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Obituary – Thomas J. O’Reilly, QC

We regret to inform you of the death of Thomas Joseph O’Reilly, QC

He died as he lived, with peaceful dignity, on November 16, 2019 after a brave but brief battle with cancer. Born in Corner Brook, NL in 1941, Tom was predeceased by his daughter Diedre and parents Victor and Florence (Byrne). A devoted husband to Joan (Connolly) for 52 years, he was also a proud father to Sean and Daria and a loving father-in-law to Sara (Sean) and Mike (Daria). His grandchildren were the light of his life. “Grandad” thought the world of Matthew, Nolan, and Luke. Tom was a lifelong hero to his brother Michael (Glenda) and uncle to Erin, Megan, Katie, and Colleen. He leaves behind an immeasurable legacy of love, loyalty, and integrity to his family and all others to whom he came in contact.
A consummate gentleman and a scholar, Tom was many things to many people. For those that knew him, feelings of loss are partially offset by a deep sense of gratitude for having been part of his circle of steadfast counsel.

Called to the Bar of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1968, Tom was an icon in the legal profession and an inspiration to his colleagues. Generations of lawyers benefited from his example and mentorship. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1980 and Master of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1988, a former President of the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Branch of the Canadian Bar Association and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He had been consistently recognized in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory and the publication Best Lawyers in Canada as a leading practitioner. In 2019, at the youthful age of 78, Best Lawyers named him St. John’s Insurance Law Lawyer of the Year.

In addition to being a remarkable family man and a highly regarded member of the legal profession, Tom gave generously of his time and expertise to the greater community. He served on many boards and committees over the years including: Chair of Marystown Shipyard, Director of St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital as well as the Chairman of its Ethics Committee.
In recent years, he has been an invaluable contributor to the Gathering Place which he championed as providing care, support, and compassion to some of St. John’s most vulnerable.
He is resting at Carnell’s Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Road. For those who want to pay their respects, visitation will be 2-4 PM and 7-9 PM on Tuesday, November 19th, and Wednesday, November 20th. Funeral mass will be held at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist on Thursday, November 21st at 9:30 AM. He will be interred at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Gathering Place (

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