THOMAS FRANCIS REILLY JR.
Thomas Francis Reilly, Jr. 88, was reunited with his beautiful blushing bride, Joyce, on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, at the Iowa Veterans Home, Marshalltown.
Tom was born on September 17, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Thomas and Eula (Maggart) Reilly Sr.
He graduated from Milan High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri in 1955. Later that year, Tom joined the United States Air Force. Lt. Reilly flew F-86 Sabre jets, and was especially proud of his service as one of 19 pilots at the time assigned to protect the US Capitol.
His life truly began on April 7, 1956, when he married Joyce Adams at Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. For nearly 62 years, Joyce was his one and only. She took care of the home and family while he traveled for his career.
Tom landed in Cedar Rapids with Farmsteads Foods before moving on into a long career in sales with Ayerst Pharmaceuticals, Weems Group, Osborne International Multifoods, and Linn Photo. In retirement, his strong work ethic and people skills led him to drive school bus for Prairie. He could make friends with anyone and enjoyed staying active.
Tom’s passion for flying continued long after his military service. He was a private pilot and charter member of the Cloud 9 Flying Club. Over the years, he also served as a Boy Scout leader and learned to grow the finicky sterling silver rose. His family and friends will greatly miss him.
Survivors include his children, Ted (Karen) Reilly and Melissa (Sam Schumacher) Reilly; grandson, Travis; brother, Timothy F. Reilly; and aunt, Lois Swearengen.
He was preceded by his parents; wife, Joyce; son, Christopher; sister-in-law, Frances Dardeau; and brother-in-law, James (Kathleen) Adams.
Two of Tom’s happiest years were at Milan High School. (1949-51) As a non-native latecomer, he was surprised when his classmates elected him president of the Senior class of 1950-51. Thereafter, he always thought popular athlete Bill Carter was due the honor.
Tom got along well with his teachers as well as his classmates. A rule of thumb: During Miss Ruth Shipley’s dramatic readings of Shakespeare, one sat in awe and reverie; while listening to Miss Gerry Guinn’s lectures on Western Civ., one sat at attention. One of the music department’s performing spoofs was the celebrated “Geman Band” with band director Tom waving his baton (a toilet plunger), and George Chambers on drum and David Montgomery on trumpet, among others. They were always a hit with Milan’s Lions Club, meeting regularly in the dining hall above the old Southside Café.
With more than eighty graduates, the class of ’51 was one of MHS’ largest- –all were babies of the Great Depression and most saw the end of the First Cold War.
Tragically, there were casualties early on. Classmate Robert Peters died within hours after graduation in a one car accident on Highway 6 east of Trenton. One year later, following enlistment in the U.S. Army, classmate Kenneth Swearengen was killed in combat near the close of the Korean War.
Family and friends gathered from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, December 10, 2021, at Stewart Baxter Funeral and Memorial Services, Cedar Rapids. Burial with military honors will be at a later date at Squires Cemetery.
Please share your support and memories with Tom’s family on his Tribute Wall at www. stewartbaxter.com under obituaries