American Veteran 01

Joseph A Reilly

December 11, 1924 ~ November 16, 2021 (age 96)


      Joseph A. Reilly, of Toms River passed from this life peacefully on Tuesday, November 16, 2021. He was 96 years old. Joe was predeceased four years earlier by his loving wife Elizabeth, “Betty”, after 68 years of marriage. He was born to the late Elizabeth (McCabe) Reilly and Frank J. Reilly on December 11, 1924 and was raised in Newark, NJ.  He was also predeceased by his three siblings, Frank J. Reilly, Jr. of Tampa, Elizabeth “Betty” (Reilly) Lazur of Nutley, and John “Jack” Reilly of Toms River as well as his son-in-law, Nicholas C. DeBartolomeis of Toms River.

      Joe attended Arts High School in Newark. There he cultivated an inherent talent. His family are very fortunate to have many sculptures and paintings he produced during those years and after. Joe graduated from Arts High in 1942 and enlisted in the United States Navy.

     He was assigned to the Navy Armed Guard protecting merchant and supply ships from submarine, air, and surface ship attack while crossing the North Atlantic. He later sailed from the Atlantic through the Strait of Gibraltar to the Mediterranean and through the Suez Canal to ports in the Middle East on his way to duty in the South Pacific. Joe was in the United States Navy for over three years during World War II attaining the rank of Coxswain (T).

     Joe received the Navy Good Conduct Medal, the Honorable Service Pin, the World War II Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon.

     During his time away, Joe’s sister Betty, urged her friend, Betty Trabold, a high school girl in their neighborhood and family friend, to write to Joe. She did, and they exchanged countless letters during the war. Joe’s family has many of those letters. With World War II over, Joe was honorably discharged from the Navy on January 30, 1946. The following day, the future Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Reilly had their first date.

     Betty and Joe were married at Sacred Heart Church in Newark on June 11, 1949. At that time, Joe worked in jewelry design and personally designed Betty’s engagement and wedding rings. They raised their four children in Newark and later moved to Nutley in 1979. Joe’s later work was the installation of specialized office equipment for the banking industry. In 1994 Betty and Joe moved to Toms River and began to enjoy many years of active retirement full of travel and other activities. They became parishioners of St. Maximilian Kolbe Church. Joe was an active member of the US Navy Armed Guard Veterans, South Jersey Pinelands Division, where he and Betty enjoyed monthly luncheons and many reunions. More recently, Joe had an active social life full of many friends, activities, and music at Brandywine Senior Living for the past six years. There he regularly enjoyed live music. He especially enjoyed art classes where he rekindled his interest in art. Joe put a lot of life into his almost 97 years, right up until two days prior to his passing.

     Joe is survived by his four children; his sons, Joseph A. Reilly, Jr. and his wife Ginny of Nutley; and William Reilly and his wife Kathy of Nutley; his daughters, Maureen (Reilly) DeBartolomeis of Toms River, and Kathy (Reilly) Welshman and her husband John Frisch of Toms River. Joe is also survived by 10 grandchildren; Megan (Reilly) and her husband Joe Sweeney, Kevin Reilly and his wife Tara, Kristen Reilly, Nicole (DeBartolomeis) and her husband Steve Capoano, Lauren DeBartolomeis, Nicholas DeBartolomeis, Kenny Welshman and his wife Jenn, Kristie (Welshman) and her husband Dave Plewa, Kyle Welshman, and Kristopher Welshman; as well as 12 great-grandchildren; Gianna, Angelina, Sophia, Daniella, Vincent, Delaney, Addison, Jacob, Jaxson, Alexis, Emilia, and Milania.

     The family will receive friends and relatives on Sunday, November 21, 2021 from 2:00 PM until 6:00 PM at Timothy E. Ryan Home for Funerals, 145 St. Catherine Boulevard, Toms River.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 AM Monday, November 22, 2021 at St. Maximilian Kolbe Roman Catholic Church, with burial to follow at St. Joseph Cemetery, Toms River.

     The family will be forever grateful to the staff at Brandywine Senior Living and Grace Healthcare Services for their loving and professional care rendered to both Betty and Joe.

     In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Grace Healthcare Services, 105 Fieldcrest Avenue, Suite 402, Edison, NJ 08837 or to Alzheimer’s Association, at

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November 21, 2021

2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Timothy E. Ryan Home for Funerals- SCB
145 St. Catherine Blvd

Mass of Christian Burial
November 22, 2021

10:00 AM
St. Maximilian Kolbe RC Church
130 St. Maximilian Lane

November 22, 2021

11:30 AM
St. Joseph Cemetery (Cedar Grove Rd, Toms River)

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