John Edward Reilly was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 19, 1921, one of five children of Edward and Jane.
John joined the Civilian Conservation Corps at the age of 17 and worked on environmental projects in Nevada, Utah, and the Pacific Northwest. He earned $30 a month, of which $25 was sent home to his family in Brooklyn. It installed a life-long love of landscaping and working outdoors.
In April 1942 he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, earning the rank of Technical Sergeant, and saw action in the South Pacific while assigned to the USS Boise during WWII. He re-enlisted in 1946 and 1949, stationed in China, the Panama Canal zone, and other places in U.S. and abroad until his honorable discharge in 1952.
John married Dorothy Connelly in 1952 and settled in Bay Shore, where they raised six children. He worked as a gang foreman for the LIRR until 1976. A faithful parishioner at St. Anne’s in Brentwood and then Our Lady of Lourdes in West Islip, he served in the Holy Name Society at both. He was also a volunteer at the fledgling Brentwood Legion Ambulance.
John died September 6, 1976 in Bay Shore.