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Monica Rose (Riley) Kingsley passed away on September 5th, 2023 at the age of 86 years old in the gulf shores of Corpus Christi, Texas. She was an energetic, caring, and adventurous soul who was known for her love of life and infectious laugh. She was always at the center of the party and made sure everyone was part of the fun too.
Monica was born on August 22nd, 1937 in Redwood Falls, Minnesota as the eldest of eight children to Sylvester and Ella Riley. She worked with her parents on the Riley family farm and also pitched in to help raise her younger siblings. A strong work ethic, commitment to her Catholic faith, and responsibility to her family were ingrained into her by her parents as she grew up, but she wasn’t afraid to get into a little mischief and trouble in town from time to time. She loved to play cards with her family, listen to both Elvis and Connie Francis, and follow her sports and movie idols Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe. After graduating Lamberton High School, she decided to leave her home town and see the world, often telling people she didn’t like living in one place for too long. She lived in Florida and California while working with Western Union and loved the warm, balmy weather. It was while she was living in Southern California that she met Howard Kingsley, the future love of her life. Their first couple of dates were a bit rocky, but they soon realized they enjoyed being with each other and were a perfect complement to their individual quirky personalities: she was gregarious and impulsive and he was quiet and intellectual. Together, they made a great team. They were soon married on December 4th, 1967 soon adding children into the mix. Life was cruel to them initially: their eldest child passed away in the first year of his life and Howard had serious health issues. With time, Howard’s health improved and then three more boys joined the Kingsley family. The difficulties at the beginning of her marriage were soon left in the past as her husband’s job transfers across the country and the daily routines of raising a family kept her busy in the present and always looking to the future. She loved both her Catholic faith and to travel the world and considered herself very fortunate to see Pope John Paul II in-person, travel to the Vatican in Italy, and kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland. She was very involved in her boys’ lives and expected them to be athletic, intellectual, and engaged with the world around them. She helped with homework and transportation to and from sports practices/games. She even joined her husband to help coach a Little League baseball team to a league championship title, with her two youngest sons on the team roster. She loved to watch her sons play sports and was present when her youngest son won back-to-back California state championship titles in high school baseball. As her sons finished their high school years, she told them that she wanted her children and grandchildren to be more financially successful than her and expected them all to go to college. Her three sons were the first in her family to go to college and all graduated from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She was extremely proud when her sons decided to continue their higher education and graduated from both Graduate and Professional schools to become a pediatric physician, pharmacist, and business specialist. She was ecstatic to know that her eldest grandchildren were now going to Creighton University with the goal to become professionals, as well. In the last few years of her life, she lost her husband, her brother, and many of her close friends, but she never lost her sense of humor and the desire to interact with the people around her. Even though she lived in California and Texas, her heart was always in her home town of Wanda, Minnesota. She was an essential part of many people’s lives and will now be missed dearly, but will never be forgotten.
Monica is survived by her three sons Jeffrey (Rae Ann) Kingsley and his three children Jacob, Emma, and Joseph; James Kingsley: and Michael (Ashley) Kingsley and his two children Claire and Declan; sisters and family of Audrey (James) Fuchs and Marian (Daniel) Arnoldi; and brothers and family of Sylvester (Kathleen) Riley, Giles (Linda) Riley, Edward (Kathy) Riley, and Bernard (Marianne) Riley. She is preceded in death by her husband Howard Kingsley; son John Kingsley, parents Sylvester and Ella Riley, brother Dennis Riley, sister-in-law Rita Riley, sister-in-law Carol Riley, and nephew Chris Riley. She is to be interred alongside her husband at the San Joaquin Valley National Military Cemetery in Santa Nella, California on October 10th, 2023 at 10:30am. Please send condolences and cards to James Kingsley, 6635 South Staples Street #1827, Corpus Christi, Texas, 78413.