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Obituary for Kimberly J. “Kim” Riley

Kimberly Jo Riley was born on May 29, 1975, at St. Francis Hospital in La Crosse, WI. She lived in Burns Valley in Bangor and attended St. Paul’s Lutheran School through the eighth grade and then graduated from Bangor High School in 1993. As she grew up, she preferred to be called Kim instead of Kimberly.

At a very young age she decided that she wanted to be a nurse and enrolled at Viterbo College in La Crosse. She was a very intelligent young lady and was awarded the opportunity to take the Dr. Scholl’s exam and scored very high on this test. This grant of money for her four years of college helped her and her family with the college tuition. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing in May of 1997.

During her high school years, she met the love of her life and future husband, Chris. After dating for 8 years on September 19, 1998, they officially tied the knot. To that marriage she became an incredibly happy and extremely proud mother to McKenna, who she nicknamed, “Peanut”, and Brandon, who she nicknamed, “Bud”. These two children became her world, and she enjoyed attending all their sporting events and other school activities.

Her nursing degree brought her to her passionate job, which involved working with the 9/11 Responders and Survivors. She began this career at LHI and very quickly moved into a management role. This brought her to NYC and Washington D.C. several times and enabled her to visit the World Trade Center Memorial. These trips increased her resolve to further help the people she talked to all over the world. She eventually left that position and worked for Mayo Clinic. A short time later, she was recruited by her current employer based in NYC, Barasch & McGarry Law Firm, which allowed her to continue working with the 9/11 responders and survivors.

Kim’s co-workers and friends often described her as having a great sense of humor, a beautiful smile which she always wore, a compassionate heart, and a strong fortitude in her professional life and family. She was always there when someone needed help. She often told them, “I’m only a phone call away.”

Kim’s favorite pastimes were reading books, watching the kid’s sports games, gardening with her flowers (even though she joked about how she did not have a green thumb), taking her dogs for long walks, attending Badger and Brewers games, watching the Dallas Cowboys (especially when they beat the Packers), traveling with her family across the country, and going for long drives in her Mustang. She would say to Chris, “Let’s go for a long drive and get lost in the country,” which they often did.

Kim passed away peacefully surrounded by family on February 14, 2024, after a courageous battle with ovarian cancer. She is survived by her husband, Chris; daughter, McKenna; son, Brandon; her parents, Joel and Linda Dow; brother, Jason (Naomi) and goddaughter, Kylie Dow; her mother-in-law, Judy (Bob) Vick; brothers-in-law, Scott (Jackie) Riley and Shawn (Diane) Riley; nephews, Jordan and Milo Riley; nieces, Alyssa (Tyler) Ashton and Dulce Riley; and great-niece and great-nephew, Walker and Tinley Ashton.

She is further survived by her godson, Tanner Jones, who she often called her second son; her godmother, Jean Dow; and many uncles, aunts, and cousins.

She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Ellsworth and Betty Dow and Alvin and Nellie Oesterle; father-in-law, Dick Riley; godfather, Darrell Dow; and her two special furry children, Dexter the Chinese Shar-Pei and Bruno the Bullmastiff.

A public visitation will be held Thursday, February 22, 2024, at Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Bangor Chapel, Hwy 162 and Hattan St., Bangor; a Final Call of Duty Tribute by the Wisconsin Nurses Honor Guard will be held at 4:00 p.m., with visitation to follow until 7:00 p.m.

A private memorial service will be held on a later date.

Kim’s family would like to issue a very special thank you to the medical oncology unit at Gundersen Health System for the care and compassion given to Kim during her battle with cancer. Their concern and care didn’t go unnoticed by her family and was very much appreciated. One of her special nurses commented that, “Kim had to be a very special person because in her years at work she had not experienced as many visitors that came to spend time with her and the family.” She also noted that, “at times there was standing room only.”

Kim was a special loving and caring person who chose the best possible profession that fit her to a “T”. She will be forever missed by her family who loved her so very much, her friends, and those who came to know her. Her smile and beautiful blue eyes now look upon us from above and await our final journey. God Bless.

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