Our Founder

Susan Luckie Reilly, 1916 - 2017


Susan Luckie Reilly was born in 1916, the same year the National Park Service was founded.  In 1965, Reilly donned the green and grey of the NPS and worked as a seasonal, ranger-naturalist for what was then, Joshua Tree National Monument. 

Ms. Reilly was the daughter of Dr. James B. Luckie, a Pasadena physician who recommended the healthy, dry, desert climate to WWI veterans suffering from the effects of mustard gas.  The Luckie family spent time at the family home in Twentynine Palms when not in Pasadena.  It was during these family visits that Susan developed a life long love and passion for the desert environment.  A graduate of Stanford University, Ms. Reilly and others founded the Morongo Basin Conservation Association which successfully fought off an initiative by the utility company to run a massive power transmission corridor straight through the heart of the Morongo Basin.

Ms. Reilly was the first recipient of the Minerva Hoyt Award in 2004.  She also received a Woman of Distinction Award given by Congressman Paul Cook in 2013 and has been a driving force for preservation and protection of the Southern California desert.

(Thanks to Joshua Tree National Park News Release of June 8, 2016, for some of this information.)


Ruth Rieman's Comments at Susan's Celebration of Life

As a long-time MBCA Board member and former President of MBCA, Ruth had a long acquaintance with Susan and presented a wonderful array of stories about Susan's contributions to our communities at the Celebration of Life on July 8, 2017. 

Susan's Poetry

At the Celebration of Life for Susan, several poems she had written at various times in her life were displayed. Here are six of them.

Report on the Susan Luckie Reilly Celebration of Life

Recollections about Susan from long-time MBCA Directors David Fick and Ruth Rieman, as well as Park Superintendent David Smith, friends and family members, are highlighted in this article that appeared in the Hi-Desert Star and The Desert Trail.

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    Celebration of Life for MBCA Founder Susan Luckie Reilly


    To mark the passing on her 101st birthday of longtime Morongo Basin resident Susan Luckie Reilly, who was also one of MBCA's key founders, a Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, July 8 at 10:00 AM at the Bell Center of Copper Mountain College. Read details in this Press Release from Joshua Tree National Park.  Look to MBCA's History page to learn more about Susan's involvement and to read her own history of MBCA.  Local news stories from KCDZ-FM and the Hi Desert Star provide more background on her impact on the Morongo Basin and Joshua Tree National Park.  There is also an editorial in the local papers and a special article about her from 2006 entitled "10 Things to Know about Susan Luckie Reilly."  We are saddened by the loss of Susan, a Morongo Basin treasure, but grateful for her years of leadership and support on behalf of the  of the Basin and the Park.

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    Susan Luckie Reilly

    MBCA Founder Celebrates 100th birthday - June 22, 2016

    Susan's 100th birthday party was held on June 22nd at the Oasis Visitor Center of Joshua Tree National Park.  Most of MBCA's Directors were able to attend to honor Susan's legacy for the Park and the Morongo Basin.  Ruth Rieman read a birthday message to Susan from MBCA (see below) and Park Superintendent David Smith promised Susan continued, dedicated stewardship of the Park in the future.  David presented Susan with a "Susan Luckie Reilly doll," which is clothed in a Park uniform.

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