Riley Paul Culley
04/15/1996 - 01/05/2020
On Sunday, January 5th, Our Sweet and tender-hearted Riley returned to live with his Heavenly Father and Mother. His body, that cancer claimed, remains here and will return to the earth but Riley is free. He is breathing easy, laughing, loving and enjoying the people among us, who are always near, but we simply cannot see. Riley was excited to move on to his next adventure. He loves everyone here on earth fiercely and will always keep an eye on all he loves. Riley told us that he will comfort us for a time but that he had a lot of work to do and that he needed us to be okay. Riley is finally back to work… He wants the same for all of us. Some of his last words were “Never doubt yourself”. We will live by those words so that when we feel his presence and hear his words of wisdom, we do not doubt.
Riley has been larger than life since birth. He loves to live life to it’s fullest, test every limit, and learn everything first hand through experience. Riley feels that respect is earned and once you earn his respect he will be your loyal friend forever. Riley is eager to show respect to those who earned it from him. Riley listens when people talk with him. He focuses solely on the message that is being shared. Riley demonstrated this not only to his family and friends but loved to teach and lead his associates at work. Even when he was made the assistant manager at Nike in Jordan Landing, he still spoke of each person there as an equal and as a friend. Riley also showed this over and over at grocery stores or restaurants, but the place I witnessed Riley share the depth of his compassion and genuine love of people, regardless of race, gender or color was at the hospital. He greeted everyone the same, with complete love, respect and acceptance. The Drs, the nurses, the little children, and even the friends we met in the elevator. Riley demonstrated Christ-like love for all.
Riley is a leader. He teaches through example and few words, but powerful words. Riley learned what it meant to let go of ego and live life with integrity as he moved and functioned from his heart, rather than trying to make things look a certain way. Riley is honest to the core. Riley never judged, he believes that God has a plan for everyone and that we should not interfere.
Riley has a great big personality and one of our favorite parts is his humor. Right up until the end of his earthly life he kept us laughing. He had a favorite saying, “Laugh until it hurts”, and this he did, even during his darkest hours he made sure to share light and laughter with those around him.
Riley is gentle, tender, and extremely generous, this was shown over and over as he would take the time to find just the right gift for each member of his family. He always spent far more than anyone else on the gifts he gave to his family and friends. Even during his last days, struggling to breath and in a wheelchair he made sure he got over to Nike so he could give his family a Christmas to remember.
Riley is an incredible athlete in many sports, he excelled in football and played center for Bingham High School for four years, taking state championship with his team just months before his diagnosis of Ewings Sarcoma. Riley earned a football scholarship to Dixie but was unable to accept due to his fight with cancer. During treatment, while very sick, Riley continued to show his love of football and leadership by helping coach the team to another state championship.
Riley battled with cancer for nearly six years and each time it came back he won. The last time it came back he destroyed it for good and we will bury it and take from it the lessons it taught. Riley not only conquered cancer, he conquered every single temptation, trial and obstacle placed in his way. He truly overcame the frailties of man and transformed into a righteous celestial being through his patience and long suffering. He will always be an example of faith, strength, love and loyalty to all who know and love him.
Riley beat us all to heaven and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He left behind his family and friends, who are everything to him, but he will never be far away.
His dad, J. Paul Culley, his mom, Jackie Culley, his sister, Mallory Culley Thurgood, his brother, Chase Thurgood, his brother, Levi Culley and his Nephew, Noah Thurgood, along with grandparents, cousins and friends, will all miss him deeply but we know that if we are still we will feel his presence with us when we need him.
We will honor Riley and lay his body to rest on Saturday, January 11th, 2020.
There will be a viewing on Friday, January 10th from 6:00 – 7:30 pm at Larkin Mortuary in Riverton, 3688 West 12600 South, as well as on Saturday, January 11th from 10:30-11:30am at an LDS Chapel located at 5980 South 1300 West in Taylorsville, Utah.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, January 11th at 12:00 noon at the LDS Chapel located at 5980 South 1300 West in Taylorsville Utah. Interment, Larkin Sunset Gardens.