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Obituary (CA): John Joseph Lally '56

Posted on 04/05/2018

Lt Col John Joseph Lally (USAF Retired), 84, entered heaven on Easter Sunday morning in Sacramento, CA.Born and raised in San Francisco, John was a 1947 graduate of St. Cecilia Catholic Grammar School (the Greatest, the Finest, and the Best), and a 1951 graduate of St. Ignatius (SI) College Preparatory High School, where he was a tight-end for the SI Wildcats (#15) with All-City honors. Upon graduating from high school, John attended the United States Naval Academy (USNA), where he earned a BS in engineering and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1956. John spent 22 years on active duty as a Command Pilot and was qualified in several aircraft, including the B-25, B-47 and B-52 Stratofortress. A few of the many accomplishments of his illustrious career include his command of deployed elements of 441st Bomb Squadron at Andersen Air Force Base (AFB) in Guam. At the end of the Vietnam War, by direct orders from U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, John led the redeployment of B-52s back to the continental United States. He culminated his career as Commander of the 441st Bomb Squadron at Mather AFB in Sacramento. After retiring from the Air Force and settling his family permanently in Sacramento, John became an engineer for Pacific Bell Telephone Company. When he permanently retired from the work force in the late 90's, he pursued his passion for adventure and travel, which began 40 years earlier during his years at the USNA. Baseball, football, basketball, golf John LOVED sports! He organized numerous trips to attend games across the country with family and friends, always capturing memories with his camera and generously sending them for all to enjoy. John was preceded in death by his father, Joseph Patrick Lally, and his mother, Agnes Cecilia Liguori of Forest Side Ave., San Francisco. He is survived by his cherished wife of 61 years and St. Cecilia and St. Rose alum, Rosemary D. Lally; his seven daughters: Marie K. Reilly (Michael) of Manteca, CA; M. Theresa Lally (David Van Wagoner) of Yorktown, VA; Rosemarie E. Lally of Sacramento, CA; Bernadette A. Tate (Ellis) of Omaha, NE; Diane A. Lally of Sacramento, CA; Susanne E. Lally of Walnut Creek, CA; and Christine J. Lally of Sacramento, CA. John was the greatest grandfather in the world to Maura R. Reilly Albert, Mikaela M. Reilly, Sean J. Tate, Ryan T. Tate, Olivia R. Tate, and his great-grand-daughter, Kathleen S. Albert. A celebration of John's life and legacy will be held Saturday, April 7, 2018, at Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church located at 4123 Robertson Ave., Sacramento, CA 95821. An 11:30 am Rosary will be followed by Mass at 12:00 pm. The burial will immediately follow at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, 6509 Fruitridge Road, Sacramento, CA 95820. Please join the Lally Family for a celebration at 2:30 pm at Mix Downtown, 1525 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, to toast John - because he always enjoyed a good party and a stiff drink! If you would like to commemorate John's life and generosity, donations may be made in his name to the Fisher House Foundation, 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, MD 20850 ( or Loaves and Fishes of Sacramento, 1351 North C Street, Sacramento, CA 95811 ( GO NAVY, BEAT ARMY! Beannacht leat go bhfeicfidh m‚ ar¡s th£ (Irish Gaelic: Blessings until we meet again .

Published in The Sacramento Bee on Apr. 5, 2018