Cover photo for Dolores Faith Reilly's Obituary
Dolores Faith Reilly Profile Photo
1929 Dolores 2020

Dolores Faith Reilly

October 22, 1929 — August 29, 2020

Dolores Faith Reilly died suddenly at Sutter Roseville Medical Center on 08/29/20.

Born 10/22/29 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Dr. Gerrit J. Warnshuis and Mary T. Mills, she was the second youngest of nine children. Dolores was an exceptional woman.Musician, artist, nurse, sister, mother, and wife, she inhabited each of these roles with unique creativity and compassion.

Her early years spanned three states, as she moved with her family from Cedarburg, Wisconsin to Lake Orion, Michigan and finally to Santa Cruz, California. Dolores was 14 years old when she moved to California with her mother and younger brother, Jan, several years after the loss of her father in a fatal car accident. Santa Cruz was in its glory days then, and Dolores delighted in days at the beach, dancing at the Cocoanut Grove Ballroom, to the legendary greats of the Big Band era, and a town that bustled with sailors on leave from the Pacific Theater. While attending high school at Holy Cross School, she traveled weekends to flute lessons in Burlingame. Her dedication and talent as a flutist earned her a scholarship to The Juilliard School in New York, which she declined in order to pursue a career in nursing.

She entered nurses' training at St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco, where she was among the first women admitted to classes at the (then) all-male University of San Francisco. Upon graduation, she and two nursing classmates drove across the country to experience the excitement of Miami Beach, where they worked at St Francis Hospital, spending their days off basking on the beach and nights out on the town.

After three years, Dolores returned to San Francisco St. Mary's Hospital as head nurse on a surgical floor. There she met and married Dr. Philip J. Reilly in 1955. She accompanied him to Osaka, Japan where they lived for three years while he served as a flight surgeon at Itami Air Base. During those years, they welcomed two sons before returning stateside to settle in Sacramento, CA. As the family grew to a rowdy brood of eight, they relocated to a beautiful bluff overlooking Ancil Hoffman Park in Carmichael.

Dolores spent decades volunteering in classrooms, organizing fundraisers at her children's schools, teaching health classes for the Catholic Diocese, and supporting the community through her work with WEAVE and Stanford Home for Children. Her generosity of spirit extended beyond the immediate family as she opened her home to provide respite and refuge to nieces, nephews, and friends in transition. Through it all, music remained an essential mode of expression for her, as a flutist with the Sacramento Symphony and American River College Orchestra, and as an escape to her inner world in the midst of demanding family life. She continued to develop as a musician seeking advanced training in piano, and experimenting with her new loves, the harp and Native American flute.
Dolores returned to the nursing profession in her mid-forties. Drawn to the healing arts, she earned state certification as a massage therapist and developed proficiency in Healing Touch, integrating color therapy and alignment through music into her nursing practice. Applying her love of music, poetry, and art to her work led to her continued growth as an artist. Through these, and life experience, she was inspired to create vivid and complex paintings.

In retirement, she moved to Rocklin to be closer to children and grandchildren and where she joined the Springfield Fine Arts Club, learning new techniques, and building new friendships.

Her final years brought Dolores to Roseville Commons Senior Living. Independent to the end, she enjoyed many new friendships there as well, and was welcomed into an active and supportive community. She was a regular at the puzzle and bingo tables, Thursday music concerts and sing alongs, and on weekly shopping excursions. She was committed to maintaining a rich social life even as her abilities declined. Resilience and adaptability proved to be her strong suits.

Dolores will live forever in our hearts. She is survived by her children – Christopher (Karen Lightfoot Smith), Paul (Suzi), Seana, Mary, Tom (Bridget), and Conn, 12 grandchildren, a great grand-daughter, her sister Frances, and brother Patrick, as well as many beloved nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her son Philip, daughter Deirdre, siblings – Frederick, Maryanne, Gerrit, Laurent, Moyra, and Jan, and former husband, Philip J Reilly.
A private family service will be held at Fair Oaks Cemetery on 10/22/20 at 10AM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to WEAVE or to Stanford Sierra Youth & Families.

"In our life there is a single color, as on an artist's palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love." ~ Marc Chagall
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dolores Faith Reilly, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Thursday, October 22, 2020

10:00 - 11:00 am

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