Harry James Reilly

September 8, 1933October 4, 2013

Harry James Reilly, 80, passed away October 4 at his home in Idaho Falls. His wife, Gerry, and daughter, Maureen, were with him. Harry was born in Waukegan Illinois, September 8, 1933, to James and Hilda Reilly. Reared in Libertyville Illinois, he graduated from high school in 1951, then attended Lake Forest College in Illinois, receiving a B.S. in Physics in 1955. Later, he earned an M.S. in Engineering Science from the University of Toledo, Ohio, in 1968. He served in the army in New Jersey and New Mexico from 1956 to 1958. Moving to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, he worked in the Atomic Power Division for Westinghouse. It was there he met Gerry. They married October 4, 1958. In 1959, Gerry and Harry moved to Milan, Ohio, where he worked for NASA as a nuclear engineer at Plum Brook Station. After 5 years they moved to the nearby town of Huron on the shore of Lake Erie. He became Chief of the Reactor Experiment Branch at Plum Brook in 1970. When Plum Brook closed down in 1973, the family moved to Idaho Falls, ID, where he worked for INEL. He retired in 1993. There were many things about Harry that made him a wonderful person. A quiet, independent man, not prone to extensive conversation, there was much love in him that expressed itself in various ways. For more than 15 years he did weekly volunteer work at St. Vincent de Paul Pantry. He also volunteered at the Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen and the Friends of Film committee at the Centre Theater. He tutored at the Eastern Idaho Technical College. He loved being outdoors; loved camping, hiking, canoeing, sailing, biking, ice skating; loved listening to the sounds of nature (loved the lonesome call of Loons), feeling the wind in his hair, and admiring the beauty of the wilderness. He would ride his bike to work almost every day, even in winter. During the summer, going for a quick dip in the river was a favorite past-time. A handyman, he liked to do and fix things for himself. He built a wooden sailboat in the basement of the house, which nobody knew how he would get out (somehow he did). He built a detachable outrigger for his canoe, allowing him to turn it into a sailboat. He loved to read and to learn. His favorite magazine was Scientific American; he also enjoyed reading the National Catholic Register. Regular trips to the library kept him supplied with books; there was never a time that there wasn’t a book he was reading. He enjoyed playing games—his favorite being Chess—and through the internet played games with people all over the world, including his son Rich. Having a kind and gentle soul, he loved animals—volunteering at the Idaho Falls Animal Shelter, feeding the birds and squirrels every day--and cared for dogs especially. Any dog in his family knew it had hit the jackpot, being spoiled rotten, getting three walks every day around the neighborhood and at local parks. His last dog, Teddy (he claimed) had evolved to “a whole new level of dogness.” More than anything else, he loved his family. He would do anything for his children, loved playing with them as kids and taking them camping. The birth of his grandson, Joseph Norman in 2000 brought great joy to his life. Joey and “Grandpa” were best friends and spent much time together. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Gerry Susan Reilly; his son Thomas; his son Richard and Richard’s wife Ann Voelkel; his daughter Maureen Norman, her husband Dan, and their son Joey; brothers George (Dadee) and Bob (Mary Anne), and sisters Pat (Bill) Shramek and Kathleen Vogel. If nothing goes wrong, he liked to say, it’s not an adventure. Sometimes his life was an adventure, but he tried his best to be a good person. His kind smile will be forever missed by his family.

A visitation will be held at the Buck-Miller-Hann Funeral Home, Thursday, October 10, 2013 from 6:00-8:00 P.M. A final blessing service will take place at 6:30 PM during the visitation. Memorial donations may be made to St. Vincent de Paul Pantry, 433 May Street, Idaho Falls, ID 83401, The Nature Conservancy, or the St. Joseph’s Indian School.


  • Visitation Thursday, October 10, 2013
  • Final Blessing Service Thursday, October 10, 2013

Harry James Reilly

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Joe & Ann Delmastro

November 8, 2013

Dear Gerry and family,
We were saddened to learn of Harry's passing and offer our most sincere sympathies to all of you. He was indeed a wonderful person and he will be missed.
Joe & Ann Delmastro

October 15, 2013

Gerry and family. I was so sorry to hear of Harry's death this morning. Know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers. I have fond memories of our visits in Idaho with my mom. Jim Collings (Yokosuka, Japan)

October 14, 2013

Gerry, I am so sorry that I was not there to support you in this sad time. I have fond memories of Harry and I have seen him walking Teddy from my kitchen window since I moved back to the neighborhood. My most sincere sympathy to you and your family.

Tom Collings

October 11, 2013

Gerry and famiily, please know that our love and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Tom Collings and family.

Margaret Collings

October 11, 2013

Hello Reilly Family,
I know we've lost touch over the years, but I wanted to send my prayers and sympathy over Harry's death. I think of the Reillys often and wish that we might be able to all gather some time. I miss the days of My Mother talking fondly of her Brother, James, and all his lovely children.
You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
Margaret (Collings) Powers and family, Flandreau, South Dakota

Sid and Jackie Stoumbaugh

October 11, 2013

Harry was a notable man of great intelligence, perseverance, and strength. He and you, Gerry, made an indelible mark and contribution to my life, and I will never forget either of you. Though many years have passed since my affiliation with each of you, the memories are very much treasured.

Particularly, I remember Harry's orchestrated stance as he rode his bicycle--always with a helmet--to work in any kind of weather. Too, I remember his red Karmann Ghia and how much he loved that "automobile." Harry was a quiet-spoken man with a keen sense of knowledge and responsibility. I remember his ability to analyze and summarize complicated scientific publications and/or journals, and how he kept his resources in a sensible--perhaps complicated--outlined filing system. Additionally, he skillfully educated himself, foreseeing challenges and planning accordingly, pursuant to any direction of greater understanding he might have deemed desirable. He was one of the kindest and smartest human beings I have ever known.

I was unaware of Harry's passing until this evening, and my heartfelt thoughts are with you. He was truly a man for all seasons--spring, summer, winter, and fall, and he knew them all as he was an adventurer. What an inspiration to mankind. . ..

God bless you, Gerry, and your family.

Jim Close

October 11, 2013

Harry was a joy to work with. He was considerate of everyone and raised our spirits with his subtle humor.

Tina & Tim Jackson

October 10, 2013

We are so grateful to have known our friend and neighbor Harry. He truly met the definition of "world's greatest grandpa." And his love for his wife, children and extended family were awesome. He also provided for the world the best example of how to treat dogs. Thanks for being you Harry! Your love lives on!

Michelle Miller

October 9, 2013

A kind and gentle soul-the perfect description for Uncle Harry. I really wish I could be there for the services, but I'm sending love and prayers to you Aunt Gerry.

Michelle Moedl

October 9, 2013

Gerry, Maureen & family
May the concern and sympathy of those who care help you through this difficult time. So sorry for your loss.
God be with you!

Michelle Rice Moedl & Mike