Biography of James H. Reilly
San Francisco, CA Biographies





James H. Reilly, who conducts one of the most modern funeral homes of San Francisco under the title of Jas. H. Reilly & Company, and situated at Twenty ninth and Dolores streets, is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where his birth occurred February 22, 1868. Mr. Reilly is a son of Patrick and Sarah (Fitzpatrick) Reilly, both of whom were born in Ireland. The father came to San Francisco by way of the Isthmus of Panama in 1874. For a time he engaged in mining in Nevada, and then established a coal business in San Francisco on Post street between Hyde and Larkin streets. He was a prominent democrat and a public spirited citizen in every respect. He held membership in the Ancient Order of United Workmen.

James H. Reilly attended the Clement grammar school and the Lincoln evening school of San Francisco. His father, a firm believer in work as a practical educator, persuaded him to begin in employment during his younger years, and he first became an apprentice in the printing trade with A. L. Bancroft & Company. Later, he was made foreman of the printing shop of Upton Bros. at 417 Montgomery street, and with this firm he remained for a period of twenty years.

In January, 1916, Mr. Reilly left the printing trade for that of undertaking, and established himself in his new vocation at Twentieth and Valencia streets, where he remained eight years with ever increasing patronage. Then, in 1924, he erected his present up to date funeral home at Twenty ninth and Dolores streets. Not only is this home modernly equipped, but in decorations it is exceedingly artistic and appropriate. At the south side of the chapel there is a beautiful stained glass window representing the "Agony in the Garden," and there are also several valuable paintings in the chapel and reception room one by an Armenian artist which is called "Faith," and another entitled "Eve' in the Alps." A crayon by a Mexican artist entitled the "Immaculate Conception" is another attractive piece. Mr. Reilly is a member of the San Francisco Funeral Directors Association, and is rated generally as one of the local leaders of his profession.

On February 24, 1892, Mr. Reilly took as his wife Miss Lillie Quinn, the ceremony having been performed in St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church by the Rt. Rev. Msgr. M. D. Connolly. To their marriage have been born six sons and two daughters, as follows: Joseph A., who is office manager of the Palmolive Soap Company in Berkeley; James H., Jr., who is associated in the undertaking business with his father; Rev. William F., who is a Catholic priest and is stationed at present in Martinez, California; Leo J., who is associated with his father; M. Lillian, who is the wife of Leland Tanner; Aileen M., who is married to Clarence Curtin; and two sons who have passed away.

Mr. Reilly's political affiliation is the same as that of his father, with the democratic party. He is a member of St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church, and belongs to the Knights of Columbus; San Francisco Lodge, No. 3, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; the Ancient Order of Hibernians; St. Vincent de Paul Society; Third Order of St. Francis; the Fraternal Order of Eagles; the Neighbors of Woodcraft; the Woodmen of the World; the Improved Order of Red Men; and several improvement clubs. In the earlier years of his life he was a member of the Third Regiment, National Guard of California; the League of the Cross Cadets, a temperance order, and also was captain of Company K in this organization. Despite the fact that he has given up the printing trade, Mr. Reilly retains membership in the San Francisco Typographical Union No. 21. He has a large acquaintanceship in San Francisco and hosts of friends made through his spirit of good fellowship and square dealing with others.

From:
The History of San Francisco, California
Lewis Francis Byington, Supervising Editor
Oscar Lewis, Associate Editor
The S. J. Clark Publishing Company
Chicago-San Francisco 1931


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