Melvin James Reilly, 92, of Simsbury, formerly of Stamford, passed away on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 in Simsbury, where he has resided since 2009. Mel, as he was known, was born March 5, 1925 in Boston, Massachusetts, son of James and Mary Reilly.
He is survived by his daughters Linda Reilly of Cheshire, Betsy Roberts and her husband Thomas of Vienna, Virginia; sons Bradford Reilly and his wife Eileen of Cheshire, Timothy Reilly and his wife Dawn of Prospect, Stephen Reilly and his wife Meg of Canton, Robert Reilly and his wife Andrea of Stamford; thirteen grandchildren, Richard DePaulis and wife Maureen, Dawn Boykin, Christopher Reilly and Kevin Reilly, Elizabeth Reilly and Sarah Reilly, Emma Roberts and Justin Roberts, Sean Reilly, Katherine Reilly and Brendan Reilly, Peyton Reilly and Julia Reilly, and five great-grandchildren, Jessica Boykin and Jeremy Boykin, Michelle DePaulis, Christina DePaulis and Allison DePaulis. Mel was predeceased by his wife Betty in 2017, his daughter Sharon, grandson James DePaulis, and sisters Martha Dahlstrand and Marjorie Schede.
Mel was a graduate of Stamford High School’s class of 1942. As his then high school sweetheart Betty went off to the University of Connecticut, Mel worked as a tool and die apprentice as he anxiously awaited his eighteenth birthday the following March. He would then proudly serve with the Marines during World War II, ultimately earning the rank of staff sergeant as a B25 Bomber mechanic crew chief. Ultimately he was deployed to Japan for post war occupation duty in the fall of 1945.
Heading off on military leave in the spring of 1946, he told his Marine buddies that he was heading home to either buy a new car or get married. On June 22, 1946 Mel married the love of his life Betty. About forty years and seven kids later he would finally buy his first new car!
While stationed at the Marine base in Quantico, Virginia, Mel and Betty became the proud parents of identical twin daughters. The young family then moved to Stamford where they raised their seven children, attending St. Leo’s Church as dedicated parishioners. Married for seventy-one years, Betty and Mel’s home became the center of all neighborhood and family celebrations.
Mel worked for 36 years at Perkin Elmer Corporation in Norwalk, a leader in analytical instrumentation and a variety of other industries, serving as a fabrication supervisor for the bulk of his career, retiring as a methods engineer.
The family wants to extend its sincere appreciation to the incredible staff at McLean Health Center in Simsbury for their constant professional, compassionate care and love shown to Mel this past year. Having known Mel from his visits over the course of eight years to see his bride, he went on to become part of the McLean family last February. His constant storytelling in the wee hours of the night kept the staff entertained as they became as attached to him as were his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, extended family, neighbors and friends. Beyond the best in care, the Reilly family views these professionals as angels on earth. They came to love Dad as we all do, and now they are part of our family forever.
Mel would tell anyone he met that he had the perfect life with the best family, the best kids and grandkids, the perfect military and civilian careers, and a life he wouldn’t trade with anyone. He endeared himself to all who were lucky enough to spend time with him. He will be missed dearly.
Calling hours will be held on Friday, February 23rd from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Vincent Funeral Home located at 880 Hopmeadow Street in Simbury. The funeral will be held Saturday, February 24th at 10:30 a.m. at St. Catherine of Siena Church located at 256 Stratton Brook Road in Simsbury. Burial will immediately follow at St. John’s Catholic Cemetery, 25 Camp Avenue in Darien, at 2:00 PM.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Mel’s name may be made to McLean Health Center, 75 Great Pond Road, Simsbury, CT 06070. For online expressions of sympathy to the family please visit www.vincentfuneralhome.com