On Wednesday, May 23rd, the world lost an amazing man. Just short of his 94th birthday in June, Lawrence John Reilly, Sr. passed away at 3:30 Eastern, due to complications with pneumonia.
Since Wednesday, I’ve been struggling with finding the words to express my deep sorrow and to explain to the world who this man was. Because the world should know. His death should not be noticed by only his family and friends. There was so much honor, goodness, love, and forgiveness in him. How do I describe his boundless life and do it true justice?
I am the second of this five granddaughters, sixth out of the twelve grandchildren. He was the patriarch of a beautiful family, of which he lived to see the latest addition to the next generation born about a week before his death. She is his 21st great-grandchild.
Fortunately, my strong desire that the world knows about his passing from this life has been met. The Associated Press wrote an article that has been picked up by agencies around the world. The U.S. Senate heard a tribute to his passing, in marking the beginning of this Memorial Day Weekend. Friend and author Louise Esola penned one of the loveliest eulogies I could have ever imagined.
My grandfather’s obituary
The tributes to my grandfather following his death:
- Senator Chuck Schumer’s tribute on the floor of the Senate
- Louise Esola’s tribute to “The Chief”
- Syracuse.com Article
- The Associated Press Article (original), which so far has been picked up by:
- Washington Times – Veterans’ group fights Pentagon to get 74 sailors added to Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- From his fellow shipmates & friends of the USS Frank E Evans:
R.C. “So sad to hear that Master Chief Lawrence Reilly of USS Frank E Evans has passed away. My deepest condolences go out to all of the Reilly Family. The Chief will be greatly missed. I admired and loved him very much. Rest in Peace Chief.
J.C. “Today, Master Chief Gunners Mate Lawrence J. Reilly, “Larry” or “The Chief”, passed away. In his 90’s, he proudly served in the Navy, joining on18 June 1942, serving during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He came aboard the USS Frank E Evans DD 754 on 10 March 1967 in order to serve with his son, BT 3 Larry Reilly Jr.The night of 3 June 1969, The Chief survived the collision, but later learned his son, Larry Jr., had not. When on the HMAS Melbourne, one of the Aussies ask him what he had lost when the Evans front half, where The Chef had escaped, went down and he silently said, “My son!”
He loved his family and the Navy more than anything else, and he is loved and will be missed by hundreds whose life benefited by knowing him.
He is now enjoying the reunion with his wife, Marion, and Larry.”
Fair winds and following seas, Pop. Forever loved and always missed.