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Sad Sad News

February 8, 2008

John B. O'Reilly Senior, the father of our present mayor Jack O'Reilly Jr., passed away yesterday. See city website for more information:

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5 Comment(s)

Mayor John B. O'Reilly, was one of the best.

--by russ on 2/8/08   Lives: Dearborn  

A very nice man and the right mayor for the right time.

--by Jake on 2/9/08   Lives: Detroit area  

John B. O'Reilly was to Dearborn what Gerald Ford was to the United States. In the face of a difficult transition of leadership, John O'Reilly kept Dearborn moving forward.

He will be remembered fondly as a Mayor who was infinitely accessible to the people of Dearborn. I remember when I was 12 and went to visit our city hall with my grandmother, Mayor O'Reilly approached us in the lobby and asked my grandmother what she needed at city hall. My grandmother was very upset that she was told that a tree, that her father had planted a tree 10 years earlier was to be cut down. Apparently the tree was in the way of some sewerage lines in front of her house that were leaking. They put an orange X on the tree indicating it would be cut down. In broken English, she pleaded with him to not let them take down her father's tree, that she would rather live without water in the house than lose that tree.

Mayor O'Reilly walked us down to an office in the basement and asked for someone to come out. They talked a while and he than told my grandmother that the tree would be dug up with a crane and replaced either back where it was, or wherever she wanted it put. It was a Silver maple, not a particularly rare tree, but a tree that meant something to our family. The Mayor had that tree dug up and put right back when they were done just like he promised.

This man had a heart and truly cared about the city of Dearborn. Had this occurred today, that tree would have been firewood! In this day and age, there is no time for such humanistic consideration, only relentless progress.

Some months later, I was elected the Mayor of my neighborhood playground. Remember how parks and recreation used to have elections in parks for Mayor, Police Chief, and Fire Chief? When I won, I was invited to visit city hall with all the other kids who were voted Mayor of their parks. I went back the city hall with my grandmother to take part of the celebration and take a tour of his office. He saw us and came to us and asked if we would like a picture to remember our visit at city hall. He asked someone to take a picture of us and a couple weeks later, we received an 8x10 picture in the mail thanking us for our visit and inviting us back to visit any time.

That picture proudly adorns my mantel along with family pictures from generations past. Former Mayor O'Reilly will always be remembered fondly by our family us as part of our family, but by me as an example of a public servant who understood that a city has a soul just like the people who live there. He was a kind man who made us feel like you were somebody if you lived in Dearborn. I feel blessed to have known the man. I wish the O'Reilly family comfort to his family for their loss, but assure them that their loss is shared by each and every life John, O'Reilly has touched.

--by Another long winded story from years past on 2/9/08   Lives: Dearborn  


I suggest you share the story from 'Long Winded' with Mr. Said Deep on his blog. Sure, the kindness of Mayor John O'Reilly may not be financially possible today, but this is such a positive story of Dearborn and that fine man. Thanks to 'Long Winded' for posting it.

--by Dearborn Observer on 2/11/08   Lives: Dearborn  


I think that if our city government was not so wasteful with our money that we would have enough to do things like this and than some.

I really have to believe that Mayor O'Reilly the senior or Orville Hubbard would not have stood for such wastefulness as we see today. I simply do not believe that John B was a politician, he was a public servant. We now have plenty of politicians and very few public servants running our city. John B. and Orville Hubbard did not do everything in response to blunders or law suits or to maintain political correctness, they ran this city in such a way where they looked at the future impact of their decisions and fought for what was right regardless of who got pissed off. We trusted John B. and Orville Hubbard so if they wanted to battle someone who sued the city, they were not just taking on the Mayors office, and they were taking on the whole city. There were a lot less frivolous payouts back then and back in days past, our leadership simply would not have allowed our neighborhoods to deteriorate like they have in recent history. I saw John B. driving around our neighborhoods and showing up places without a pack of body guards. We had a strong support system in place and mandates from city hall that had teeth and made sense back then. It seems like that is an antiquated notion these days.

I miss the days when city government operated for the grater good and that is what John B. did for Dearborn. He did what was right by the city one citizen at a time if he had to. That was reasonable because he knew that, in the long run, it is that kind of attitude that gives the office of the Mayor credibility when tough decisions need to be made. It was random acts of kindness that made people trust city hall. Now a days, no one respects or trusts the office because we have been victims of so many flimflam’s by our former administration.

Like the office of the President of the United States, we need a Mayor who can, above all else, restore the dignity of this once prestigious and respected job of running our city. John B. was a man of integrity, that’s why everyone loved and trusted him. That was the last time our Mayors office had credibility and integrity as far as I am concerned. I think we all long for those days when we believed that our leadership was doing what was right for us instead of placating someone or some group.

--by I miss the old days on 2/11/08   Lives: Dearborn  

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