Patrick F. O'Reilly, 64, retired spokesman for Troop "A" of the New York State Police, died Saturday (Dec. 18, 1999) in his Grand Island home after a long battle with cancer.
Appointed to the New York State Police in 1957, his high profile career brought him into direct contact with governors and presidents as well members of the media who regarded the accuracy of his reports about area crimes and tragedies as gospel.
He was promoted to the rank of sergeant nearly 10 years after his appointment. He was appointed a zone sergeant and assigned to the Lewiston Barracks in 1978.
During his tenure, he served as the Troop "A" public information officer and, for many years, served as a delegate to the New York State Troopers PBA, representing the noncommissioned officers in the Western Region. He also served as a legislative liaison to lawmakers in Albany in behalf of the troopers.
He retired in 1992 but remained active with the PBA as a representative of retirees until his death.
O'Reilly represented state troopers in meetings with President Ronald Reagan and President Bill Clinton. He participated in numerous assignments involving visits to the area by foreign diplomats, political leaders, several astronauts and other celebrities.
His work brought him numerous letters of appreciation from State Police superintendents, other public officials and private citizens.
In 1996, he received the Man of the Year award from the Erie County Sheriff's Foundation for his extraordinary career in law enforcement.
Thomas A. Constantine, former superintendent and ex-administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, described O'Reilly as a "true friend."
"I became a New York state trooper after Pat O'Reilly talked me into taking the test," Constantine recalled. "We served together as partners and friends. He loved his work and took great reward in helping others. I will truly miss him."
The current superintendent, James W. McMahon, also praised O'Reilly, saying: "Pat was in a class by himself. When you think of someone who epitomizes a trooper's trooper, you think of Patrick O'Reilly. He will be sorely missed."
Before joining the State Police, O'Reilly served in the Army's 2nd Airborne Division and was stationed at several bases in Europe.
Survivors include his wife, the former Jacqueline A. "Jackie" Tuite; two daughters, Kerry Doctor and Erin; a son, Patrick F. III; two sisters, Winnifred and Kathleen Byrne; two brothers, Daniel and John; and four grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Tuesday in St. Stephen's Catholic Church, 2100 Baseline Road, Grand Island.