Thursday, 18 August 2022

John Martin Riley, November 15, 1931-October 25, 2015

JOHN MARTIN RILEY, the former senior partner of Mercers Solicitors in Henley, has died, aged 83.

JOHN MARTIN RILEY, the former senior partner of Mercers Solicitors in Henley, has died, aged 83.

Martin was born on November 15, 1931 in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, the only child of Lambert Riley and Marjorie Maton.

He lived in Roehampton until his father’s death in 1948, including during the Second World War when the Luftwaffe dropped incendiary bombs which bounced off their roof during the London Blitz.

He was always known as Martin and educated at Bradfield College, Berkshire, and Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he read history.

He spent five years at Lloyds of London before deciding to become a solicitor. He did his articles in Oxford and then joined Mercers of Henley in 1963, becoming senior partner in 1977. He retired in 1995.

While at Mercers, Martin was quick to spot an individual’s potential and his kindness was experienced by all the staff. Many members of staff appointed by Martin remained with Mercers for many years, often until their  retirement.

He married Alison in 1963 and had three children, Charles, Hugh and Philippa. Between 1970 and 1981 he was an Oxfordshire County Councillor, elected first as a Liberal and then an Independent.

For many years he was chairman of Turner’s Court, Nuffield, assisting the less fortunate.

Martin lived in Moulsford, Nettlebed, Stoke Row and Peppard. In 1991 he moved to Brill, his grandfather’s old village.

In 1992 he married Angela Wright before living in Brightwell Park, Brightwell Baldwin, and then from 1999 in Parham, Suffolk.

In his retirement in Suffolk Martin enjoyed the company of his local friends, including an annual dinner party celebrating the victory over the French at the Battle of Waterloo on June 18. He also wrote a number of hymns and poems.

Martin was a descendant of Elizabeth Cook, the wife of the famous naval explorer James Cook, and spent many enjoyable hours preparing a book about her.

He passed away in Suffolk on October 25.

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