Brent Riley

Brent Robinson Locke Riley was born in San Antonio, Tex., on Aug. 18, 1927 and passed away in Las Vegas, N.M. on April 2, 2022. 

She was preceded in death by her sister Betsy Clarke; and her husband Cal Riley. 

She is survived by her brother David Locke; three children, Benjamin Riley, Victoria Evans and Cynthia Riley; a son and daughter in law, Don Evans and Amanda Ruffin respectively; three grandchildren, Rowyn Alarid, Jessica Evans and Nicholas Evans and their spouses, Eric Alarid, Erik Jonasson and Lynette Melendrez; and six great grandchildren, Ada Alarid, Violette Alarid, Ella-Mai Melendrez, Liam Horry, Teagan Evans and Rylynn Evans; and her beloved nieces and nephews.  

Brent earned a degree in anthropology at UNM in 1948. That year she wed her classmate Carroll L. Riley to whom she remained happily married until his death in 2017.  

Among Brent’s many accomplishments were: She was part of the last field school dig at Chaco Canyon. She wrote and published three children’s books. She became an expert on ballads and their origins and taught classes on the subject. She was part of a radio show, Keep the Devil Singing, in which she sang and gave histories of folk songs. She wrote an historic fiction trilogy about Coronado, among many other novels. She dabbled in painting. She was an actress, her best role being Nanita in Patricia Crespín’s play, We Are Hispanic American Women—Okay. Brent reprised the role in the film version, Before We Say Goodbye.  

Brent’s mission was to confront racism and to mend racial divides. She set an example in the 1960s during integration by crossing the tracks in order to drive African American kids to the white schools. She embraced the Hispanic community in Las Vegas N.M., leaning into the culture of her friends and neighbors.  

Brent loved a good party and being among people, be they near and dear, or friends yet to be made. Brent had deep and lasting friendships her whole life. She loved and cherished her family. Her wit, her twinkle and her jocularity have been passed along the generations, but we will miss her special sense of humor and her wonderful stories.  

A memorial will be held for Brent on June 18, 2022, venue and time pending. If you wish to honor Brent’s memory in lieu of flowers, please make a donation to:, and/or  

Arrangements are entrusted to and under the care of Rogers Mortuary, 600 Reynolds Ave., Las Vegas, N.M., 505-425-3511 or 1-800-479-3511. 

Please visit our online website to sign the online register book. 

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