Edwin D. Reilly Jr. will always be part of town government in Niskayuna.
Friends and family made that official on Friday, as about 150 people attended the dedication of Edwin D. Reilly Jr. Town Hall.
Reilly served five consecutive two-year terms as supervisor from 1970 until 1979. He was also was Niskayuna’s top elected official from 1989 through 1997. He died Aug. 1 at age 86.
The crowd included 13 members of the Reilly family, including Jean Reilly — who was married to Edwin for 64 years. His sister, Dorothy Powers, also attended.
People filled the front lobby of the Town Hall building. Some stood on the staircase leading to the second floor, others stood at the second floor railing.
“This is a true testament to a man who loved this community a great deal,” said Denise Murphy McGraw, a member of the Town Board, who welcomed the audience.
McGraw also said Reilly loved his family, baseball and his parish, St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church.
Town Supervisor Yasmine Syed said as a young girl she marveled at the construction of Town Hall and wondered who could be building such a large house. Reilly was instrumental in the construction of the municipal center, which opened in 1995.
“It is an honor to serve as Niskayuna’s town supervisor and work in the building that Supervisor Reilly had the vision to build,” Syed said. “I’m committed to being a good steward and maintaining it as Ed Reilly would have wanted.”
U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, former state Sen. Hugh Farley and former Congressman Mike McNulty also spoke.
Tonko, who represents the 20th Congressional District, said Reilly put his mind to work in order to build a better community and better world. “That’s what we pay tribute to today, that integrity and determination,” he said.
Tonko also said Reilly’s inspiration to build Town Hall was to bring people together. “Not just as a government but as a base, as a stage, to enable people to share with one another,” he said.
“This will forever cherish his memory and bring to mind that it was about his integrity and hard work and passion for what he knew,” Tonko also said.
Farley said he and Reilly joined the Town Board at the same time, 1970.
“He really loved Niskayuna,” Farley said. “He had vision, this is an example of his vision. … Ed Reilly was a remarkable man but I think the thing that was most important to him was his family and his beloved wife Jean and his children. They meant so much to him.”
Farley also said that although he and Reilly were on different sides of the aisle — Reilly a Democrat, Farley a Republican — “We always worked together.”
Farley said the greatest tribute to Reilly would be the Town Hall building.
“It would not have happened without Ed Reilly,” he said. “It’s such a tribute to see this room packed in tribute to Ed Reilly and his lovely family. Niskayuna is a better place because he served here.”
Former Town Supervisor Mardi Moore also knew Reilly well.
“Ed Reilly and I were friends and neighbors long before either of us was involved in politics,” Moore said during the reception. “We lived in a time when people could disagree and still remain friends.”
Architect Jim McKinney worked on the Town Hall project.
“Working with Ed was an experience,” McKinney said. “He had such a vision for this. He didn’t want just a simple box. He wanted something that would speak of the heart of the town, neither too modern nor traditional — something everybody in the town could relate to and appreciate.”
Reilly’s grandchildren stood on the balcony above the Town Hall entrance and unfurled the covering over the new name: “Edwin D. Reilly Jr. Town Hall.”
“My father would have been so thrilled and proud and honored,” said Reilly’s son, Edwin David Reilly III.
Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected].
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