BHT Member Memorials – Victor Reiling

Victor G. Reiling

Died February 1, 2021

Victor G. Reiling Jr., 80, of Sarasota FL, passed away peacefully on February 1, 2021. He is survived by his wife, Nancy S. Bushnell. Formerly of Cornwall, Salisbury, and Kent, CT, he and Nancy moved to Sarasota FL in 2008.

He was born March 20, 1940, in Dayton, OH, son of the late Lillian S. and Victor G. Reiling. Eldest of five children, he was always called “Pete” by his family members, including 31 first cousins, many uncles and aunts and nieces and nephews. He is survived by his sisters, Anne Mack and Ellen Reiling (and her husband Brendan Coogan and their three children), as well as his brother Michael E. Reiling (and his wife Anne Marie Bruner and their son), and his sister-in-law Carol Jean Reiling and her two children.

Vic is also survived by his son Peter and his wife Melissa Leopard, and two grandsons, Max and Joe, as well as son Jonathan S. Reiling and Jon’s wife Chris Descaro.

He is also survived by his three step-children, Bob Bushnell, Ed Bushnell (and his wife Janice and their two children), and Heather Mock (and her husband Jim and their two children)
He graduated from the Chaminade Catholic High School in Dayton, OH and went proudly on to become a member of the class of 1962, 16th Company, at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis MD. While there, he did numerous illustrations for the “Log,” and designed the class of ’62 logo, which was used on the Naval Academy class ring, as well as numerous other items.

Following his graduation, he did submarine training and then was sent to Vietnam, where he served on the USS John Willis and then on the Minesweeper USS Woodpecker. He was sent to the language school in Monterey, CA, where he learned to speak Vietnamese, and returned to Vietnam where he became involved in psychological warfare operations. He was next appointed Captain of the USS Woodpecker. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant, and was awarded numerous medals and citations throughout his military service.

In April of 1970, he retired from the Navy and started an illustrious career as a toy and game designer. He worked for Fisher Price in Buffalo NY, where he designed many of their bestselling toys of the era, including the Castle, the Airport, the Houseboat, and the Sesame Street Playhouse. He went on, as Victor G. Reiling and Associates, to work for many other toy companies, with a number of different partners, and was very recently coming up with more creative concepts on a daily basis. His game “Hot Potato,” originally introduced in the 1980s, is still on the market.

Wherever he lived, Vic always became a willing participant in community activities. As a member of the Rotary Club in Salisbury, he helped to design a traveling gazebo for the local Salisbury Band. He marched every year in the Memorial Day Parade in Cornwall, Salisbury, Kent, and Sarasota. He decorated a statue of a dog in Kent, CT to benefit the local food pantry, and another in Sarasota, FL for the benefit of the Southeastern Guide Dogs. While in Kent, he did weekly editorial cartoons for the Kent Good Times Dispatch, as well as helping to design the new Veterans Memorial Plaza. His artistic talents knew no bounds!

He and his wife Nancy had a wonderful life together. They met 33 years ago when he stopped at Nancy’s gift shop, “Fun Unlimited,” in Salisbury, CT to buy some Christmas gifts. Driving back and forth to New York City, where he and Nancy were members of the Troupe, or up and down the east coast to visit friends and family, and taking a number of cruises around the Mediterranean and up the Mississippi, they covered a lot of territory together.

Vic was also a member of the Military Officers Association of Sarasota FL, and served on the board as 2nd vice-president, responsible for arranging speakers for monthly meetings.

Vic was buried at the Sarasota National Cemetery.

— Nancy Bushnell

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