Youngstown Mayor Passes Away

October 1, 2011 Updated Oct 1, 2011 at 9:50 AM EDT

By WKBW News


Youngstown Mayor Passes Away

October 1, 2011 Updated Oct 1, 2011 at 9:50 AM EDT

Youngstown, NY (WKBW-Courtesy Niagara Gazette)

His record of public service started in 1979, when he was elected to the Village Board.

Riordan had been admitted to Roswell Park Cancer Institute in mid-August for a blockage in his intestinal tract and recently underwent surgery, according to a statement that his wife, Dottie, had released earlier to the trustees and other village officials.

Riordan’s death shocked the community because many residents were generally unaware of his serious illness.

Trustee Raleigh B. Reynolds had been named deputy mayor in 2010 and is expected to serve as interim mayor.

Active in countless activities, Riordan appeared in fine health this past summer at the concert series in Falkner Park.

He had been a prime mover and staunch supporter of those popular weekly programs featuring area musical groups.

The rotund and good-natured mayor was deeply committed to public service. If he missed a community function — a rare happening — he was out of town on business or dealing with an urgent matter.

Riordan was the vice president of sales and marketing for the Viatran Corp., based for many years on Grand Island until it moved to Wheatfield.

He had a solid rapport with other officials at the local, county and state levels. He also was known for keeping the channels of communication open to the media.

Steven Suitor, a village trustee, recalled how Riordan had helped him when he was elected to the board some three years ago.

Suitor said: “Being brand new to public service, I often looked to Neil for advice and he became one of my greatest mentors. He was always level-headed and it was hard to have a conversation with him where you didn’t laugh. He always had a pun for the occasion.”

Suitor noted the mayor constantly referred — in a loving manner — to Youngstown as “Mayberry” (the sleepy little town of TV fame) and that he worked relentlessly to maintain the way of life for the village and its prosperity.

“The mayor’s death marks a major loss to everyone who knew him,” said Porter Supervisor Merton K. Wiepert. “Neil and I worked on many projects together. We got along real well. The mayor always was trying to find ways to improve the quality of life for the community.”

Fred Stephens, longtime resident and ex-trustee, said: “For six years, I had the privilege of serving with him on the board. I saw first hand his total involvement with all village matters. Whether it was Friday night concerts, soccer tournaments, 5K runs or the village budget, he was fully involved. His performance will be a target to aim for but hard to equal. ‘Mayberry’ won’t be the same.”

A longtime village employee, a former trustee and a friend of the mayor for some 30 years, Margaret (Peggy) Hanson said: “Next to his own family, he loved the village and everything he could do to help make it a better place.”

Funeral arrangements were incomplete on Friday.