John K. Riles

Published 1:22 pm Monday, December 18, 2023

John Kenneth Riles, age 76, of Austin and Albert Lea, Minnesota, passed away Friday, December 15, 2023, at his home in Albert Lea.

John K. Riles

John was born on March 5, 1947, in Austin, MN, the fourth child of seven children born to Kenneth and Margaret (McNee) Riles of Lansing, MN. He lived his early years in Lansing before moving to Austin. John graduated from Austin High School in 1965 and later earned a business degree at Mankato State University.

John excelled in many sports and was a standout baseball player at Austin High School and in college at Austin Community College and Winona State University. He later played competitive fastpitch softball with various area teams. John also enjoyed coaching youth baseball in the Austin area, serving as coach for Austin Club League and VFW baseball teams in the 1980’s. He later enjoyed golf as a member of the Austin Country Club for many years. In addition to athletics, he enjoyed lake activities, including boating and fishing with family and friends at his home on Fountain Lake and vacation properties on Lake Vermilion and Lake of the Ozarks. To this day, he holds the family record for “largest walleye” on Lake Vermilion.

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John was a longtime Austin businessman and the founder and owner of Midwest Shows, a tradeshow and event production company producing tradeshows and events throughout the Midwest. He founded Midwest Shows in 1980 and went on to produce more than 250 tradeshows, primarily in agribusiness, medical technology and consumer home and vacation products. He delighted in his career, cherishing employees, and many longtime customers. His sons survive him in running the business.

John leaves behind his sons, Jason (Stephanie) Riles, Austin, MN and John Riles, St. Louis Park, MN; brothers, Dick Riles, Lansing, MN, Doug (Ruth) Riles, Hastings, MN, Steve (Mary) Riles, Rochester, MN, and Jim (Carolyn) Riles, St. Michael, MN; six grandchildren, Nicholas, Emily, Kimberly, Melanie, Katherine, and Elizabeth, as well as his former wife, Dixie Cain. He is also survived by many beloved nieces and nephews, along with numerous relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; stepfather, Peder Madson; sister, Judy Perkins; and brother, Dave Riles.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 22, 2023, at St. Augustine Catholic Church, Austin. The visitation will take place from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 21, at Mayer-Hoff Funeral Home, Austin, and will continue for one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday. Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery, Austin. If you wish to donate, please consider donating to a cancer charity of your choice in John’s memory. Mayer-Hoff Funeral Home of Austin is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at