Michelle Reilly 1953-2015

by Site Admin on October 19, 2015

Friday when I was at the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, I learned that Michelle Reilly, very long time Romney breeder from Maryland had died suddenly on October 9.. She was only 61.

I met Michelle at least 20 years ago at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and admired her dedication to the Romney breed, and so enjoyed seeing her and her lovely wool in her booth at Rhinebeck. Until I read the obituary, I didn’t realize she was one of the founding members of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

Mary Pratt

Obituary follows:


Ms. Michelle Marie Reilly, 61, life-long educator and Ceramic Arts teacher at Frederick High School, died suddenly from heart failure on Friday, October 9, 2015 at her home while caring for her horses. She was the loving wife of John P. “Jack” Maurer. They were married for seven years and together for over 20.

Born December 12, 1953 in Washington, DC, she was the oldest of eight children born to John “Jack” Abernethy of Kensington, MD, and the late Patricia Houck Abernethy.

Michelle loved teaching children of all ages. At the time of her death, she was a beloved and well-respected Ceramics Arts teacher at Frederick High School for over 20 years, where she was involved in many school related community service activities. Additionally, she was an assistant softball coach, active with the FFA horse judging competitions, assisting with Santa’s workshop, and organizing and revitalizing the Empty Bowls Banquet, among other things.

She was actively involved with the U.S. Pony Club and the Mounted Games Association of America (MGAA). Michelle was a coach, rider, and trainer of ponies. She enjoyed seeing the second and third generations of her students excel, thanks to her dedicated coaching.
Michelle was owner of Triple R Farm, where she raised Registered Romney sheep. She was a lifetime member of the Romney Sheep Breeders and an original founding member of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. What started as a few individuals meeting in a garage, this event held annually in May at the Howard County Fairgrounds has become the largest wool festival on the East Coast.

Michelle also owned Wool N Quilts, providing wool and hand spun yarn from her sheep, as well as handmade quilts. She was currently working on a quilt for the newest edition to her family to arrive in early December.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by two children, Gabriel Reilly and wife, Kristen; and Christine Mariano and husband, Jason; seven grandchildren, Ilaria, Evelyn, Francesca, Halina, Jason Jr., Valentina, and Rosalie; and seven siblings, Christine DeVlaming, John Abernethy, James Abernethy, Joseph Abernethy, Regina Early, Mary Pat Orenstein, and Michael Abernethy.

She also will be remembered by Jack’s children, Jill Mikash and husband, Chris; and Janet Young and husband, Donnie, and their children, Ben and Maddie.

The family will receive friends from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 16, 2015 at Stauffer Funeral Home, 1621 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick.

Funeral services will be held privately for the family.

– – –
To write to Jack Maurer and their families
4614 Locust Grove Road
Rohrersville MD 21779

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