James 'Vince' O'Reilly

Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Former Juneau resident James "Vince" O'Reilly died peacefully in the company of his children on May 18, 2008, at Heritage Place in Soldotna. He was 81.

Born June 27, 1926, in Bayside, N.Y., to James Vincent and Florence O'Reilly, he graduated from Manhasset High School and then served in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After his discharge, he attended the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated with a degree in finance in 1949.

Family said he met the love of his life, Marjorie, at a summer tennis tournament in Vermont in 1951. They were married on Oct. 25, 1952, in Boston.

O'Reilly had the opportunity to visit Alaska for business several times from 1969-1970. The warm welcome he experienced from every Alaskan he met convinced him that he wanted to raise his family in Alaska, his family said. The O'Reilly family made lifelong friends when they met George and Rose Navarre and their 11 children during their first summer in Kenai.

In Kenai, O'Reilly worked for the Kenai Peninsula Borough, Kenai Air Service and established his private consulting firm, VORCO. He retired as the deputy commissioner of Commerce and Economic Development with the Sheffield administration.

While in New York, he coached youth sports, served as a volunteer firefighter and was active with the NAACP and urban renewal. He served as the mayor of Kenai from 1977-83 and was an active participant in the Alaska Democratic Party, a founding member of the Peninsula Oilers and a parish council member at the church. He also was elected the mayor of Heritage Place.

"Our family is forever blessed by his loving patience and guidance," his family said.

O'Reilly was preceded in death by his wife, Marjorie, sister, Lora, and an infant granddaughter, Erin.

He is survived by daughters, Deirdre Marblestone and husband, Ron, Patty Rich and husband, Jim, and Margaret Gilman and husband, Blaine; sons, Vince O'Reilly, Sean O'Reilly and wife, Tarie, and Tom O'Reilly and wife, Patty; grandchildren, Dan and Aimi Rich, Liz and James Bouman, Maria and Emily Rich, Claire, Brian and Sarah Marblestone, Kathleen, James and Xandra O'Reilly, Rachel, Annie and Katherine O'Reilly, Tommy, Jack and Anna O'Reilly, and Rebecca, Ben, Jacob and Brittany Gilman; great-grandchildren, Olivia and Rich Bouman, Dawson Schmidt and Mila Rich; sister-in-law, Patricia Coggins; nieces, Gail Carter, Jeanette Bolte and Karen Montagne; and nephew Michael Coggins.

Visitation will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 22, at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church on Spruce Street in Kenai. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, May 23, at the church.

Memorial donations may be made in his memory to the Kenai Community Foundation, 125 N. Willow St., Kenai, AK 99611. Condolences may be sent to the family at 216 Susieanna Lane, Kenai, AK 99611. Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.

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