Ann Lamar "Dee Dee" Switzer Reilly

Ann Lamar "Dee Dee" Switzer Reilly

At one time, there was little controversial about Planned Parenthood, drawing supporters from across the political spectrum. That changed dramatically over the decades but one thing never did: Dee Dee Reilly’s commitment to that cause, among many others. She never flinched from causes she embraced.

The Baton Rouge philanthropist died at 87 having made a remarkable impression by not only investing in causes she was concerned about but actively working to see that Louisiana institutions would be the best that they could be, hopefully of national impact. She and her late husband, businessman and former lawmaker Kevin Reilly Sr., who headed the nationwide Lamar advertising company for many years, founded the center at LSU devoted to academic inquiry into political and social life, for one example.

She helped found the Baton Rouge Speech and Hearing Foundation, now The Emerge Center, among a host of scholarships and other good works.

Dee Dee Reilly was a benefactress with a mission. In public life, some donors move on, often not delving deeply enough into the subjects of their philanthropies. Without public fanfare, Reilly was known in civic circles for what James Carville in one of his books called “stickin’,” the long-term commitments that make a real difference.

She will be missed.

Letters: Dee Dee Reilly's commitment to public interest won't be forgotten