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Richard "Herb" Reiley

December 7, 1919 ~ January 12, 2020 (age 100)


Richard Herbert Reiley, 100, of Bellaire, passed away on Sunday, January 12, 2020 at Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility with his family at his side.  He was born on December 7,1919 in Union City, MI, the son of Harry and Aura (Johnson) Reiley.

Herb was raised on his family’s centennial farm with his three brothers.  After graduating high school, Herb served in the United States Army Air Corps as a commissioned officer and 1st Lieutenant during World War II.  In 1941, he married his high school sweetheart, Florence Lessard. He and Florence have been lifelong residents of Bellaire. Together, they have planted more than 15 million trees all around Northern Michigan with equipment that Herb made and modified himself.  He was a well-renowned farmer in the area, as well as a local historian and philanthropist.

Herb was an avid outdoorsman; he enjoyed hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and many other outdoor activities.  He was an expert marksman, and in order to pass along the tradition, he started a scholarship fund at the Michigan State University shooting range.  He played guitar and upright bass for many years, often bonding with his brothers over music. He was a lifelong member at the Bellaire United Methodist Church.  Herb belonged to the Bellaire Area Seniors Organization, the American Legion Post in Bellaire, the Masonic Lodge in Bellaire, the area Shriners, and the Bellaire Lions Club. He earned the Melvin P. Jones award for his work with the Lions, which is one of the most prestigious awards in the organization and is named after its founder.  Herb was truly a pillar in the community of Bellaire, and his presence will be dearly missed by many.

Herb is survived by his loving wife of 78 years, Florence Reiley; four children, Richard H. Reiley II of San Antonio, TX, Michael H. Reiley of Wichita, KS, Janice (Daniel) Proudfoot of Bellaire, MI, and Marcial G. (Kim) Reiley of Reno, NV; four grandchildren, Kait (David) Kanaris of Anchorage, AK, Evan Proudfoot of Bellaire, Rachel (Andrew) Callery of San Francisco, CA, and Ben Proudfoot of Bellaire; and two great-grandchildren, Beatrice Kanaris, and August Kanaris.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Aura Reiley; two grandsons, Patrick Reiley, and Brandon Reiley; and three brothers, Charles Reiley, Carlton Reiley, and Don Reiley-Hill.

Funeral services will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, January 17 at the Bellaire Community United Methodist Church, 401 N Bridge St, Bellaire, MI 49615.  Visitation will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 16 at the Bellaire Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes, 106 S. Bridge St., Bellaire, MI 49615.

Memorial donations may be made to the Bellaire Community United Methodist Church, or the Herb and Florence Reiley Mixed Rifle/Pistol Endowed Scholarship (checks may be made payable to Michigan State University, with Allocation Code A111173 on the memo line, and sent to: University Development, 300 Spartan Way, East Lansing, MI 48824).

Arrangements are in the care of the Bellaire Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes.  Please sign his online guestbook at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Richard "Herb" Reiley, please visit our floral store.


January 16, 2020

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Bellaire Chapel
106 South Bridge Street
Bellaire, MI 49615

Funeral Service
January 17, 2020

11:00 AM
Bellaire Community United Methodist Church
401 N. Bridge Street
Bellaire, MI 49615

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