Mary Lou Risley

April 30, 2017

September 8, 1938 – April 10, 2017


Twenty-five-year Island resident, Mary Lou Risley, age 78, passed away at Brookdale Eagan, a senior living facility in Eagan, Minn., on April 10 after a long battle with both diabetes and dementia. Risley was born on September 8, 1938, and grew up in Westfield, New Jersey. Following her graduation from Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa., she moved to New York, ultimately settling in the Rivercross building on Roosevelt Island, where she lived until June 2015. 


Risley spent her working career primarily in the arts, at both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Her most exciting role was as the executive assistant to the late A. Bartlett Giamatti, then president of the National Baseball League. 


A recovering alcoholic, Risley developed a passion for knitting and enjoyed teaching others how to knit. She made custom creations for holiday gifts. She donated all of the profit she made to charitable causes, including knit caps for the Roosevelt Island Running Club. She loved her cats and dining out with friends. 


Risley was predeceased by her husband John. She is survived by her brother J. Robert Wolgang; his children, Diane and Tricia; her nephew, Mike Wolgang and his daughter Nancy; niece Katie Wolfgang and her daughter Carmen, and their children. 


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