Joseph Reilly Obituary (1921 – 2022) – Janesville, WI

Janesville, WI – Joseph D. Reilly, 100, died on Sunday, February 20, 2022 at the VA Hospital in La Jolla, California. Joe was born May 7, 1921 in Janesville, the son of the late Patrick and Nell (Meeley) Reilly. He was educated in the Janesville school system before enlisting in the military. At the age of 22, Joe became a paratrooper, serving with HQ, 3rd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Joe’s first combat mission was the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. While on a brief leave in England, Joe met and fell in love with an English girl named Eileen Campbell. It was soon deployed to several battlefields in Europe, including the Battle of the Bulge and Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest. During another short leave, Joe returned to England on March 31, 1945 to marry his war bride, Eileen. When the war ended, Joe returned to Wisconsin with his wife, Eileen, and raised three daughters: Anne, Micki, and Toni. He ended his professional career at the Parker Pen Company. Joe spent his retirement years playing golf and gardening in Santee, California. In his later years, he married Teresa Blanco in Santee, California.

Joe was a member of the Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Santee and a life member of the Knights of Columbus. He was a strong supporter of unions all his life. He enjoyed volunteering for the Santee Sheriff’s Department. Joe treasured his European travels with the Greatest Generation!

Joe is survived by his wife, Teresa; two daughters, Micki (Tom) Thren of Vail, AZ and Toni Wilson of Green Valley, AZ; grandchildren: Andrew Thren of Indonesia, Becky Thren of Tucson, AZ, Chris Rech of Ohio, Kelly (Travis) Felder of Murrieta, CA, Tim (Hannah) Hara of La Mesa, CA; great-grandchildren: Ron, Lisa Marie, Quentin, Tim, Lucas, Lillian, Emilia and Laila; sisters-in-law: Elsie Darby and her family Tony, Carolyn, John and Paul in England, Doreen McMellon and her family Peter, Hillary in England and Rosemary in Australia; special cousin, Pat (Al) Feirn of Janesville, WI and Joe’s loyal best friends, Alicia and Albert Herrera of Santee, CA.

Joe was predeceased by his wife, Eileen; daughter, Anne; grandson, Ron; brother, Raymond P. Reilly; sister-in-law, Gin Reilly; brother-in-law, Bill Campbell; brother-in-law, Leo McMellon; brother-in-law, Brian Campbell as well as many friends and relatives.

A Christian Burial Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 4, 2022, at the Guardian Angels Catholic Church, 9310 Dalehurst Rd., Santee, CA. 92071. In honor of Joe’s life, memorials may be made in his name at the Guardian Angels Catholic Church Fund. A funeral service will be held in Janesville at a later date. SCHNEIDER FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY assists the family. For online condolences and guest book, please visit:

Published by The Gazette from February 28 to March 1, 2022.


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