In Memory

Kathy Collins (Reilly)

Obituaries in Des Moines, IA | The Des Moines Register Kathy Lee (Collins) Reilly died on November 16, 2021, at age 71. She was born in Des Moines in 1950 and lived there most of her life. She graduated from Roosevelt High School and the University of Kansas. After college, Kathy taught English, speech and drama at Urbandale, DM Lincoln, and Ankeny high schools. She graduated from Drake Law School with Honors and became the Legal Consultant and Administrative Law Judge for the Iowa Dept. of Education.

In 1995, Kathy joined School Administrators of Iowa. She was a tireless advocate for equal rights and anti-bullying in schools and she was highly respected in her field. Kathy taught Education Law in the graduate schools of Education at Drake and Iowa State. She lived with a form of emphysema called Alpha-One Anti-Trypsin Deficiency for nearly 30 years but finally succumbed to it many years later than expected.

Kathy is survived by a brother, Larry D. (Carolyn) of Dubuque; three nieces: Kelsey Hutton (Mark), Stacey Pelletier (Glenn), and Erin O'Donnell (Leo), a nephew, Ryan Collins; her former step-daughter and forever best friend, Amy Miller (Josh Rosen), of Berkeley; Amy's twin sons, Felix and Devon; former step-son, Dr. Michael K. Miller (Grace) and his three children and many friends. Kathy was preceded in death by her parents, Donald A. Collins and Maxine E. Collins O'Halloran; her step-Pop, Mike O'Halloran; her beloved brother, Fred; first husband Keith D. Miller; and second and forever husband, JD Reilly, Jr., and sister-in-law, Jane Siebrecht. Kathy loved and lived with passion and was loved deeply in return.

A celebration of Kathy's Life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30, 2022 at Iles Dunn's Chapel where a reception will follow. The service will be livestreamed on the Iles website. Go to at 1:45 p.m. Saturday and scroll to the bottom of Kathy's obituary to join in the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Kathy Collins Reilly Scholarship with the Roosevelt High School Foundation, to the Southern Poverty Law Center, or to the Iowa Pet Alliance Foundation. Her cremains will be combined with JD's and distributed pursuant to their wishes probably in the dark of night. Expanded obituary and online condolences available at