~~James Francis Reilly, 86, of Murray Hill, NJ passed peacefully Monday, November 7, 2016 at Overlook Hospital surrounded by Family. Born January 6, 1930 in Charlottesburg, NJ to Catherine Mae Baier and Thomas W. Reilly. He lived in Murray Hill for the past 55 years in the house he built. Jim attended St. Anthony’s Grammar School in Butler NJ, St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark and received his BS in Business from Seton Hall University with a minor in Divinity. He worked for the U.S. Gypsum Corp for 40 years serving as Regional Sales Manager.
Jim was proud of his service in the U.S. Army. First, as an enlisted man and then again as an officer when recalled for the Korean Conflict. He was an avid fisherman. Having travelled to Alaska, Costa Rica, Cabo San Lucas, Key West and other destinations to pursue his hobby. He loved maintaining his yard and home and was famous as the best neighbor anyone ever had, showing up with his leaf blower, snowblower, or chainsaw uninvited.
Jim was pre-deceased by his wife of 50 years, Sally Ann Brustlin. They were devoted parents, raising three very active boys; Ralph of Whitehouse Station, NJ, James Jr. of Dallas TX, and Glenn of Glen Mills, PA. They were doting grandparents to their eight grandchildren. They enjoyed spending their winters in Puerto Rico.
Jim’s true passion was working with youth, especially through sports and activities. His contributions and awards are almost too numerous to mention. He spent six years as a volunteer swim instructor at the Summit YMCA. He served as Cubmaster and Scoutmaster to his boys’ troop spending his summer vacations as scoutmaster at their summer camps. He was very involved with the Berkeley Heights Police Athletic League. He coached baseball and football for many years and served as the PAL Baseball Commissioner. He was instrumental in starting the PAL Wrestling Program and served as the commissioner as well. He served on the PAL Board of Directors for 23 years. Jim was named to the Berkeley Heights Youth Hall of Fame and was awarded “Father of the Year” by the Independent Press. Directly and indirectly, he guided and touched the lives of hundreds of young people.
Jim was blessed to have many devoted friends. The family is eternally grateful to all Jim’s friends for their help and companionship through his difficult illness. He could not have had more loyal friends. His loving companion, Phyllis Petrone, was often by his side and a great comfort to him. The family is thankful and indebted to you all.
A memorial service will be held at Our Lady of Peace in New Providence on Saturday, November 26 at 12:00 noon. A reception will follow at the Marco Polo Restaurant in Summit, food and beverages will be served.
To honor Jim’s devotion, a ball field and park in town is to be refurbished and renamed the “James Reilly Memorial Field”. Donations are appreciated and can be made to the James F. Reilly Memorial Park c/o Vince Bury, 101 Columbia Avenue, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922.
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