November 15, 1921 – May 12, 2019
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Hilgenfeld Mortuary Fellowship Room (map)
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Saint Norbert Catholic Church (map)
Forest Lawn Memorial Park - Glendale (map)
Joseph Miles Reilly--beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, journalist, soldier, rancher--died in Fullerton, in the early morning hours of Mother’s Day, May 12.
Joe was born November 15, 1921 in a farm house outside Wichita Falls, Texas--the same property where his father was born. When he was about five, the family moved to Guadalupe County, New Mexico, where Joe worked with his dad and brothers on family ranch land until his graduation from Santa Rosa High School in 1939.
A studious young man, Joe attended Lourdes School near Albuquerque before enrolling at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. His studies were interrupted by World War II. He was inducted into the Army in 1942, and served as a combat scout with the 71st Infantry Division in Europe until his discharge in 1946. Joe returned to Notre Dame to complete his BA in Journalism, graduating cum laude in 1948.
By this time, his family had moved back to Wichita Falls, where Joe started his career as a newspaper reporter for the Wichita Daily Times. In 1949, he was sent to a local hospital to inquire about a report that a woman had attempted to jump out a hospital window. The floor supervisor, Celine McIntyre, steadfastly refused to talk about the matter. Joe had to give up; but attracted to the nurse’s integrity and mesmerized by her smile, he invited her on a date. Within months, the two were married at Sacred Heart Church in Wichita Falls and had their first child the following year.
The young--and growing--family moved frequently, as Joe became a reporter for the Tulsa World, was promoted to capital reporter in Oklahoma City, and then accepted a position with the Oil and Gas Journal. Promotions with the Journal took them to Houston, and then to Washington, D.C.
In 1959, Joe’s news career ended with the sudden death of his brother Buck, who had been managing a family ranch in New Mexico. Joe moved his family back to New Mexico to assume those responsibilities. He also served as Guadalupe County commissioner and was very active in Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Santa Rosa, including membership in the Knights of Columbus. Joe remained ranch manager until 1969, shortly after the death of his parents.
Scrambling to polish off his professional resume, Joe soon accepted a position in Los Angeles with Santa Fe International Corporation, an oil exploration and drilling company. The family lived in Glendale, California before settling into Villa Park, California for 26 years. Joe retired from Santa Fe International in 1982, and in 1995 he and Celine moved to Santa Maria, California, where Joe did volunteer work and loved tinkering in their yard.
Joe’s highest priorities were his Catholic faith and his family. He and Celine had six children, celebrated 69.5 years of marriage, enjoyed trips to Ireland, France, England, the Holy Land, Canada, Mexico and around the U.S., attended dozens of Notre Dame football games across 50 years, and hosted countless family gatherings in their various homes.
Preceded in death by his son Hugh, his granddaughter Marie Elizabeth Reilly, his brothers Buck and Dick and his sister Ell Reilly Wulff, Joe is survived by his wife, Celine; his sons Patrick (Dana) of Albuquerque, New Mexico and Tom (Peggy) of Altadena, California; his daughters Mickey (Susan) of Taos, New Mexico, Theresa Holst (Alan) of Tustin, California, and Margaret O’Neil (Tim) of Shingle Springs, California; grandsons Mark (Shivaun) Reilly of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Brian (Kella) Reilly of Boerne, Texas, Stephen (Savanah) Reilly of San Antonio, Texas, and Sean O’Neil of Shingle Springs, California; granddaughters Elizabeth Stephens (Reid) of Visalia, California, Sarah Holst of Los Angeles, California, and Catherine Reilly of Goleta, California; great-grandsons Devin Reilly of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Pierson Stephens of Visalia, California and Aidan Reilly of Boerne, Texas; and great-granddaughters Cora Stephens of Visalia, California, and Ella Reilly of San Antonio, Texas; five of his eight siblings (Pauline Johnson of Santa Rosa, New Mexico; Beth Richards of Santa Rosa; Theresa Lucas of Albuquerque; Celia Kubicek of Seminole, Texas; and Jane Hoff (Budd) of Abilene, Texas); and his siblings’ many children and grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Hilgenfeld Mortuary. The funeral Mass will be held at noon Thursday, May 16, at St. Norbert’s Church in Orange, California, followed by burial at Forest Lawn in Glendale. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the University of Notre Dame.