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CCBA Feature
By The Honorable Mark L. Tunnell
Remembering
The Honorable
Howard F. " Tuck " Riley, Jr.
T
he tributes which have poured in upon the recent
death of the Honorable Howard F. ( " Tuck " ) Riley,
Jr. on October 8, 2021, at the age of 79 are virtually
identical: " even-handed, " " fair, " " inspirational, " " virtuous "
- the epitome of what a trial judge should be.
Many lawyers, judges and judicial staff remarked about
how willing Judge Riley was in guiding them when they
were young and inexperienced.
Judge Riley was a scion of a family of leaders in the
law. Tuck's father, Howard F. Riley, Sr., was a professor
at Villanova University. He is remembered as " truly
brilliant " by Tuck's cousin Thomas A. ( " Buck " ) Riley,
Jr., Esquire, himself a well-known and very successful
attorney. He is a principal in the firm of Riley, Riper,
Colin and Colagreco. Buck's father, Thomas A. Riley,
Sr., was an attorney and later a judge in the Court
of Common Pleas of Chester County. Thus, it was
practically pre-ordained that the cousins, who grew
up on their grandmother's farm, would become skilled
attorneys.
Judge Riley was a veteran. He did a stint in Vietnam.
James McErlane was a classmate of his at Villanova (1964
undergrad: 1967 law). Jim recalls that they were also in
Vietnam at the same time. Jim visited Tuck where he was
working in Can Tho City, an Army intelligence facility.
Jim also recalls later trying cases alongside him. He said,
" Tuck didn't utter one unnecessary word over the fourday
trial; he went right to the heart of the matter with
soft-spoken but pointed questions at every turn. " His
farming and his military experience shaped him for the
future. Judge Riley helped organize a Veterans' Court. He
6 | New Matter
oversaw the construction of the new Justice Center with
an eye towards making it suitable for the public, lawyers,
and judges.
The following are a few samples of the many accolades:
I have known Tuck Riley for 30 years. As a Judge, he
was thoughtful, hard-working, committed to
excellence and always mindful of the effects of his
decisions on all involved in every case. He was
compassionate to those in difficult situations, and tough
on the unremorseful. As our President Judge, he was
never too busy to consider the issues that sprang up
unexpectedly; always willing to take on difficult tasks;
and was extremely diligent and practical in making
decisions, including the monumental task of ensuring the
successful move of the court from the Historic
Courthouse to the Justice Center. And as a friend...I am
forever grateful for his guidance and support and will
forever treasure the time spent in his company, especially
our many lunches at Benny's Pizza where we sorted
through court-related troubles of the day and always
shared some laughs. "
-Hon. Jacqueline Carroll Cody
I had the privilege of working with Judge Riley as
his law clerk for 11 years. He was more than a boss
- he was a mentor. He was the epitome of what a trial
judge should be. He was very intelligent, knew the law,
and always applied it fairly. He treated everyone who
appeared in front of him with respect. Even after he
retired, he kept in contact with his staff. For almost eight
years, we would meet five times a year for lunch. I

ChesterNewMatter4thQtr2021

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