NEW REGISTRAR OF MOTOR VEHICLES AND FAMILY—Clement A. Riley of Norwood and wife pose with daughters, Maureen G. Riley, 20, left, and Mrs. Barbara Catalano.

In an unusual ceremony, Clement A. Riley will take his oath today as Massachusetts Registrar of Motor Vehicles at the bedside of his elderly mother in a Norwood nursing home.

Acting Gov. Robert F Murphy, with several members of the Executive Council will accompany Riley to the Victoria Rest Home, where Mrs. Margaret Riley, 77, is a patient.

There Riley will raise his right hand and repeat the oath given by Murphy, with his mother as the principal witness.

The nursing home is just around the corner from 132 Berwick pl. where the new registrar lives with his wife, the former Marie Gookin, and daughter, Maureen Gail, 20. Another daughter, Mrs. Barbara Catalano, 23, also lives in Norwood.

“My being appointed registrar means more to my mother than to anyone else and to witness the oath-taking ceremony will make her the happiest woman in the world,” Riley said.

Confirmation of Riley’s appointment by Gov. Furcolo came yesterday on a 7-1 vote of the Executive Council. Sole dissenter was Councilor Christian A. Heter Jr. (R-Newton).

Lauded By McDonough

There was no debate over confirmation. Councilor Patrick J. McDonough (D-Dorchester) in moving the nomination be approved, lauded Riley’s record in public service and predicted “he will be as great a registrar as Rudolph F. King.”

King has reached the compulsory retirement age of 70 and although the governor sought to continue him in office temporarily, the Council rejected the nomination. He held the post 13 years.

The term that Riley will fill out runs to 1961. The job pays $12,000.

One of Riley’s first acts as registrar will be to designate Deputy Registrar Alfred W. Devine to sign all 1958 auto registration certificates until after Jan. 1. As registrar he has authority to empower a subordinate to perform such an act.

The reason for this action stems from the fact that there is in some quarters a doubt as to the legality of registrations for 1958 already distributed which bear the signature of King. Since King’s retirement, Devine has been signing the certificates as acting registrar.

It is felt at the registry that there is less chance of legal complications if Devine continues to sign the certificates until the first of the year.

A former state Civil Service commissioner for six years, Riley has also been active in Norwood politics, where he served as a selectman. In both 1954 and 1956 he won the endorsement of the Democratic pre-primary convention for state treasurer, but lost the primary election to Treasurer John F. Kennedy of Canton.

A lifelong Democrat, Riley followed his late father as chairman of the Norwood Democratic Town Committee, a post he still holds.

He is now safety engineer with the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.


Fri, Dec 13, 1957 – The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts)