MARQUETTE — Robert E. “Bob” Reilly, 93, of 1600 Mill Creek Court in Marquette passed away Jan. 16, 2014, at his residence. Bob was born Jan. 29, 1920, in Sault Ste. Marie to Charles P.E. Reilly and Victoria (Radomski/Robinson) Reilly. He was a 1937 graduate of Sault High School, where he played both football and basketball. In 1939 Bob moved to Marquette to work for Wylie Loans and shortly thereafter met his future wife Margaret Miller. In October 1940, Bob joined the U.S. Navy and following basic training was assigned to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Saratoga, which later participated in many World War II naval battles throughout the Pacific Theatre. In January 1942, the Saratoga was torpedoed near Wake Island resulting in multiple casualties and heavy damage. After temporary repairs in Hawaii the Saratoga made its way to the Bremerton Washington Naval Yard for additional repairs. Upon arrival, Bob telegraphed Margaret who was then teaching high school in Crystal Falls. Margaret took a train to Bremerton and on March 10, 1942, they were married. Following a short honeymoon, Bob returned to the Saratoga where he remained assigned until he was discharged in December 1944 with the rank of SK First Class.
Following the war, Bob attended Northern Michigan College of Education (NMU) and received a BA in Secondary Education. In 1953 he joined Margaret in teaching at Marquette Graveraet High School. In 1954, Bob, Margaret and sons Scott, Bill and Jim, moved to Elk Rapids, Mich., where he and Margaret had accepted teaching positions at Elk Rapids High School. Bob went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Michigan and for several years served as Principal and then Superintendent of Elk Rapids Public Schools. Later in his career he returned to classroom teaching and retired in 1985.
Bob was an avid golfer and during the season played nearly every day until age 88. He had a single digit handicap and over the years recorded three holes in one. During his tenure as superintendent, Bob started and coached the Elk Rapids High School golf team. Bob had many talents. He was a master wood carver and model airplane builder, crafts he learned while hospitalized after the war. A life-long aviation buff, Bob always wanted to learn to fly so at age 50, and unbeknownst to Margaret, he begin taking flying lessons at nearby Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City. He took his first solo flight in 1970 and for the next 15 years or so enjoyed many recreational flights over northern Michigan.