Painter of spiritual allegories passes at 91 in Myrtle Beach
Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1931, Tom Riley’s childhood was spent in Woodstock, NY, where his family had roots. At the age of 16, Tom began studying painting with the elderly artist Walter Goltz, one of the founders of the Woodstock art colony and a seminal teacher of the Woodstock School of Landscape Painting.
Tom studied art at Temple University and gained a Master’s degree in art at The New School in NYC. Tom’s passion was always painting. He met his first wife, Yvonne Andrau in Woodstock and, in 1958, they met Avatar Meher Baba in Myrtle Beach, SC. This further propelled their lifelong dedication to their spiritual master, called by Tom, “the Christ of our Age”. Following an entrepreneurial career, he and his family ran an antique store, developed land, and then built speculative and custom homes. After they moved to Myrtle Beach, he continued painting and building homes. He and his first wife parted ways and he later married Catherine Haas. He continued his work as a working artist, art dealer and art restorer in Myrtle Beach, then moved to Asheville, NC and ultimately returned to Myrtle Beach, SC.
Known by many as a master storyteller, Tom’s reminiscences of his journeys around time spent with Meher Baba have given audiences insight into the spiritual relationship with God that is within reach for all. Tom’s sense of humor was legendary, and no story was ever without a cast of characters and keen insight into the human condition. His seascapes, landscapes and paintings of Meher Baba are sought by many, and he completed his autobiography manuscript before his passing. He is survived by his wife Catherine, his daughter Christina Riley, son Demian Riley and his granddaughter Alexandra Riley.