A graveside memorial service celebrating John's life will be at 11 a.m. Friday, March 1, at North Cemetery, Geneseo, with inurnment to follow. No visitation will be held. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be left to Geneseo G.I.F.T. Foundation to support local charities. Vandemore Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, Geneseo, is assisting the family with the arrangements.
John, affectionately called "Papa Jack" by his family, was born on May 18, 1928, in rural Rock Valley, Iowa, the son of John F. and Mary B. Rielly. He was united in marriage to Mary Ann "Babe" Pollock on Sept. 2, 1950, in Savanna, Ill. She preceded him in December 2004.
Jack worked for the Milwaukee Road and Soo Line Railroads out of Savanna, for a half-century and then retired as the number one locomotive engineer. He enjoyed every facet of his life as a railroad man, but his heart always was fond of the farm and horses.
After retirement, Jack and Babe moved to Geneseo in 1994. Even as a retiree, Jack invested in the community by working at Super Wash carwash for several years before simply donating his time. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus in Savanna before joining the Moose Lodge of Geneseo, enjoying his weekly moose milk. Jack's faith in Christ was quietly, yet deeply held, faithfully serving St. Malachy's Catholic Church as an usher, welcoming believers into a worship experience with God. He was an equally faithful friend, sharing conversation and life's experiences over daily coffee at McDonald's, taco Tuesday, fun-filled local auctions and Railroad Retiree luncheons.
Most of all, Papa Jack adored his three grandchildren, sharing memorable weeks every summer with them as they grew up, passing on a legacy of unconditional love, patience and gentleness for the generations to come. Posterity will forever remember John Rielly as a dear man who will be greatly missed by all whom he touched. Family and friends draw comfort from the truth that early morning, Feb. 21, before the sun rose, the radiance of his Savior shined down on him. He heard the words, "Well done, My good and faithful servant!" and then received his eternal inheritance.
Surviving are daughter, Anne (Alan) Krukowski, Lakeville, Minn.; daughter-in-law, Linda Rielly, Bettendorf; three grandchildren, Kathryn Krukowski, Lakeville, Michael (Crissy) Krukowski, Lakeville, Paul Krukowski, Hubert, N.C.; great-granddaughter, Katianna Krukowski, Lakeville; and two sisters, Evelyn Rielly, Houston, Texas, Magdalen Sprakel, Crofton, Neb.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents; loving wife, Mary Ann; son, Thomas; brother, Robert Rielly; and brother-in-law, Gene Sprakel.
Share a message of sympathy with John's family at www.vandemorefuneralhome.com.
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