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Robert Francis Reilly


1921 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Robert Francis Reilly Obituary
REILLY, Robert Francis A bright light went out early Christmas morning when Robert "Bob" Francis Reilly passed away in Palm Beach surrounded by his loved ones. Born in Brooklyn on December 7, 1921 of Freida Horn and Philip Reilly, Bob's life was a rich tapestry of experiences that range from picking up coal as a little boy to warm his parents' flat, to becoming chairman and CEO of a leading US clothing manufacturer and retailer. He was the oldest of three boys; Myles and Ronald, both predeceased him. He graduated from St. Michael's High School in Brooklyn, where he excelled as a student and athlete, and was recruited to his beloved Providence College by the same priest who discovered Babe Ruth. There he won the Mal Brown Award for athletic achievements - as catcher on the baseball team, and point guard on the basketball team - and is commemorated in the PC Athletic Hall of Fame. Upon graduation in 1941 he was recruited by the Brooklyn Dodgers but also the US Army. So, off he went to Calcutta, where he put his PC business degree to work accounting for gold that was flown "over the hump" to China during World War II. Upon return to the US after the war, he married his first wife Mary Shovlin Reilly, and raised a family of two, Ann Reilly Dowd, and Robert "Bob" Philip Reilly, in Manhattan with weekends in Oyster Bay, NY. He also learned to love golf and oil painting. His water scenes and landscapes are admired and celebrated in the homes of family and friends. After Mary's death, he funded a scholarship in her name at Providence College to send young female athletes to college there. Later his contributions built an art gallery at Providence. Bob earned his MBA from New York University, and began his financial career as comptroller of American Limoges China Corp. and Baldwin Lima Hamilton Corp. Then he spent 25 years at Philips Van Heusen, a Fortune 500 clothing manufacturer and retailer, where he rose to chief financial officer and member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors. He was responsible for corporate financings, mergers and acquisition, leveraged buyouts and capital investments. He ended his career as Chairman and CEO of TJFC, a clothing manufacturer and retailer that he sold to Hugo Boss. He was honored as Man of the Year by The Society of Christians and Jews in New York. In 1991, Bob married Mary Anne Sommers, a leader in the magazine world, and helped launch Child Magazine. They shared a rich life together travelling between New York City, Fire Island, Oyster Bay, Santa Fe, and Palm Beach with visits to family in California and Germany. Bob was known as a stylish dresser who could wear a cowboy hat in Paris as comfortably as needlepoint loafers in Palm Beach. He was a gentleman and raconteur who relished a good debate and good scotch. He loved life. He was beloved for his integrity, sense of humor, kindness, and generosity. He will be deeply missed but never forgotten. He is survived by his wife Mary Anne and his family - Ann and Pat Dowd and his three grandchildren Patrick Reilly Dowd, Mary Reilly Dowd and Christopher Reilly Dowd; Bob and Jing Reilly; his step daughter Kathleen and her husband Ron Naiditch. Friends are welcome to celebrate Bob's life at Saint Edward's Church in Palm Beach on Monday, January 8 at 10:00 AM.
Published in The Palm Beach Daily News on Jan. 1, 2018
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