Paul S. Riker, 92

Sat, 04/18/2020 - 9:45am

Paul S. Riker, 92, passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 9, 2020. He was born Jan. 28, 1928 to Grace and Paul Riker. He grew up on Long Island and graduated from East Rockaway High School, where he was a state record holder in the 400 meter hurdles. He went on to the University of Louisville, Kentucky, before serving in the Army and Air Force.

In 1951, he married Catherine Coronesi and together they raised five children. While living on Long Island, he was an entrepreneur, owning Riker Oil Company. In 1972, the family relocated to Block Island, R.I., where he again started Riker Oil, providing the island with a much-needed oil burner repair service. He was appointed to the New Shoreham Police Department in 1974 and served until his retirement as Chief of Police in 1989. While living on Block Island, he was influential in starting a youth soccer program which has now grown into the Town’s Parks and Recreation Department. He continued his love of sports, particularly running and biking. The “Chief” was often seen out on the island roads, either on his bike or zipping along for a jog. In 1976, he started the annual “Run Around Block” — a 15K road race that continues to draw runners to Block Island from all over the world. He was an accomplished marathon runner and Silver Cyclist Senior Olympiad.

In later years, he and Cathy moved to Florida. There they spent many happy years playing golf and enjoying the sunshine. Paul and Cathy became active in the Christ Fellowship Church and, in addition to starting his H.I.T. Man (Honor, Integrity and Truth) Program, he and Cathy mentored many young couples in the skills needed to sustain a long and loving relationship in marriage.

Paul is perhaps best known to those involved in Alcoholics Anonymous — he was a member and sponsor for close to 60 years, helping many men and women on their journey to sobriety.

In his 92 years here on earth, Paul has been a positive influence on many. He will be missed, but his spirit and teachings will live on. 

He was predeceased by his beloved wife Cathy, and is survived by his five children, Paul Riker (Linda), Pat Swim (Tom), Janice Rutan (Scott), Norman (Gabrielle), and Gerry (Summer); his grandchildren Katie, Paula, Todd, Peter, Merrill, Scott, Isabelle, Sofia, Scarlett and Cassidy; and his great-grandchildren Callum, Connor, Evelyn, Tucker, Ben, Jack, and Gavin.

In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to Trustbridge Hospice of Palm Beach County or Block Island Parks and Recreation Department c/o the Town of New Shoreham.