Dedication ceremony honors the service of Tim Riley at Veterans’ Field
SHARON — Parents watching their children enjoy the newly installed playscape at Veterans’ Field may do so from the new pine bench honoring Tim Riley’s years of service to area sports.
The Riley bench will be shaded by a newly planted red maple tree, a gift of Riley’s alma mater, the Housatonic Valley Regional High School Class of 1974.
A dedication ceremony for the bench and the tree was held on Thursday, Oct. 28, at Veterans’ Field, bringing Riley’s family together with friends to remember his significant contributions to regional athletics during his years as a beloved baseball umpire and a basketball referee.
“He always enjoyed being around sports and kids, for sure,” Kevin Riley said in remembering his brother, who died in April 2021 at the age of 64. Kevin Riley has also coached sports at Housatonic, exemplifying the Riley family’s deep roots in Sharon and the area and their devotion to youth sports programs.
Following news of Tim Riley’s death, memorial donations were sent to Sharon’s Parks and Recreation Department. With those funds, Parks and Recreation Director Matt Andrulis Mette purchased the bench for the new playscape, determining it to be a fitting and lasting tribute.
A brass plaque describes Tim “Riles” Riley, “who believed that having fun and exercise were two things everyone should enjoy every day.”
Remembering his brother, Kevin Riley noted that Tim returned to Sharon in 2019. The Class of 1974 at Housatonic learned of the bench and joined to honor their classmate by arranging for the memorial tree, which was planted by classmates Dave Hosier and Bill Dinneen.
Dinneen of Cornwall serves on the high school remembrance committee, and represented the Class of 1974 at the dedication ceremony.
Coincidentally, Dinneen noted that it had been 43 years to the very day that Tim Riley had been in Dinneen’s wedding.
Dinneen had recommended the type of tree to be planted at the site. When he told the folks at Old Farm Nursery in Lakeville of the remembrance and the purpose, they did not hesitate to donate the tree.
“That’s what small towns are all about,” sister-in-law Barbara Riley commented.
Riley’s daughter, Lauren, said, “He loved it here. His memory is here. Anything to do with a ball field, he was all for it.”