In December, 1977, while at work in a sugar plant in
Wahpeton, North Dakota, Mike boldly and selflessly acted in an attempt to save the life of a co-worker. He was gravely injured in that attempt and tragically, he lost his own life.
He was only 29 at the time of his death, leaving behind his wife, Izetta (Kruse) and two young sons, Kerry Michael, aged 8, and Derek Scott, aged 5, along with his parents and eight siblings: Janet, Judy, Pauletta, Kevin, Kent, Maureen, Pam, and Kelly.
Mike was the second child and the first son born to Glenn and Verna (White) Reilley. He attended the Tully School, a one-room schoolhouse in Rawlins County, KS and then Colby Public Schools, graduating in 1966.
Mike was a member of Explorer Scouts during his school years, the high point being a camping trip to Canada in the summer of 1963. He attended Emporia State University for a semester, helped build the GW Sugar plant in Goodland, worked his Grandfather White’s farm north of Levant, KS, earned a Stationary Steam Engineer’s License, was a member of the Boiler Makers Union for Welders. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus in Wahpeton, N.D. At the time of his death he was a Beet End Foreman at Minn-Dak Sugar Company.
Mike was a cheerful man who loved to tell jokes and play pranks on others. He was hard working and responsible, and looked up to by all his siblings. He was a loving son, brother, husband and father, teaching his boys to love hunting and fishing. He had many friends and was a good friend to many.