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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Happy birthday with cheers to 99-year-old Don O’Reilly!


Above / Don O’Reilly celebrates his birthday every Nov. 16! Recently and with gratitude, we caught his reading PN!

Updated Post, April 12, 2024 / Don O’Reilly is remembered by the Naperville Honor Guard with photos by James Hoch Photograph.

O’Reilly Funeral – 2024

When Jim Oftedal, Chaplain of Naperville VFW Post 3873 and Commander of the Combined Post Honor Guard, presented the three shell casings to the family on the steps of Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, with blessings he quietly said they represent “duty, honor, country.” 

Don O’Reilly touched many hearts during his 102 years. Don also served as flag bearer for the Honor Guard from its beginning in 2015. —PN

Updated Post, March 29 / “Don O’Reilly is at peace. Our comrade, friend, and role model passed away this morning around 7AM. He was 102. He has been a member of both the VFW and the Legion as well as a member of the honor Guard for a very, very long time.  We will miss his “living history” Don shared with us through the years,” noted Dennis Lukavsky for the American Legion and the VFW. 

Original Post, Nov. 16, 2020 / For many years, Don O’Reilly has been a familiar face during socials at the Judd Kendall VFW Post where he’s been a very active member of both VFW Post #3873 and American Legion Post #43. On Nov. 16, 2020, Don is celebrating his 99th birthday.

American Legion Social – Naperville, Illinois – Veterans Day Celebration – November 11, 2016 (Photo courtesy Jennifer Slown for the American Legion)

O’Reilly served in the Army Air Corps (Air Force) during World War II. He was Air Force Military Police stationed in England.  

As his story is told by Jennifer Slown, PAO, Post 43, “One evening, his commander asked Don to guard a door for a group meeting and to ‘Let no one enter without proper authorization.’  Don performed that duty, but did not know the subject matter of the group meeting. The next day, Don was informed that he was guarding the members of the group who were reviewing the details for the next day’s attack…Invasion of Normandy, France – Operation Overlord – June 6, 1944.”

Catching up with longtime PN reader

Earlier this month O’Reilly attended the Mission BBQ ribbon cutting and grand opening with dozens of fellow Veterans and first responders. He reminded your PN publisher about a story featuring his yoga efforts written by columnist Barbara Blomquist a couple years ago. 

During one of the Naperville Municipal Band concerts in Central Park that summer, O’Reilly had stopped by the information table to ask if there were a way he could get extra copies!

Two weeks ago, we seized the opportunity to snap a photo of his reading the November issue of PN to run on his birthday.

So here we go, “Cheers to 99 years, Don O’Reilly! Happy Birthday!”

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.


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