When Lt. j.g. Alieda E. Nelson, communications officer, married Lt. Cmdr. Melville “Hank” Riley in 1946, they honeymooned in Cuba, then moved to the Riley family home on South Ocean Boulevard in Delray Beach. Mrs. Riley Sr. had built the house in 1939. It still stands, two houses south of the Seagate Beach Club. There the young couple raised their six children.
After most of the children were grown, Alieda moved to Delray’s Marina Historic District, where she was district president for 14 years. She has always taken an active role in the Delray Beach community and in city government. More recently, Alieda helped found the Sandoway House Nature Center and was responsible for its listing on the National Register of Historic Places. She researched and compiled lengthy reports for the process, which included traveling back and forth to Tallahassee for multiple hearings. As a member of the board of Sandoway, she has volunteered every week since it opened in 1998. She currently runs the gift shop and oversees the butterfly garden, dune garden and native plants garden. Twice a month, two or three city workers help her with some of the heavy work. To show her appreciation, she bakes them cakes and occasionally her “special” chicken recipe. She is well-known for her cooking. Now the city workers call her “Granny,” as do her six children, seven grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.
Having lived in Delray Beach for 63 years, she loves her town and continues to work to make it a better place for her children, grandchildren and future generations.
Alieda Riley was nominated to be a Coastal Star by long-time Delray Beach resident JoAnn Peart. Mrs. Riley is the mother of Carolyn Patton, a founding partner of The Coastal Star. Box: Nominate someone you know to be a Coastal Star. Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 337-1553.