In Memory

Mr. Keith Rielly

RIELLY, Keith Albert "Casey" After a hard fought and often painful battle of 16 months, in the very early hours of Sunday morning, April 19, 2015 at St. Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, Keith, quietly, in the arms of his wife Marlene and with his little dog Ziggy curled beside him, whispered, "I love you, Mar" and fell into a peaceful sleep from which he never awoke. Keith will be forever cherished and loved by his wife and best friend of 34 years, Marlene Rielly. He will be mourned by his beloved children, Linda and John and his cherished granddaughters, Alana and Erica Nicholson, all in British Columbia. "Grandpa was the smartest man I knew, he always had all the answers to my questions". Keith also leaves behind his loved sisters, Betty and Judy, British Columbia. Keith was predeceased by his brothers George and wife Lee, Dean (Marge), Bill and wife Iona (Marion), and Doug (Lois). Keith leaves behind many nieces, nephews and relatives who loved him dearly. A wide circle of friends mourn Keith's passing. A heartfelt thank you to Nora Campbell, Judy Vellinga and Stewart Thompson for their unwavering support during our difficult journey. Special thank you to the nurses on the Nephrology unit for the care and respect they showed Keith, especially in the last month of his life. And to Dr. Fred Spencer, who in Keith's words, "you are my inspiration" and to Dr. Peter Margetts for their caring support. Also to the many nurses of Brant County CCAC and Hamilton's St Joseph's P.D. Clinic. Keith had a long life in education. He came to Hamilton at nine years of age from his birthplace of Mattawa, Ontario. He attended Adelaide Hoodless, Delta, McMaster and Niagara Universities. He began his teaching career in the sciences at Runnymede in Toronto but soon returned to his beloved Hamilton to teach at Delta, Glendale and Barton. He also served in the former Hamilton Board of Education as Vice-Principal and Principal until he became Superintendent of Operations. He spent two years with the Ministry of Education as an Educational Officer. And he served as the chair of The French Language Services Commission of Ontario. He then became the Associate Director and later retired as the Director of Education for the Hamilton Board. No matter his role, when asked what he did, Keith always proudly replied, "I am a teacher". Keith loved all things in nature. This was evident throughout his life. He spent several months in the summers of his "Mac" University days with fellow student Bill Baillie in the rugged, mountainous terrain of Fernie, B.C. Here they did the backbreaking work of trenching the coal seams for later analysis. Bill was to become a lifelong friend, "Casey was an easy guy to love and became the brother I never had". He also worked at Vineland's Horticultural Centre studying, splicing and growing new botanical varieties. In the winter, he enjoyed cross-country skiing and taught many family members to love it too. In the spring, summer and fall, he loved walking in the woods, especially in the Georgian Bay/Parry Sound area where he built the family cottage. On those walks, he shared his love and knowledge of the many plant species. He loved boating and picking blueberries on little out-of-the-way islands. Bird-watching was also a passion that Keith enjoyed and taught the rudiments of to others and he especially inspired that same passion in his wife Marlene. He was an avid supporter and member of "The Royal Botanical Gardens". He loved "The Lilac Dell" in the spring. Keith played football throughout his high school and university years. He rowed competitively with the Leander Boat Club. He good-heartedly shared in Marlene's adventures into horses, ATVing, motorcycling, sea-dooing, camping and kayaking. In the final year of his career, they bought a farm on the Grand River where Keith smoothly transitioned into retirement and all of their hobbies, including his love of gardening, flourished. Keith believed in the value of brotherhood and as such was an active member, prior to his illness, of the Onondaga Lodge No. 519. The true essence of Keith was of a man who cared deeply for others. He listened to you as if you were sharing the secrets of world peace; if he met you, he remembered you, and genuinely cared about what was important to you. Keith always put the well-being of others first. No matter how ill he became, he continued to interact with those around him with patience and appreciation. Keith was a humble and generous man of quiet dignity and grace. His professional life was a very public one but his personal life was very private. As difficult as this is for those who mourn his passing, in keeping with Keith's wishes, there will be no funeral or memorial service. Cremation has taken place. If desired, donations in memory of Keith, can be made to The Royal Botanical Gardens of Hamilton.