Willoughby City Council Announcement from Willoughby General Manager Nick Tobin and Deputy Mayor, Cr Gail Giles Gidney:
It is with tremendous sadness that we share the news of the passing of our magnificent mayor, Pat Reilly.
Pat passed away last night (20 Jan: 10.24pm) after a short sudden illness and hospitalisation, with wife Beth Reilly and daughter Sophie by his side.
Pat was an incredible man. No words can describe the immense contribution he made to the City of Willoughby and to its people, and his passing is an incredible loss for our community.
Pat was the type of person you meet once in a lifetime, and we are all so fortunate to have shared him in our lives.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time, and we ask that they be provided with privacy.
Details of how the community can pay their respects will be available through Willoughby Council in the coming days.
- Born 1952, and lived in Willoughby the majority of his life.
- Educated locally at St Thomas’, Willoughby, and St Pius X at Chatswood.
- For the greater part of his life he has worked in Willoughby, ultimately in the field of Marketing, however he spent many successful years prior as a muso as a drummer in a band
- He was elected to Willoughby Council for Middle Harbour Ward in 1987, and re-elected in 1991 and 1995.
- Elected Mayor of Willoughby City in September 1997, and in 1999 became the first popularly elected Mayor of Willoughby. He is one of the longest serving mayors in Australia, being the longest serving on the North Shore having served as mayor for 17 years, and on council for 27 years.
Pat Reilly will always be remembered as a man who would do anything for his community. Having lived in Willoughby his entire life he dedicated himself to the people of Willoughby. He was the people’s mayor and will be remembered for bringing major city issues to the attention of State and Federal governments, listening to and fighting for the community and attending every event requested of him – even dressed as Elvis Presley on more than one occasion.
He was the driving force behind The Concourse, leading the delivery of one of the largest public infrastructure projects undertaken by a local government. The Concourse realised his vision of bringing cultural activities to the people of Willoughby. He was so proud every time he saw local school children perform on the Concert Hall stage or when the community attended to see professional performers, performing in a world-class venue in their own backyard.
He kept a sense of history and individuality throughout the neighbourhoods of Willoughby while also accounting for as he would say “appropriate growth and development”.
Pat supported the City of Willoughby to become the City of Diversity, a city that is positively renowned for its diversity and that celebrates many cultural groups and activities.
He was an enormously generous and caring man who knew so many residents personally, having helped them in some way, attended their event, or presented them an award at school event.
Pat Reilly’s impact on the City of Willoughby, and entire North Shore will never be equalled or forgotten. His legacy will remain in the diversity of the city, the exceptional lifestyle offered and in the happiness of the community.
Yesterday Willoughby lost a great leader and my family lost a treasured friend. Pat you better be up there jamming with the king right now .
I could not add more to your very moving words, which I agree with 100%. Pat Reilly was a “man for all seasons”, with a wide vision which matched the need to propel Chatswood forwards into becoming a leading suburban city, in the real sense of the word. His talent for looking at issues and seeing the really important aspects made him the right man in the right place at the right time. In my few personal meetings I felt a warm rapport with him. Personally I am very sad.
Very sad news.
Sad to hear this.
I thought Pat was fantastic and knew him both in his professional capacity and via both school and sporting events. He will be sorely missed. A very sad day.
A sad loss: I had tears when I read your email, but he’ll be remembered.
I didn’t know the Mayor at all but he seemed a reasonable man who had a vision for our city and for its people. He seemed also to treat all citizens the equally no matter there cultural background or demographic group.
Thanks for letting everyone know. As Beck just said “he has had a date with destiny for a while now” At least he had a chance to enjoy his crowning achievement – The Concourse.
That is sad news. Let us know how we can pay our respects.
I was shocked to hear of his passing. So sudden and at his age.
May God bless and comfort his family,
I met him when I escorted some old folks from Elizabeth Lodge to a Senior’s luncheon and he had time for everyone, stopping at all the tables to talk to every single person.
How will he ever be replaced
We remember Pat fondly from our times with the Lane Cove Tunnel project and respect and recognise sincerely his involvement with and contribution to the community of the wider Willoughby area. Our thoughts are with you all.
He will be sorely missed by the Willoughby community and certainly has big shoes to fill for his successor!!
He was a great supporter of the Society and we will miss that as well.
Though he had his detractors he did a mighty job as Mayor of Willoughby. He will be sorely missed by many.
It is so sad to lose someone who is was still so young. He gave so much in the service of his community.
Very sad news of Pat’s passing. He was a champion of the cause without a doubt and a larger than life character.
Thanks for sharing these details. I have shared the information with Chatswood High School P & C who all express their sadness at Pat’s passing he was such a great supporter Of Chatswood and CHS .
Our current President will attend services on behalf of CHS P & C
Thank you too for your previous email and good words about Pat, a truly significant and dedicated person in and for our community.
We will all miss seeing him around Willoughby and his involvement in the community has been exceptional.
He will be a loss to the community.