Longtime Islander and veteran Huston Riley dies

Huston Riley - Reporter file photo
Huston Riley
— image credit: Reporter file photo

Islander Huston Riley of Mercer Island died Oct. 2 at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle. Mr. Riley, known as Hu, was 90. A lifelong Island resident, he lived with his wife, Charlotte, in the house that his father built in 1905 on the North end.

Mr. Riley was a decorated World War II veteran and was the 'soldier in the surf' depicted in Robert Capa's immortal photo of the D-Day invasion. Riley was among thousands of American soldiers who, on June 6, 1944, stormed the beaches of Normandy to liberate Europe from occupation by Nazi Germany. Mr. Riley was also in the first wave of invasions in North Africa and Sicily; was seriously wounded in the Battle of the Bulge; and ultimately received three Purple Hearts.

In 2009, the Mercer Island City Council considered a proposal to endorse “Riley Cove” as the official name of an unnamed cove located on the North end of the Island where the Riley homestead sits. The effort was later turned down.

In June of 2009, Tom Brokaw of NBC News came to visit Mr. Riley at his home for part of a television special. The two fished off the dock on the cove.

No services are planned.


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