By David Ring
|We have here at Div.7 one of the great
Reillys among us.
John Reilly, son
of Patrick (County Wicklow) and MaryAnn, nee Crowley, (County Antrim)
was born on July 14, 1934. One of four boys, he was raised in the Bronx
and in Little Neck.
A graduate of Marianist Prep in Beacon New
York, John served four years in the U.S. Navy as an aerial navigator on
a hurricane chaser Super Constellation. John holds a Bachelor of Arts
degree in Education from Fordham University and a Master’s degree from
Queens College. John spent 30 years in the Brentwood School District as
an elementary teacher, retiring in 1989.
John has a long history of leadership and
community service. His commitment to the Ancient Order of Hibernians is
unparalleled. Since he became a Hibernian on February 24, 1963, John has
had an impressive record of service and accomplishment:
Charter member of Division 7
Parade Chairman since its inception
Gold Medal, National Hibernian Essay
Contest. Topic: AOH Division 7
President of Division 7
Suffolk Count Secretary
Aide to Grand Marshall Dennis Quinn,
N.Y.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade, 1987
Grand Marshall, East Islip St.
Patrick’s Day Parade
Hibernian of the Year
Life member, Ancient Order of
John’s dedication, service and love for all
that is Hibernian is legendary. His commitment to our beliefs, the
church, and service to the organization is inspiring. He IS
the East Islip St. Patrick’s Day Parade. These, however, are not his
greatest accomplishments. There are at least two more.
The first is, of course, family. John and
his wife, Pat were married on August 20, 1955. This year they will be
celebrating their golden anniversary. They are the proud parents of six
children, three boys and three girls. John lives the ideals of our
church and our organization. He is a role model for all of us.
John’s other great accomplishment is the
high esteem in which he is held by his fellow Hibernians. In over forty
years of service to any organization, a person can wear out and lose
their motivation. This has not happened in John’s case. His commitment
is firm, and his beliefs are strong. He has earned and kept the respect
of his fellow Hibernians. He helped to build our foundation and assisted
in our successful growth. He embodies true Hibernianism.
The great tradition of the Reilly’s is well
represented by Division 7’s own John Reilly. Through him, his actions
and example, our Division and our Order are stronger.
O’Reilly, Reilly, and Riley are just a few of the
variations of this prominent Irish name. The name dates back to the
Middle Ages, “The individual who gave the sept its name was one
Raghallach (“Ragh”: Irish, a race; “ceallach” gregarious) was slain at
the Battle of Clontarf, 1014, alongside the High King of Ireland, Brain
Boru. Raghallach himself was of the same stock as the O’Rourke’s and
therefore of the line of the great O’Connor kings of Connacht”. (www.araltas.com)
The O’Reilly’s were aristocrats in Ireland for hundreds of years.
The (O) Reilly’s were for centuries the
ruling family of the kingdom of East Breffny, and at their height
controlled most of Co. Cavan and large parts of Co. Meath. The family
was widely involved in trade in medieval Ireland and at one time
‘Reilly’ was a term for Irish money, subsequently banned by the English.
It has also been suggested that they lived well, as the phrase ‘the life
of Reilly’ indicates. They were also notable as ecclesiastics, the
family, since the sixteenth century, providing five primates of All –
Ireland, five Bishops of Kilmore, two of Clogher and one of Derry. (www.araltas.com)
There have been many famous Reilly’s
throughout history. The following is just a partial list:
Cathal O’Reilly, Prince of Breifne,
founded the Franciscan Monastery at Lough Oughter.
Count Don Alexander O’Reilly, Field
Marshall for Spain (born in Ireland) and Governor of Louisiana.
Count Andrew O’Reilly, Field Marshall
for Austria (born in Ireland) and Governor of Vienna.
Sir John O’Reilly, Chamberlain to the
John Roberts O’Reilly, invented the
Naval distress flare.
John Boyle O’Reilly, Fenian, poet and
Myles O’Reilly, commanded the Irish
Brigade in the Papal service.
A.J.F. (Tony) O’Reilly, President and
CEO of Heinz.
There are, of course, many, many more.