Marva Jeanne Pitt Riley grew up in east Tarboro on a street where the neighborhood village raised all the children and helped teach all the children.
When she came of age, Mrs. Riley did the same thing: She became a teacher.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from North Carolina Central University and taught elementary school. When illness took her from the classroom, she continued to teach. She gave grammar lessons on the front porch of the family home on East Church Street. She helped friends and family, and later some staff members at the Golden Living Center, where she spent the last years of her life, to ensure that their work was well done.