Florence F. Reiley, 100 years, of Bellaire, passed away peacefully in the presence of family on August 22, 2021. She was born on August 17, 1921, in Bellaire, the youngest daughter of Joseph and Delvina (Duba) Lessard
Florence was graduated from Bellaire Public High School in 1939 and furthered her education at the Traverse City State Hospital, becoming a registered nurse, a status she maintained throughout her life. In 1941, she married her high school sweetheart, Richard :”Herb” Reiley. They were life-long residents of Bellaire, and for many decades operated a tree planting business, during which time they planted more than 15 million trees in the northern Michigan region, receiving Michigan’s Outstanding Tree Farmer designation in 2003. Florence was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the State of Michigan for a lifetime of community service, presented by the Bellaire Chamber of Commerce in 2015, “For a life-long commitment to agriculture and the conservation and preservation of natural resources.”
Florence was thoroughly involved in a wide variety of community activities throughout her life. She was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star for over seven decades, and a 40 year member of the Bellaire Lioness Club. She was a volunteer at the Bellaire Historical Society Museum, and regularly assisted in local blood drive campaigns. She served on the Kearney Township Zoning board for two decades. Florence was an avid hunter of both deer and turkeys. She was a highly accurate shot with a rifle and she and Herb passed along their traditions of marksmanship by initiating a rifle/pistol scholarship fund for the Demmer Center for Shooting Sports at Michigan State University. Florence also held exemplary skills in the kitchen and was well known for baking delicious pies, as well as providing cookies, baked goods, and potluck items for a wide variety of community events, blood drives, and bake sales. An avid reader, she further enhanced her knowledge of other cultures and countries through travel to destinations around the globe with Herb.
Florence is survived by 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, Kaitlin (David) Kanaris of Anchorage, AK, Evan Proudfoot of Bellaire, Rachel (Andrew) Callery of Royal Oak, MI, and Ben Proudfoot of Lansing, MI; and three great-grandchildren, Beatrice Kanaris, August Kanaris, and Winifred Kanaris.
She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 78 years, Richard “Herb” Reiley; her grandsons Patrick Reiley and Brandon Reiley; her parents, Joseph and Delvina Lessard; two sisters, Maybelle Thomas and Marcia Lessard; and six brothers, Clyde Lessard, Claude Lessard, Cecil Lessard, Roland Lessard, David Lessard, and Louis Lessard.
Funeral services will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 28 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 Friday, August 27 at the Bellaire Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes, 106 S. Bridge St., Bellaire, MI 49615. Per the family’s request, those in attendance are asked to wear a mask.
Memorial donations may be made to the Bellaire Public Library, PO Box 477, Bellaire, MI 49615, 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 her online guestbook at www.mortensenfuneralhomes.com.