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Stephen Reilly, Newsday employee for nearly 40 years, dies at 67

Stephen Reilly, of Sayville, died Wednesday, June 17,

Stephen Reilly, of Sayville, died Wednesday, June 17, 2015, of renal cancer at 67, family members said.

Stephen Reilly, a nearly four-decade Newsday employee and top advertising salesman, died June 17 of renal cancer, family members said.

He was 67.

Reilly, of Sayville, was known as a hard worker who loved his job and loved newspapers, his son said. He began his career at Newsday in 1976 in the publications department, wrote colleague and friend Janice DeSimone in an email.

"Steve was as dedicated as they come," she said. "He arrived at work before anyone even got out of bed in the morning -- usually before 5 a.m. [He] turned on the lights, shoveled snow and prepared for his workday."

During his time at Newsday, he worked in co-op advertising, was a supervisor in classified advertising and finally moved to retail advertising as an account executive, DeSimone said.

Reilly started dating his future wife, Donna, in 1973. They were married in 1977.

Reilly's advice to his son was to always find a way to be content in life with what he had.

"He always told me, 'Don't focus on money: Be happy,' " Ian Reilly of Astoria said Thursday. "It's interesting, because I don't know if he followed the same rules for himself. It was one of the sacrifices he made. He worked so hard so everyone around him could be happy."

His success in sales at Newsday was due, in part, to his love of people and his ability to engage anyone in conversation, Ian Reilly said.

"He was the type of person that when you would say, 'OK, could you go pick some paper towels?' he would come back an hour and a half later because he would get into a conversation with the cashier," Ian Reilly said.

Reilly was also a lover of classic and punk rock music. He regretfully would recall how he got stuck on the highway on his way to Woodstock when officials shut down the road because the concert was packed.

He was also a die-hard Yankees fan and a devoted Long Island native. He was born in Hempstead, grew up in Massapequa and moved to Sayville in 1982.

He graduated with a degree in history in 1969 from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in upstate Geneva, his son said.

Family members said they would remember Reilly for his often risqué sense of humor.

"He wasn't just like 'dad' funny," Ian Reilly said. "He was actually, legitimately funny -- and slightly inappropriate. . . . He was a salesman; he could read a room and he knew where to go and how far to go [to] make people laugh without making them uncomfortable."

In addition to his son and wife, Reilly is survived by his mother, Jeanne Reilly of Amityville, and two grandsons.

A viewing will be held from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday at Raynor ... D'Andrea Funeral Home, 245 Main St., West Sayville. A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Pinelawn Memorial Park, Pinelawn.

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