Edward Francis Reilly, 86, of Manasquan, passed away peacefully surrounded by family in Massachusetts on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Ed prepared his own obituary which follows.
In my own words….
I’m outta here!
The famous New York Yankee Lou Gehrig once delivered a sentimental speech on being the luckiest man in the world. Move over Lou – Here I come!
Born in West Orange, New Jersey, I was raised by a single mom (good Irish Catholic father took off -couldn’t handle it), my Grandmother Margaret Flynn and my Aunt Josephine Flynn. My mother Agnes had the sense to get the good nuns of Our Lady of the Lake Verona Parish to educate me both spiritually and academically. They taught me discipline, but always allowed for a lot of fun times. That was my close-knit family. At St. Benedicts I was able to use the knowledge of the WW2 vets as I entered young adulthood. Sports, women, booze and education were all part of my high school experience (in no particular order).
As I reflect on my life, I can’t help but be amazed at how fortunate and lucky I’ve been. To quote Casey Stengel, “I’d rather be lucky than good.” I’d like to think I was equally both –but at this point I think honesty is important; luck was definitely the bigger factor. I was lucky in my professional life. I was lucky with friendships. Not every decision was a good one and a lot of times I got lucky with those. I was lucky with family. I was lucky in life. I know many great people that have had little or no luck, people that deserved a better life and for one reason or another luck was never on their side. Don’t ever discount the value of luck, I never have.
If you’re reading this, then you must know me. If you are reading this and don’t know me, I hope you enjoy the show. I’ve always enjoyed telling a story and including as much detail as I can. To reflect on 86 years and put it on paper with the amount of detail I normally enjoy is an exercise I probably should have started long ago. To allow you all the opportunity to get back to your own lives, I’ll offer an abbreviated version. Please understand that I remember all the details, nearly every last one, because the details are what make every memory great. Details provide meaning and change a moment into a memory.
Here as some of the details of my professional career. In the beginning, I enjoyed carrying coal, pick and shovel, digging and working with asbestos for three years. It was fun and I made money. I moved on to delivering salt from a panel truck in a three piece suite and thus began my career in the food industry where I would remain for my entire professional career. In 1952, Uncle Sam and Korea came calling and I earned my Combat Infantry Badge (CIB) in combat in 1953. The Army taught me discipline and instilled a strong work ethic which I carried with me throughout my career. After Korea and throughout my career, I had the good fortune (luck) of working for some great companies and making some great relationships. The best part of my career was always the people and the relationships. I thrived on the connection and working together to accomplish goals. Whether it was making the sale, improving the company or closing the deal, the relationship was always the part I valued the most. Many of the professional relationships I made over the years turned into valued friendships that I cherish to this day. The two people whom I had the pleasure of working with later in life were Danny and Valerie DeRose at Major Products. I can’t help but be proud of what we were able to accomplish together and I know they’ll continue to be successful.
I knew at a young age I wanted to be a father and I wanted to have a big family. It took me three marriages, but when you add it all up, I got what I wanted. I leave behind my children Maryalyce Reilly, Tara Reilly (Jeff Levin), Gwen Campanelli (Carmen), James Trimble, Stephen Reilly (Terri), Shannon Reilly (Patricia Morano), Jennifer Reilly, and Michael Reilly. I also had the pleasure of being a father figure for Nisha and Gregory Reilly. My six grandchildren are evidence my luck in life continued as I was truly blessed to be a grandfather to CJ Nolan, James, Madison, and Jackson Reilly, Elea Levin, and Bethany Trimble.
My greatest luck, by far, was meeting and marrying the absolute love of my life, Joan. I had found the partner I was looking for when luck prevailed in the greatest way. I like to think we were good for each other, but I definitely got the better of the deal. My life with Joan began the final chapter in my story. It has been a chapter full of happiness, love, travel, adventure, family and great, great memories. Our travels throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas and so many other wonderful locations in between. Our time at the Jersey shore, the Broadway shows, and the time with family. I love you Joan and am on my way.
Private services will be held at a later date. In remembrance of Ed, and in Ed and Joan fashion, friends and family are encouraged to see a Broadway show in their honor.