John V. Reilly, 75, of Denver, Colorado, passed away at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Denver on November 2, 2023 following a brief illness. John, a.k.a. JV or Jave, was born and resided in Scotch Plains, New Jersey until 1984. He graduated from Scotch Plains/Fanwood High School, attended Belmont Abbey in North Carolina, and graduated from Metro State University in Denver, where he lived for the past 39 years.
John turned early years in construction into a private trade as a general contractor, carpenter, and handyman. He was humble about his skills and exacting with his standards and tools. He had a love for woodworking and made beautiful and useful pieces that remain in the homes of his family and clients. The care he put into every project left the places he worked better than he found them, and he passed on handy life skills to his nieces and nephews.
John loved camping, walking, outdoor concerts, music from the 60s and 70s, the daily newspaper, and the Rockies and Nuggets when they were on a winning streak. He had a curious mind and was a voracious but very selective reader, his rule of thumb being “any book is allowed 40 pages and then I’m out.” He turned bits he picked up from his reading to mischievous ends, inventing nonsense phrases or nicknames, many of which stuck. He teasingly dubbed his sisters Mophi, Jophi, Rophi, and Kophi just to get a rise. John loved to laugh, especially at himself, and like his father was a great storyteller, able to engage both young and old.
John was a favorite among his many neighbors and was always ready to lend a helping hand to those in need. When you spoke to John you always had his full attention. He listened, cared, and made you feel valued. His warm smiles always made you feel special and he shared them freely with friends and strangers alike. Though not a fan of large gatherings, John always showed up and then quietly made an Irish exit. Most of all, John was a kind and sensitive man, a gentle soul with a heart of gold. He adored his nieces, nephews, and their offspring, and valued family above all else.
John was predeceased by his parents, John Vincent Reilly, Sr., and Frances Gable Reilly, his “Irish twin” Maureen Spittlehouse, and several aunts and uncles. He is survived by his sisters Kathleen and Joanne Reilly of Denver and Rosemary Cooke of Chatham, NJ, and his brothers-in-law Ron Otsuki and Dan Spittlehouse, his aunt Regina Dolan of California, and many loving relatives in the Dolan, Ryan, and FitzPatrick families. He leaves a legacy of love to his cherished nephews, Bob Cooke and Jason Otsuki, his nieces Emily Williams and Maya Otsuki, grand-nieces Lily-Max and Carina Cooke, and grand-nephews Daniel and Fernando Cambero. John will be deeply missed by all privileged to have known him.
A service will be held at Horan & McConaty at 1091 S. Colorado Blvd. on Friday, November 10th from 11:00am to 12:00pm. Burial arrangements will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name can be made to a charity of your choice, or a random act of kindness performed in his memory.
Please share memories of John and condolences with his family by signing the online guestbook below.