Celebration of Life services for Mr. Roy Riser, age 96, of Livingston will be conducted at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 3, 2018 from the chapel of Speck Funeral Home. Bro. Randy Tompkins will officiate. The family will welcome friends on Saturday at the time of the service.
Mr. Riser passed from this life on Tuesday evening, February 27, 2018 from Heritage Pointe in Cookeville, TN. He was born on April 4, 1921 in Bemidj, MN to the late Oscar and Marie J. Tollerud Riser. Oscar and Marie became engaged in Norway, and they then immigrated to the United States in 1903 to Austin, MN, where they married. Roy was raised in rural Grygla and Nashwauk, MN. Roy had 10 siblings, all of whom preceded him in death.
Roy enlisted in the Navy in 1942 after hearing of the Pearl Harbor attack, and had a distinguished 20 year flying career in WWII and the Korean War. He flew seaplanes in the Pacific and received 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 5 Air Medals for heroic action rescuing downed pilots. Following the Korean War, Roy flew in several Navy squadrons including the Hurricane Hunters, flying into the eye of hurricanes and tracking the storms. He later flew the DEW (Distant Early Warning) Line across the Arctic Circle guarding against surprise attacks by the USSR.
After serving more than 20 years for his country in the Navy, he retired as Lieutenant Commander and continued his passion for flying by starting his own certified flight instruction and charter flight service. Over the next 40 years, he was the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) for numerous airports in the Southeast, including: Statesboro, GA; Hazelhurst, GA; Lebanon-Springfield, KY; Metter, GA; and Livingston, TN. He had the largest Piper Aircraft Dealership in the Southeast while in Statesboro, GA, and an active crop-dusting component of the business as well. Roy's varied flying businesses also included gliders, a hot air balloon, and an air freight business utilizing a DC-3. Parachuting was the one flight endeavor Roy never participated in, as he always asked "Why would anyone ever jump out of a perfectly good airplane?"
Roy was also known for enjoying flights with dogs he had over the years, and he even maintained log books for his canine co-pilots. Roy was believed to have over 50,000 flying hours, making him the best-known and most highly respected pilot in the flying community of the Southeast. His incredible flying career of 72 years continued into his early 90's.
Roy is survived by his wife, Audrey Tompkins Riser, and his three children, Roy Elliott Riser, Cynthia Riser Reinholtz, Shirley Riser Strickland and her husband Alan, and granddaughters, Stefanie Strickland, Alison Strickland Dos Remedios and her husband Neil, and great-grandson Pierce.
Roy is also survived by step-son, Tim Conatser and his wife LaRue, their two daughters, Katie and Emily Conatser, and Liping Conatser, the wife of his late step-son, Michael Conatser.
He is also survived by Audrey's three children, Regina Tompkins Billings and her children, Matthew and Emily Billings; Douglas Tompkins and wife Mary and their children, Christa Tompkins and Sarah Kennedy; and Greg Tompkins and wife Debbie and their children, Amanda and Miranda Tompkins.
Roy was preceded in death by Margaret Minerich Riser, the mother of his children, and Linda Jane Riser, the mother of his step-sons, and his son-in-law, Chris Reinholtz.
The family would like to thank the caring staff at Heritage Pointe Assisted Living.
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