August 19, 2008
NTN Player Dies Before Making Olympic Trip
By: Ed Graney, Las Vegas Review-Journal
The excitement of my Olympic experience has been subdued with sad news from home.
Paul Riley, a gentleman I wrote a column about in the weeks preceding the Games, passed away at the age of 70 just prior to departing for China.
A little more than a year ago, Paul retired from the casino business after 42 years. He had attended every Summer Games except one since 1984 in Los Angeles. His home in Las Vegas was a museum to those experiences.
Paul wanted so badly to be here these weeks. He wanted to see how the world would react to China and it to the world.
He spoke of how grand the opening ceremonies might be, and I can only imagine how captivated Paul would have been with Li Nang's run around the top of the Bird's Nest.
Paul enjoyed attending events where sport crossed into political debate, so I am guessing he would have made it to that Russia-Georgia beach volleyball match.
He loved everything good about the Olympics. The sportsmanship. The camaraderie. The lifelong friendships he would form with those from other nations.
"I go as much for the history as anything," Paul told me.
He would have loved it here.
Las Vegas Review-Journal reader comments:
RD wrote on August 19, 2008 08:56 AM: Paul was a good man and loved history and sports. I talked to him before he was to leave for China and he was real excited about going. We are going to miss him.
KJ wrote on August 20, 2008 10:12 AM: Paul was such a great person to work with and know. He was so low profile that not many people who worked with him knew about his Olymic past. We will all miss him!
From Betty Ramsey:
I know Juan is posting to Buzztime, but if you're like me, you avoid most of the posts. We just found out this evening that our teammate Paul, PAUL R/ZPYCPY/BIGBEN/BOOMER, has passed away. He was in North Carolina at a family reunion and died suddenly.
Some of you have been our teammates, some of you have met Paul while visiting Las Vegas and some may just know him from our comments, but all of us have lost a wonderful trivia player and gentleman.
Paul was an Olympic fanatic and was really looking forward to attending the Olympics in Beijing. We all thought he was there, but as fate would have it, after a wonderful article in the LV Review-Journal ( http://www.lvrj.com/sports/24905969.html ) written in mid July, the same reporter wrote a front page article ( http://www.lvrj.com/news/27123009.html ) yesterday. Ed Graney, the reporter, was supposed to meet Paul in Beijing. They had talked about attending some events together.
As our barmaid, Nina, said this evening, "Paul's there watching."
Rest in peace, Paul. We'll all miss you.