Robert Raymond “Ray” Riordon, 87, passed away Saturday, April 24, 2021, with his family by his side in Millsboro, and was finally reunited with the love of his life after 14 months without her smile.
He was the first born to the late Robert C. and Beta T. Arey Riordon Sept. 9, 1933, in Washington, D.C.
In 1955 he married Jean Marion Pinder in Martinsburg, W.Va.; they shared 67 years together. In 1956 he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education. After this he joined the Marine Corps, rising to captain in active duty and remained in the reserves until 1964. During that time, he earned a master’s in education from Miami University of Ohio in 1962 and launched his career as a coach at West Virginia University.
He was always coaching or teaching, but his passion was swimming. He set school records in the 400-yard freestyle, the 200-yard individual medley and the 300-yard relay. (He was one of six men who formed the inaugural class inducted into that university’s Hall of Fame in 1986.)
In 1964 Ray was hired by Towson to start the swim program there. Until Memorial Pool opened in 1968, he coached the cross country team for three years, and the track and field team for two seasons. From 1980-83, they won 35 of 37 meets, including a streak of 29 and two perfect seasons
His students lovingly named him “Razor Ray” for the flattop style he wore since his time in the Marines. Ray was twice named Towson’s Coach of the Year. He retired from Townson and was inducted into the university’s Hall of Fame in 2002.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his younger brother, John Riordon, and his beautiful wife Jean Pinder Riordon.
He was a husband, son father, granddad, coach and friend. He was a man with many passions. He was a member of the Optimist International for 40+ years, The American Red Cross and Special Olympics. Although he loved coaching, he loved his family more. He attended May’s Chapel United Methodist Church. He was always trying to make people become the best they could be; he was straightforward, honest and fair. He was an inspiration and someone you could truly look up to.
He and Mrs. Jean shared so many fond memories in their 67 years together. They had four children who are left to cherish their memory, Denny Riordon and wife Nancy Sweeney of Ocean City, Md., Michael Riordon and wife Lorelei of Clearwater, Fla., John Riordon and wife Teresa of Georgetown, and his baby girl Cynthia Riordon of Millsboro. Also surviving him are his loving grandchildren, Christopher Riordon and wife Megan, Lindsay and husband Deane Mellor, Collin and Ryan Sweeney Duncan and Finley Riordon, Emilie Riordon, Michael Metzbower and wife Kailah, Matthew Metzbower and wife Rhianne, and John Metzbower; and two great-grandchildren, Charlotte and Reese Riordon. Special friends include Ed and Kim DeCorse, Marcia Smith and Dave Farmer as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family members, friends, and teammates.
There are so many people who were touched by the life of Ray. Please, leave a memory for the family at www.watsonfh.com.
Services and arrangements will be private, with interment at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, Timonium, Md. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to Shepherd University, 301 N. King St., Shepherdstown WV 25443, or Ray Riordon Scholarship, 8000 York Road, Townson, MD 21252.
Services provided by Watson Funeral Home, Millsboro