John Marcus Rielly, 84, of Geneseo, died Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, at Geneseo Good Samaritan Village. A graveside memorial service celebrating John’s life will be held 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 Ltd., is assisting the family with 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 married Mary Ann “Babe” Pollock on Sept. 2, 1950, in Savanna. She died 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 was always 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 car wash 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 McDonalds, 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.
Survivors include daughter, Anne (Alan) Krukowski of Lakeville, Minn.; daughter-in-law, Linda Rielly of Bettendorf, Iowa; three grandchildren, Kathryn Krukowski of Lakeville, Michael (Crissy) Krukowski of Lakeville and Paul Krukowski of Hubert, N.C.; great granddaughter, Katianna Krukowski of Lakeville; and two sisters, Evelyn Rielly of Houston, Texas and Magdalen Sprakel of Crofton, Neb. He was preceded in death by his parents; loving wife, Mary Ann; son, Thomas; brother, Robert Rielly and brother-in-law, Gene Sprakel.