Illiopolis, IL – It is with much sadness, that the family of Ardeth “Ardie” Gay Herron Reilly announces her passing on the 4th of April, 2018 after more than a decade battle with cancer.
Ardie, 83, was born September 7, 1934 in Connellsville, PA. She has been a resident of Illiopolis, IL, since 1969. After graduating from Dunbar Township High School, Dunbar, PA, Class of 1952, Ardie became a Registered Nurse in 1955 through training at the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing of Pittsburgh, PA. This was when she began dating the boy next door John “Jack” Reilly and fell deeply in love. She moved to Bay City, TX, to marry Jack on August 30, 1956 and began their life together after he graduated as a civil engineer and found employment in the oil industry. They have been together ever since and their love has been an inspiration to friends and family alike.
In Texas, Ardie started her adventures in motherhood giving birth to her five children. She loved Texas, its landscape, the TexMex food, and the cowboy culture. From Bay City, her growing family moved to Borger, and then to Phillips, an oil refinery town. In 1969 the family moved from Texas to Illiopolis. Ardie worked as a visiting nurse, a school nurse and finally retired from Borden Chemicals and Plastics (BCP/Formosa) in Illiopolis, IL as the plant nurse.
For a brief period, Jack and Ardie moved to Baton Rouge, LA for BCP bringing back to Illiopolis Cajun cuisine including frequent crawfish boils. It was in Louisiana that Ardie and Jack became passionate collectors of tropical Bromeliads. After their return, she and Jack built a large greenhouse across the front of their ranch house. They accumulated thousands of plants and showed them for years as members of The Bromeliad Society International. They often traveled to the Mexican Yucatan and Guatemala where they made friends, visited Mayan ruins and collected native and wholesale bromeliads for their personal company - JAR Bromeliads. A new hybrid Neoregelia bromeliad was also named after her – the ‘Ardie.’
After retirement, Ardie began an apprenticeship at the Senior Center in Springfield, IL, attending weekly weaving sessions. She purchased several looms, and a dilapidated building in downtown Illiopolis, restored it and launched her weaving cooperative. She wove colorful rag rugs for gifts and for sale in the local store; and loved to teach people weaving, including her daughters and grandchildren.
Ardie had a joyful humor, booming laugh, and radiant smile. She made friends wherever she went with her warm heart and compassion for everyone around her. Her legacy is love.
Ardie was preceded in death by her parents, Thomas and Ruth Silcox Herron; her sister Ruth Herron Gordon and brother-in-law Albert Gordon. She is survived by her husband of 61 years John “Jack” Reilly; her children John (Cathy) Reilly, Pamela (Michael Alexander) Reilly, David (Lisa) Reilly, Christy (Fred) Reilly Worrell, and Patricia (Eric) Reilly Bramlet; her grandchildren John “Jack” Reilly III, Scott Reilly, Calla Reilly, Emma Reilly, Ashley (Erin) Reilly Staley, Dallas (Jennifer) Reilly, Leslie (Alisha) Worrell, Kyle Worrell, Erica Bramlet, Chase Bramlet, and great grandson Rowan Reilly. She is also survived by her sister Barbara (I.L.) Herron Kimmel of New Jersey, and various nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be on Monday, April 9, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at 410 Anne St, Illiopolis, IL 62539 Resurrection Catholic Church, with mass to follow at 11 a.m. Burial will take place at Calvary Cemetery. A reception will follow at the Resurrection Parish Hall. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Downtown Illiopolis Park and the Illiopolis Public Library.