LAURENCE STEPHENS "YOGI" O'REILLY August 10, 1939 Moose Jaw, SK - January 18, 2021, Calgary, AB Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with action and in truth. - JOHN 3:18 With Yogi's passing all who knew him lost a friend. A smile for everyone he met, an ear at the ready, a heart proudly worn on his sleeve, and a Werther's as his gift for anyone he encountered. Yogi O'Reilly was goodness personified. Yogi was fiercely proud of his Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan roots where he comprised one quarter of the legendary O'Reilly brothers. From the earliest days Yogi's optimism and dynamism set him apart, in sport, in spirit and in life, Yogi simply shone. As soon as he was able, Yogi joined the Canadian Air Force with hopes of exploring the world. He knew he'd need a partner in adventure, so wasted no time in marrying the love of his life, Velma Wiley with whom he enjoyed 60 incredible years. Velma and Yogi expanded their family to include two children, son Larry and daughter Sue Anne. After twenty-eight years as a peacekeeper, Yogi retired from the Air Force and completed his career with the Ontario Ministry of Revenue. Yogi loved sports. A crafty southpaw pitcher, it was his extraordinary batting average that earned him his nickname. From pitching in the Pony League Western Championships in 1951, to hitting a home run and catching the final out to win the Masters Slowpitch league championships at the age of 80 - baseball was a lifelong obsession. A spirited goalie in hockey, he played quarter back and receiver in football, and was deadly with a pool cue as well. In his forties Yogi became a distance runner, competing for the Canadian military racing team in North America and Europe, he proudly won the Terry Fox Run multiple times, and crushed the Boston Marathon. He spent years cheering for the Jays, Leafs, Argos and his beloved Notre Dame 'Fighting Irish'. When retirement and family ties brought him west, he enthusiastically got behind the Flames and Stampeders as well. Yogi shared his love of sport with youth as a mentor, coach and volunteer. In fact, volunteerism was Yogi's second career, and it manifested in coaching, reffing, umping, clearing outdoor rinks, organizing races and managing minor leagues. A gentleman, manners were important to him. Holding doors open, enthusiastically greeting strangers, taking the time to ask and remember new names. A devout Catholic, he lived his faith and found great fellowship at Saint James Catholic Parish, tidying sleeping cots for Inn from the Cold, assisting in the supply room at The Mustard Seed, and serving hot meals with Feed The Hungry. Not only did Yogi always show up, but he did so with kindness, grace and humour. Above all else, Yogi was a family man. Forever in love with his beautiful wife Velma, he delighted in putting her needs above his own and reminding her daily of his devotion in both words and action. As proud as he was as a parent, he was a much prouder Papa. He was the ultimate cheer leader for Tegan, Conor, Bronwyn, Dylan and Eliza - the five grandchildren were his pride and joy. While he loved taking them to and supporting their various activities, at the end of the day beyond all else he coveted time with them, and the feeling was mutual. The gentle, good natured man who was once the 'neighborhood dad' eventually became a surrogate grandfather to too many to count. When he finally became a great grandfather in November, he phoned everyone he knew personally to share the joyous news. Small in stature, Yogi had a huge impact on many lives. Gone too soon, Yogi never got old, he just stopped feeling well. He will forever be remembered for his beautiful smile, kind heart, gentle wit, and willingness to lend a hand. Rest sweetly. Predeceased by his mother Helen, brothers Glen, Brian and Terry, Yogi is survived by his loving wife Velma (Calgary), son Larry and wife Gayle (Toronto), their children Conor (Los Angeles), and Dylan (London), daughter Sue Anne Valentine and husband Dr. Stephen Valentine (Calgary), their children Tegan (Conner Edwards, New York), Bronwyn (Toronto) and Eliza (Scottsdale) as well as great grandson Patrick Edwards (New York) affectionately known as 'YY', (Young Yogi). The family would like to thank Dr. Geoff Gotto for his devoted care, and the Nursing Staff on Unit 73 Rockyview Hospital for the incredible support offered to Yogi and family during this precious time. Photos, memories and condolences may be shared with Yogi's family through www.McInnisandHolloway.com
. A celebration of Yogi's life will take place at a later date when Pandemic restrictions lift. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Prostate Cancer Centre, Calgary, Alberta or Inn From the Cold.