Barbara Amelia Reilly, 89, went to be with the Lord and reunite with her husband Joseph, and her five boys on Monday, September 27, 2021.
Barb was raised on the Mattila family farm in Traprock Valley. Her parents appreciated her willingness to help with the many challenging chores a farm requires. She graduated from Lake Linden High School in 1950.
Barb met the love of her life, Joe, at the movie theater when she was 14 years old. Joe met her and told her in that moment that he was going to marry her. Joe and Barb were married at St. Mary’s Church in Calumet on May 26, 1951. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary at their home in Bootjack in June 2021.
Barb was a loving, dedicated mother. She and Joe spent many years with their family at Big and Small Traverse Bays on Lake Superior. When the kids were young, they took a family boat trip to Isle Royal, enduring terrible weather. Together, she and Joe raised five amazing men, and together their enduring faith brought them through the heartbreaking loss of all of their children.
Among her many talents, Barb owned a sewing business in Laurium with her sister Betty Anderson. She also owned and operated two motels–the Superior Motel in Laurium and the Northgate Motel in Calumet. She and Joe also ran the Superior Inn Restaurant in Laurium (formerly the Bon Ton). In recent years, Barb ran a Sewing and Alterations business from her home in Bootjack.
Barb had an outgoing personality, was always a willing participant, and did things with full and genuine enthusiasm. Some of her adventurous interests included downhill skiing, as well as snowmobiling, boating and motorcycling with Joe. The family was always in awe of her new adventures—especially skydiving twice in her sixties.
Traveling was another passion of hers. She traveled with her sisters, nieces and friends. They went to New York together every year for many years. Over the next several years, they toured many cities in Europe. A highlight of one of the European trips was visiting the Mattila family in Finland. Barb also took two memorable trips to Israel. She swam in the Dead Sea and was baptized in the Jordan River. She and Joe traveled to many places as well, mainly visiting family. They went to Cocoa Beach, Florida over several winters, and vacationed in Hawaii with family.
Family gatherings were of utmost importance in her life. Barb truly welcomed all. She was especially known to cook authentic Finnish and Italian food.
Barb was always involved with her church and was a member of the Board. She graciously committed to their needs. She taught Sunday school, made countless meals for gatherings, and regularly served where she was needed.
Barb was dedicated to Christianity and faithfully lived for the Lord. Her main calling was to spread the Word of Jesus and she lived it faithfully. She is home.
She is preceded in death by her parents Felix and Emily (Heikkinen) Mattila, her five sons Lon, Daniel, Fred, Shawn and Little Joe, and her siblings; Betty Anderson, Harvey Mattila, Fred Mattila, and Lenore Bonini. Barb is survived by her grandchildren, Jesse Reilly, Jamie (Josh) Geasey, Aaron (Amber) Reilly, Heather (Jimmy) French, Chrissy (Matt) Gilley, Jennifer (Robert) Freeze and Hannah Reilly. Also, survived by 3 daughter-in-laws Theresa Reilly, Lorri Reilly and Thurza Mathes; her sisters, Flo Sorvala, Lois (Weldon) Gaulin, and brother-in-law, Roy Bonini. And numerous great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Joe & Barb were very grateful for the loving care Amber Reilly provided. The family thanks her and Aaron for their support.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday October 16, 2021 at 2:00 pm at the Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home in Calumet with Pastor Tony Laidlaw. Visitation will take place on Saturday October 16, 2021 from 12:00 pm until the time of the service at the Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home.
Burial will take place in the Lake View Cemetery.
Online condolences for the family may be left at www.ericksoncrowleypeterson.com
The Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home in Calumet is assisting the family with the arrangements.