Riley Watkins Obituary,Remembering Riley Watkins: Beloved Daughter, Friend, and Inspiration Raleigh NC

Riley Caroline Watkins, a 21-year-old student at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, passed away on the morning of June 6 after an inspiring battle with cancer. Known for her infectious smile, unwavering positivity, and fairness towards others, Riley touched the hearts of many during her time with us. Her family, friends, and the community mourn the loss of a beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, and friend.

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 A Life Filled with Love and Gratitude

Riley is survived by her loving parents, Heather and David, her brother Stokes, her sister Tinsley, her grandparents Ralph and Betty Lyon, and her grandmother Jean Watkins. Born on October 2, 2001, in Kansas City, MO, Raleigh became Riley’s home where she attended Lacy Elementary, Martin Middle School, and Raleigh Charter High School before pursuing her education at the University of North Carolina.

Riley’s family and her mother, Heather, held a special place in her heart, providing unwavering support throughout her courageous battle. She expressed immense gratitude for the dedicated medical staff at Duke University who provided her with exceptional care and commitment.

Embracing Passions and Leaving Lasting Impressions

Swimming with the Marlins of Raleigh was Riley’s chosen sport and an integral part of her life before her diagnosis. However, her most cherished place was Camp Seafarer in Arapahoe, where she spent countless summers as a camper and later became a counselor. Riley formed lifelong friendships and made a profound impact on others’ lives through her experiences at camp.

At the University of North Carolina, Riley embraced her journey as a Tar Heel, serving as the President of the Chi Omega sorority during her sophomore year and actively participating as a student recruiter for the football team. She absorbed every moment, treasuring her time as a student and the connections she made with her sorority sisters and friends.

Remembering Riley’s Legacy of Kindness and Warmth

Riley’s genuine warmth and acts of kindness endeared her to all who knew her. She found joy in extending kindness to others, leaving a lasting impression on everyone she met. Her love for reading, culinary experiences, and passion for sharing recommendations brought happiness to her life and those around her.

Honoring Riley Watkins’ Memory

A private memorial service for the family will be held at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh to remember and celebrate Riley’s life. Additionally, a celebration of life service will take place at Camp Seafarer on September 10, 2023, at 3:00 pm, allowing her loved ones and friends to gather and pay tribute to her remarkable spirit.


In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Riley Watkins Memorial Library and Scholarship, established by Riley’s Chi Omega sisters in honor of her leadership and presidential legacy. Contributions can be made online at or sent by mail to the Chi Omega Foundation.

Riley Watkins may have left us too soon, but her heart, spirit, and the memories she created will forever be cherished. She will be deeply missed, and her legacy of love and kindness will continue

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