Life Story: Our Lady of Peace Principal Tim Reilly

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As we come to the end of the school year, a beloved teacher in the west metro is being remembered for his gregarious personality.

Tim Reilly worked at Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria. Last year, he fulfilled his dream of becoming a principal when he took a job at Our Lady of Peace Catholic School in Minneapolis.

In this week’s Life Story, we look at the impact Reilly had on his students and his family.

His students and his coworkers remember him as a high school teacher who didn’t hold back.

“He was loud,” co-worker Meg Redshaw said. “I would sometimes have to go look at him and say, ‘Shh!’ He would sing to them.”

Tim taught U.S. history and government for nearly 15 years, incorporating rock and roll into his lectures, to make them come alive.

“When he taught about Vietnam he played some of that music as he was going through his presentation and photos. He played jazz and he would play The Beatles,” Redshaw said.

Reilly had a passion for boosting the self-confidence of his students, empowering them with knowledge.

Celeste Reilly describes her husband of 20 years as a big guy with broad shoulders who was her best friend.

“He said things can be taken away from you. You can lose your home, your car, your health, whatever. You can never lose your education. Once you learn something, you have it and no one can ever take that away,” she said. “He definitely was my other half. We used to talk about how apart we were OK people, but together we made a fine person.”

tim reilly Life Story: Our Lady of Peace Principal Tim Reilly

(credit: CBS)

In their daughter, she sees Tim’s sense of humor and his love of theater and music. Grace Reilly remembers relaxing with her father and getting into mischief together.

“He loved the Beatles a lot,” she said. “Or maybe going to the park and ‘accidentally’ going by a store and ‘accidentally’ going in it and maybe buying something.”

A couple of years ago, Tim Reilly was diagnosed with heart disease. He lost about 100 pounds in an effort to restore his health.

But a diagnosis of kidney cancer proved to be much more difficult to overcome.

“He was definitely a big part of my life. He was definitely a gift,” Grace Reilly said.

Tim Reilly was 48 years old when he died May 18.

Donations in his honor can be made to Good Shepherd Catholic School in Golden Valley.

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