Ethel Loretta Reilly (nee Powers) was my dad’s paternal grandmother. I received her death certificate in the mail today.
Born on 27 January 1903, she died on 26 September 1955 at 1:50pm. She was only 52 years old at the time. She passed away at Queens General Hospital in Queens, New York, and following her death, an autopsy was performed.
Accordng to the death certificate, she died as a result of cardiac failure, due to rheumatic heart disease.1 Her health was complicated by the fact that just two and a half months before her death, she suffered a fall in her home resulting in a fracture to her right femur. 2 Since femur fractures are quite traumatic and take months to heal, I would assume that she was in the hospital from the time of her fall until her death, but the death certificate doesn’t confirm this.
Here burial was attended to by Queensboro Mortuary and she was buried on 30 September 1955 at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York.
The death certificate also features the following information about Ethel:
She was living at 107-25 Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park, Queens at the time of her death.
She was married to Lawrence Reilly.
Her occupation was that of a housewife.
She was born in New York
Her father was named John Powers, and her mother was named Mary (with no maiden name noted).
Aren’t you ready? I come early and your not ready. (Sounds familiar eh!) Well honey I’m really busy now. I have to study about six different things now. I got a needle yesterday for typhoid fever and was my arm stiff. Last night I has a fever and then a cold sweat. A couple of my pals told me this morning that I was talking and mumbling in my sleep and all I kept saying was “Marion”. I sure do wish you were nearby. I need you so much. When I start to study its takes me about a half an hour to get started. I keep thinking of you.
All the fellows were jealous of the letter you sent me. They all got small ones from their girls & wives. I was really happy after I read your letter, it was swell. Jimmy is here as your probably know already. But he is on the mainland and I’m on the island part of camp. How are your mother & father & Ethel & Tippie. Tell Ethel I received her welcomed letter and I will write to her over the weekend. How are your Aunt Ethel and Uncle Lee. We were playing a game the other day during our physical education period called speed ball. Its a combination of football, soccer & rugby. Well it so happened that I ended up on the bottom of a pile-up and it took 3 guys to carry me off the field. I was knocked out for about 5 minutes.
You should see me scrubbing clothes. I take me dungeree jumper, and my jersey off. My under-shirt, shoes & socks and roll up my pants to the knees. Do I look cute. Today we had “Field Day”. In the Navy that means cleaning the dormitories. We have to sweep & swab the decks (floors), wash the bulkheads (walls), dust the overhead (ceiling) and put our gear (clothes, etc.) in order. I’ll make a good wife for you. I don’t know wether I told you in my last letter that I’d be home Dec. 3. in case I didn’t thats when I’ll see you. I don’t know as yet what time I’ll get in but as soon as I do I’ll let you know. Well honey I have a lot of studying to do, wash and shave. We have Captain’s Inspection tomorrow.
I’ll always love you
Your man Larry
[with arrow pointing to “man”] Courtesy of the U.S.N.
How are you sugar? I think that poem was swell. I hope you picked out a good picture of me. (If you could find one.) You better not stay home from school too much or they will throw you out. Honey, everyone of those 2190 days I’ll be thinking of you. I really mean that dear. I’m sorry I can’t right more honey but I have to study at night, wash clothes and do a lot of other things including Sentry Duty.
Sweets I don’t want you to feel lonely, feel happy and you’ll feel better. You don’t have to worry about me going out with other women because I won’t. I’ll be home Dec. 3, but I’ll only have one 6 hr. & one 12 hr. leave before then and we can’t go further than the town of Newport. When I come home it will be for 7 days.
I go to bed at 9:30 every night. Thats when taps blow. So I’ll send a kiss to you everynight at that time.
So you finally changed your hair. I’ll bet it looks nice. I dreamed about you 3 nights in a row. They were real nice dreams. The first night I kept dreaming of you kissing me goodbye & vice-versa. I won’t be able to send you a picture because we are not allowed to have cameras up here. You wouldn’t like the uniform anyhow its work clothes & leggings. You had better still like me or I’ll be mad at you.
Honey please don’t worry about me being mad about you telling me to join up. You didn’t influence me in signing up. I really wanted to. Please send that picture soon. Try to get a pretty small one because a big one would get ruined in my sea-bag. Well goodnight honey.
Well sweetheart how are you? I hope your feeling well. I’ve been thinking of you constantly. And I do miss you & need you. You really were a comfort when I was feeling lousey and I feel that whenever I think of home & you. I wish I could end this rotten war. All the fellows feel that way too. I’m at a loss for words right now because I’ve been thinking about you so much I want to be near year. Honest honey I love you, I really do. Just wait till I get home. Well have a good time.
We had chicken for Sunday’s dinner and was that good. I’m getting use to the food now and its not bad at all. I gained four pounds already. I’ll be a horse soon. How’s everyone home? Well I just have 9 minutes before taps to write the envelope and drop it in the mail-box. I was busy tonight washing clothes & stuff. Well goodnight sweetheart. I’ll write a nice long Wed. night. Good again honey.
Hello honey, how are you. I feel pretty good except for the fact that I miss you very much. I didn’t get any sleep from Thurs. morning until 9:30 Friday nite. If you didn’t get the card I sent I’m in Newport, R.I. I’ve only been here a few days and I love although I’m very homesick. We get swell food, too many clothes, and no lovin’. Have you seen Irene yet. Poor kid I was thinking about her and leaving you and felt lousey on the train. We got on the train at 10 o’clock Thurs. nite and we didn’t leave until 1 o’clock Fri morning. We arrived at Newport at 7 o’clock Fri morning. Did we have a busy day. We got 3 needles in the arms, and med. exam and all our clothes except our dress uniform. What a load of stuff to carry. We got a hammock, 2 blankets and a mattress besides our clothes all together it weighs over 100 lbs. to carry. Excuse the writing. This is the first chance I’ve had to write and my brain is all mixed up. Tomorrow we don’t do anything but go to church so I’ll write again. You should see my head they cut off almost all my hair except 1/2″ in front. I’ll tell you what to do. Go around to my house and read the letter I sent my mother and you’ll find out a lot more of what we do. I’ll have to close now because we have to turn in.
Here’s my address. Write exactly as it is
LAWRENCE J. REILLY A/S
COMPANY 250, BARRACKS B, BATT 2
U.S. NAVAL TRAINING STATION
NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND
Please write soon. I miss you an awful lot. Tell my mother the same thing. Tell everyone else the same and I’ll write them as soon as I get a chance because we’re awfully busy. Good night honey. I love you. Take care of yourself.
This is Pop’s first letter home to Nan after joining the Navy and heading off to boot camp.