Mary Patricia Mullaney was born in Waukon, IA on Dec. 21, 1924 and passed away peacefully in Orcutt, CA on Nov. 21, 2019. She was all Irish, with her great grandparents having immigrated to the US during the Great Potato Famine. She grew up on a farm, which her father ultimately lost in the Great Depression (“You can't believe how poor everyone was.”). After junior college for a year on an academic scholarship, she worked for several years to save money, then graduated from the University of Iowa in 1951 with a double major in Political Science and Business Education. While in college, she met and married Robert C. Riehle, a medical student and former US Navy aircraft carrier aviator. She taught high school English and commercial subjects while he completed his surgical residency.
In 1965 with 5 children, they moved to Santa Maria, where Dr. Riehle practiced general surgery for several decades. Regarded by her kids as the best mom ever, Pat never missed a school performance or a sporting event. She was not shy about parenting her kids' friends and teammates, who treated her as a second mother. Pat was especially proud that her 2 daughters went to the University of Santa Clara and 3 sons to the University of Notre Dame.
After her youngest left for college, Pat founded the Santa Maria Right to Life chapter. She led the group for decades, writing newsletters and opinion pieces, organizing meetings and events, and speaking publicly on the radio, in print media, and on television. At the end of her career, she was honored by the Right to Life with a lifetime achievement award.
As her physical strength declined gradually following her husband's passing in 2009, Pat continued to be mentally engaged, keeping up to date reading the newspaper daily and watching TV news. She enjoyed a good conversation and her highest compliment was that someone was interesting. She always asked about family doings (“Keep me informed.”).
Pat passed after a short period of rapid decline, fighting for life to the end and surrounded by several of her children. She is survived by Karen and Ron Petrinovich (Arroyo Grande), Doug Riehle (AG), Greg and Diane Riehle (Saddlebrook, FL), Paul and Stephanie Riehle (San Francisco), and Christy and Phil Kolbo (AG), as well as daughter-in-law Janet Riehle, grandchildren Jamie, Jennifer, Jessica, Tiffany, Kate, Patrick, Tommy, Robby, Lauren, Danny, Madison, Natsha, Tyler, and Kelsey, and great grandchildren McKenna, Derek, Jax, Jet, Jade, and Gwendolyn.
Pat's family thanks the Halsells and their staff at Primrose House, particularly Grizelda and Biko, as well as hospices nurses Lori and Megan, for their loving care. Family and friends are invited to a rosary service at 4 pm Sunday, Dec. 15, at Magner-Maloney Funeral Home in Santa Maria, a funeral Mass at 10 am Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, at St. Louis de Monfort church in Orcutt, and a celebration of Pat's life at the home of Karen and Ron Petrinovich in Arroyo Grande following the funeral. In lieu of flowers, please donate in Pat's name to Right to Life.
Arrangements are in the care of Magner-Maloney Funeral Home and Crematory. Sympathy notes and words of support may be expressed at www.magnermaloney.com.
Magner-Maloney Funeral Home and Crematory
600 East Stowell Road, Santa Maria, CA 93454
Phone: 805-925-2753 Fax: 805-922-4930