the pursuit of happiness as an English major, the appreciation of humor and the occasional beverage at Russell's. RIP

Amy S. Trumbauer Dec 3 2019 12:00 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Terrance Riley, Ph.D.

Sarah Emily D'Agostino Dec 3 2019 12:00 AM

Dear Janet and family,
Our heart goes out to you and Terry's family. So sorry to hear the news of his passing. I worked with Terry briefly while filling in temporarily in the English Dept., and remember him as a very kind and gentle human professor. The memory that will stay with me is seeing him in the hat he wore frequently. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Sincerely, Brenda Pitonyak and family

Brenda Pitonyak Nov 26 2019 12:00 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Terrance Riley, Ph.D.

Brenda Pitonyak Nov 26 2019 12:00 AM

My condolences,

I was a student of Dr. Riley's at the University of Bloomsburg. He was one of my very favorite professors and such a kind, brilliant and inspirational teacher. His passion for British Romanticism was unmatched and his willingness to connect with students through the history of literature was admirable. I have such fond nostalgic memories of discussing Faust, Frankenstein, and so much more. His memory will live on through all of those he inspired.

Timothy Rosini Nov 26 2019 12:00 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Terrance Riley, Ph.D.

SV Nov 26 2019 12:00 AM

Smart, kind, warm, a welcome presence at our shows and events. We at the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble count ourselves lucky to have Terry as one of our friends.

Laurie McCants Nov 25 2019 12:00 AM

We wanted to send our condolences for the passing of your loved one. Animal Resource Center is honored to be the recipient of memorials in his name.We hope it brings you comfort knowing the good the donations bring.
Thank you for choosing ARC .

Jan Haeussler Nov 25 2019 12:00 AM

Terry is a wonderful and brilliant colleague. A consummate teacher of all, from students to colleagues. His kindness, his wit, and his care for anyone who was fortunate to cross his path will be missed. Thank you for being the colleagues' colleague and giving us so much to strive for. I will miss our morning greetings in Bakeless.

Dr. Michael Martin Nov 25 2019 12:00 AM