Jo Anne Eileen “Mama Bear” Reilly – November 23, 2016


Jo Anne Eileen “Mama Bear” Reilly, 79, of Mineral City, Ohio, passed away Wednesday, November 23, 2016 in Westlake, Ohio, from complications resulting from surgery.

The daughter of the late Walter J. and Dorothy E. (Keener) Barker, Jo Anne was born on November 10, 1937 in New Philadelphia, Ohio.

A graduate of New Philadelphia High School, Jo Anne attended St. John College in Cleveland and graduated with a degree in Nursing in 1959. She married Eugene A. Reilly in 1961. Her nursing career was long, successful, and satisfying, beginning with her start in Cleveland to Union Hospital in Dover and finally the Massillon Psychiatric Center. Jo Anne was a dedicated and caring nurse who served in many departments, including Emergency, Surgery, Pediatrics, and Psychological. All of these skills stood her in good stead during her life, especially when dealing with her accident-prone children. She was unusually understanding of her patients, especially the mentally ill, and spoke lovingly of them even when they occasionally broke one of her bones.

Jo Anne had many personal interests and joys, including the ocean, history, and traveling – no matter whether it was to Vegas or Europe. Despite marrying an Irishman, she was a lifelong Anglophile; she had a great fondness for the British Isles, and to her joy eventually gained the title of a Laird of Scotland – despite never getting used to their food. She also found time to have a running battle with various kinds of wildlife, particularly the deer that ate her flowers and the skunk that broke her ankle.

Jo Anne was a strong woman, highly intelligent and empathetic, feisty and opinionated, with a stubborn streak that simply defied belief and a forceful personality that demanded respect. A matriarch in the truest sense, Jo Anne ruled her domain with a fierce and undying love and devotion to her family. She had her hands full, but loved and protected them like the mother bear she was – woe to anyone who trifled with her cubs. There was no limit to the sacrifices she was ready to stand on behalf of her children and grandchildren. She not only cared and nurtured her own youngsters, but became as a second mother to their friends. Jo Anne had a wonderful sense of humor and she loved giving gifts and making people smile, but her greatest joy was always spending time with her family at her home. In her final years she was slowed down by Alzheimer’s and arthritis and was aided by her daughter-in-law Angela, but she never lost her sense of independence, her feistiness, or her love of her family and friends.

She is survived by her son Terrence Reilly and his wife Melanie; daughter Susan; daughter Cara; son Timothy and his wife Mas; and son Patrick and his wife Angela; six grandchildren: Cori Reilly, Samantha Reilly, Moira Reilly, Kaetlyn Reilly, Mali Reilly and Sam Harntha; siblings Ronald Barker and wife Betty; and Jan Schupp; and many other relatives and friends.

In addition to her parents, Jo Anne was preceded in her passing by her husband in 1991 and her sister Florence” Bootsie” Pace, wife of Donald, in 2016.

A gathering of family and friends will be held Saturday, December 3, 2016 from 9:30 to 11 am at the Linn-Hert-Geib Funeral Home & Crematory at 116 Second St. NE, New Philadelphia, Ohio. A short memorial service will follow at 11 am in the funeral home’s chapel with Pastor Brain Flood officiating. The family will join afterwards in the Geib Family Center, located adjacent to the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Jo Anne’s memory may be made to St. Jude’s Hospital charities, PO Box 1893 Memphis, TN 38101-9950.

Linn-Hert-Geib Funeral Home & Crematory
116 Second Street NE, New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663

Geib Funeral Service
5600 North Wooster Avenue, Dover, Ohio 44622

Geib Pet Crematory
5600 North Wooster Avenue, Dover, Ohio 44622