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R. Riley Obenchain

Obituary for R. Riley Obenchain

April 14, 1958 - December 5, 2018
Twin Lakes, Wisconsin | Age 60

Loving Brother, Uncle, and Friend


R. Riley Obenchain, resident of Twin Lakes, WI and formerly of Woodstock and Wilmette, Illinois, was felled by cancer on December 5th, 2018 at the way too young age of 60, with his sister Edith, his brother Sam and nephew Eli, by his side. He was an honorable and true son of the late Ralph and Elaine Obenchain, big-hearted brother to Abigail, devoted and cherished brother to Edith, fellow republican and conservative, to his brother Sam and a hero, to his sister Valerie. He was a fellow spirited and fun adventurer to his brother-in-law Bill, and well-fed and doted on by his sister-in-law Denise. He was also the most adventurous, hands-on, and patient uncle to Mason and Avery Cole, Jax and Eli Obenchain, Krista and Sammy Obenchain and Milo and Skyler McLeer.

Riley was an innovator, who had an incredible mechanical talent. He could literally, fix just about anything. He could 'see' how things worked, and many times, envision how to make things work better. His help and expertise made the lives of those around him better, easier, and they are forever in his debt for all he did.

Riley worked at the Chicago Botanical Gardens where he used his expertise for 40 years as a mechanic, fixing all manner of vehicles, and enduring endless battles with the infamous Tub Grinder. He also developed deep and lasting friendships at the Gardens and became known for his prowess at volleyball and balloon tossing and as a master pumpkin grower and carver, and could always be counted on, for a story and a smile.

Riley lived his life with gusto, enthusiasm and an unabashed sense of adventure. Riley and his good friend Tim had many outlandish adventures going Cat and Heli-Skiing. Riley was obsessed with the endless search for powder, and the adrenaline rush and joy of bombing down steep powder filled tree runs, whooping all the way down. He always skied every run like it was his last run - - - ALL IN, and ROCKING IT!

Riley had all the qualities that make a good hunter and fisherman, including an abundance of patience and determination. His fortitude and perseverance were legendary. This dedication contributed to his amazing and unique feat of shooting two deer with a single shot. He was vehemently opposed to catch and release, and spent his years catching and eating all manner of fish including countless muskies. In his last months, weakened by chemotherapy, he still managed to land a 40-inch muskie in his kayak, which was baked by his sister Edith, and enthusiastically eaten by Riley, family and friends.

Known to children of all ages as "Uncle Riley" he could always be found in the center of the fun. Whether it was king-of-the-hill on the inner tube, building in the sand pile, playing legos, or any fun activity — Riley was not only there, but in most cases, the instigator. He was a mentor to his nephews, having the calm patience to teach them all manner of things boys should know such as cleaning fish, using an axe, shooting a gun, making popcorn over the fire, extreme tubing, water skiing, and driving cars, boats, tractors or snowmobiles. He was a strong and steady presence in their lives and his influence cannot be measured.

He was a staunch and loyal supporter of the republican party and a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association. The one bright spot he saw in dying was that he could finally, fully, put forth the challenge that people could, "try to pry his gun, from his cold, dead hands."

There are not enough adjectives to describe how outstanding of a brother, son and friend, Riley was. He had an unfaltering sense of loyalty, kindness and devotion, and was always there, whatever one needed. He lived 60, jam-packed years, but had tons of adventures, plans and projects still to do, so words can never express the depth of loss, and sadness at the injustice of it all.

A celebration of Riley's life will be held at Colonial Funeral Home, 591 Ridgeview Drive in Mchenry, Illinois on Saturday, December 8th, 2018. Visitation will at 3:30 pm. with service and stories beginning at 5 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the National Rifle Association in Riley's name or to Journey Care of Woodstock, whose caring staff, gave Riley such comfort in this last mile.

Riley's family would also like to send thanks to dear family friends Matthew Porter, Tim and Kristi Johnson, Pamela Mahacek, and Jennifer Coffield for their many kindnesses to Riley during this journey.

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Colonial Funeral Home & Crematory

591 Ridgeview Drive
McHenry, IL 60050
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