John J. Reilly, 77, of Berwyn died Thursday, March 2, 2000.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, he was the son of the late John Reilly and Margaret Reilly, of Staten Island.
He was retired from the U.S. Marine Corps, having served in the Raider Battalion, throughout the Pacific during WWII. He also served in Korea after which he was assigned to embassy duty in Madrid, Spain. Consequently, he served as instructor in the NROTC program at Villanova University, from which he received his bachelor’s degree. He retired from the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, Calif. in December, 1963.
Mr. Reilly began teaching social studies at Bishop Kenrick High School in Norristown in September, 1964. During the summers he served as a ranger historian at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. In 1966, he was actively involved in the formation of the Association of Catholic Teachers, Local 1776, the first Catholic teachers union in the country, and became its president and business agent in 1968, positions he held until 194 when he left the local union to work full-time on the national level.
From 1967 to 1978, ACT was affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. During this time, Mr. Reilly was AFT’s non-public school organizer and he served as a vice president of the Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers.
ACT disaffiliated from AFT in 1978 and became a founding local of the National Association of Catholic School Teachers, an organization whose creation Mr. Reilly spearheaded. He was its founding president. Mr. Reilly led the national union until his retirement in 1993. He continued to play an active role in the Catholic teacher movement, serving as a consultant and organizer for NACST.
Mr. Reilly was highly respected nationwide by teachers, school administrators and Bishops. He served on several committees of the National Catholic Educational Association and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. For over twenty-five years, Mr. Reilly fought tirelessly for justice and dignity for Catholic school teachers. In 1998, Mr. Reilly was the recipient of the first Msgr. George G. Higgins Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the National Association of Catholic School Teachers, the organization he led so well for so many years.
In addition to his wife, Rita, he is survived by a brother, Thomas E. of Brooklyn, sister, Margaret, caregiver of his 100-year-old mother, Margaret of Staten Island, NY, five children, Kathleen Reilly Jahn, John Jr., Sheila Reilly, Mary Reilly Small and Tim and ten grandchildren.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 7 at St. Monica’s Church in Berwyn. Friends may call from 10:00-11:00 a.m. at the church.
Interment will be at Washington Memorial Chapel Churchyard, Valley Forge National Park. Memorial donations may be made to St. Joseph’s Indian School, Chamberlain, SD 57326.