By Trent Moore

Staff Writer

Former Cullman Judge Jack C. Riley, 83, of Cullman died Thursday, March 5. Riley served as a circuit solicitor, district attorney and circuit judge in Cullman for many years.

Funeral services for Riley will be at 10:30 a.m. today at Moss-Service Funeral Home Chapel, with burial in Cullman City Cemetery.

Current Circuit Court Clerk Robert Bates, who worked with Riley, said he contributed greatly to the county.

“His years of service were so valuable and he was an excellent elected official,” Bates said. “He knew his job very well, was an excellent judge and a great leader. It was a pleasure working with him through the clerk’s office, because he was so good to work with.”

Bates said he and Riley were also friends off the clock.

“We had a good friendship, too,” he said. “It was always a comfort to have someone like him to go to whenever a problem came up. He was an outstanding leader and I was very sorry to learn of his passing.”

Circuit Court Judge Don Hardeman, who also served with Riley, said he was a great man and would be missed by the people of Cullman.

“This community is tremendously better off for having him serve here for so many years,” he said. “I think he was certainly one of the greatest jurists I’ve ever known. I, and I know a great many others, will miss him.”

Judge Frank Brunner said it is hard to describe how much Riley meant to the judicial community in Cullman.

“He was an outstanding judge and provided many years of outstanding service,” he said. “He will be missed. It’s hard to put into words everything he has done. He spent over 40 years of his life serving the people of this county.”

Attorney Tom Drake knew Riley for more than 50 years, and said he was one of the most devoted men he ever met.

“He was very knowledgeable of the law and always kept up-to-date with the current laws,” he said. “He never embarrassed anyone in his court room and was a real gentlemen. He treated everyone with dignity and respect.”

Riley studied law at Auburn University and the University of Alabama before working in Cullman. In 1955 he was appointed circuit solicitor by Gov. James E. Folsom, and also served as district attorney throughout the 1960s.

In 1971 he was elected to the circuit court and served as a judge for 23 years.

Along the way, Riley also served as secretary to president of the Alabama District Attorney’s Association and the Alabama Circuit Judge’s Association.

He retired in 1993.

Riley was also involved in the Kiwanis Club civic organization, served as chairman of the board for AmSouth Bank in Cullman, and served as president of the Parker Bank and Trust Company.

Riley’s full obituary can be found at

‰ Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 225.

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