James Kenneth Reilly, 93, passed away Tuesday, November 24, 2020, at Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka.
JK was born February 26, 1927 in Emmett, Kansas, the son of Michael L. and Victoria M. Hrenchir Reilly. He spent most of his early life with Martin J. Reilly, his uncle, in Emmett. Martin was JK’s father figure. JK graduated from Emmett High School in 1946 where he participated in track, basketball, and was known as a bit of a prankster.
On November 14, 1950, Jim and Catherine C. Dohrman were united in marriage in Topeka. Shortly after marriage he served in the United States Army at White Sands Proving Ground near Las Cruces, New Mexico.
After returning from military service, Jim began his career in residential construction with Dahlstrom Construction. During that time JK and Catherine built their own house in south central Topeka. Dahlstrom transitioned to commercial construction, beginning JK’s field supervision of many prominent buildings in the Topeka area. JK later worked for Casson Construction and Watson Construction. Prominent buildings include the Kansas Supreme Court building, Blue Cross & Blue Shield, American Home Life Insurance, KU Med in Kansas City, Silver Lake Grade School, Grace Episcopal Cathedral (stabilization after major fire), First United Methodist chapel, and Morgan Hall addition and Benton Hall tornado rebuild at Washburn. JK also taught carpentry at Vo-Tech. He retired as Building and Grounds Superintendent for the Menninger Foundation in Topeka. He was a member of the Kansas Building Trades and Carpenters Union.
JK, was an active member of Mater Dei –Holy Name Catholic Church and the Eagles. In his younger years, he was an avid bird hunter and enjoyed archery. He was a practical joker and was known to have stolen several newlywed brides away from their wedding receptions. He and Catherine loved playing cards and dancing. They helped many family members with building and remodeling projects, including building son Steve’s house in Salina.
Jim and Kate were married 59 years. She preceded him in death on April 22, 2009. JK was also preceded in death by his siblings Michael, Martin, Harold Francis, Edward, Mary Rita, Joan Therese and Patrick.
Survivors include two sons, Jim (Sandra) Reilly, Lee’s Summit, MO., and Steven (Patricia) Reilly, Salina; his daughter, Susan Reilly (David); a brother, John Reilly, Del City, OK; two sisters, Romona Arp, and Bonnie (Woody) Konrade both of Topeka; four grandsons, Justin (Jillian), Jason (Danielle), Jackson (Molli) and Josiah.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 A.M. Thursday, December 3, 2020, at Mater Dei – Holy Name Catholic Church in Topeka. Visitation, also at Mater Dei – Holy Name, will be Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 5:00 followed by a 7:00 prayer service. Interment will be at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, St. Marys.
Memorial contributions may be made to Mt. Calvary Cemetery, St. Marys, or the Emmett Alumni Association and sent in care of Piper Funeral Home, 714 Maple Street, St. Marys, Kansas 66536. To leave online condolences go to Piper Funeral Home at www.piperfuneralhome.com.
Masks and social distancing are required per Shawnee County.