CANFIELD - Prayers will begin Monday, April 1, 2019, at 9:15 a.m. at the Higgins-Reardon Funeral Homes, Boardman-Canfield Chapel, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at St. Michael Parish in Canfield for Victor A. Richley, 90, who passed away at home Tuesday, March 26.
Vic was born Sept. 20, 1928, in Niles, a son of the late Nicola and Rocchina (Polichetti) Richley, Italian immigrants who came to America in the 1921 - 1926 period.
He lived in the Youngstown-Niles area all his life except for 1935 to 1937 when, due to the American depression, his family moved back to Colobraro, Italy. While there, the threat of World War II and the slowing of the American depression convinced his family to return to America. The return trip was difficult financially and emotionally, since his family had to divide into two parts, one returning in 1937 and one in 1938. However, the return was a timely blessing since the American depression neared it’s end. World War II began in 1939 and the family was reunited in their permanent country.
Vic graduated from Niles McKinley High School in 1947. His studies centered on math, physics and chemistry. Later in life, when he began his college education, his interest in these subjects helped form the foundation of a life-long career in Engineering Education. While in high school, Vic also played basketball and was captain of the football team. His love of sports and exercise continued throughout his life.
Following high school, Vic was employed for three years at the Niles Rolling Mill (Sharon Steel Co.) until the onset of the Korean War in 1950. He was then drafted into the U.S. Army for a two year tour of duty, where he became Director of the Fire Direction Center and was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s badge, and several Korean Theatre medals. He was honorably discharged as a Sargent First Class in 1952 with an abiding loyalty to his country and a much improved work ethic and attitude regarding his future.
Following his interest in the physical sciences, Vic enrolled in the Electrical Engineering program at Youngstown College and earned a Bachelor’s degree in 1956. He then became a State of Ohio Registered Professional Engineer and was appointed to an Electrical Engineering faculty position at Youngstown University. He also completed a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Akron in 1960 and a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh in 1967.
Vic then resumed his faculty position at The Youngstown University, where he initiated and directed it’s Master’s degree program in Electrical Engineering. In 1969, he became Chairman of the newly formed Engineering Technology department. By 1981, the department had grown to four Bachelor’s degree programs, one thousand student majors and national accreditation. In 1982, he was named Dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology. After retiring in 1991, he was honored as the speaker at YSU’s March 30, 1991, commencement and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree. He continued with the university as a part-time faculty member until 1996.
His greatest professional joy was being in the classroom, working with students and learning of their success in the workplace. Vic’s family also has strong ties with the university. His wife Mary, daughter Marilyn and son James are all YSU alumni.
While working on his Master’s and as an engineer for the Edward J. Debartolo Corp, Vic met the love of his life, Mary Biros. They were married Nov. 14, 1959, and settled in Youngstown, where they had two children.
Above all else, his family was his passion. He especially enjoyed family traditions and gatherings including great food, music, water sports, fishing, Bocce and lot of laughter. He also looked forward to Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve (Italian style) celebrations.
Following his retirement, Vic and Mary spent many winters in Florida enjoying the sunshine activities. He particularly enjoyed fishing, golf, art and musical events. Vic was an active member of St. Michael Church, serving nine years on Parish Council, St. Michael Men’s Club and its Troop 115 Scout Committee. He remained an active member of the 7th Calvary Heavy Mortar Company and 1st Calvary Division Korean War Veterans Associations.
Vic leaves his wife, Mary, and their children, Marilyn (Keith) Sackett of Lake Milton and James N. Richley of Youngstown; and sister Betty Bandcroft of Blue Springs, Miss.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, J. Phillip Richley; and sister Marion J. Richley.
Friends may call on Sunday from 3 until 6 p.m. at the funeral home.
The family requests material tributes take the form of contributions to the Nicola and Rocchina Richley Scholarship Fund in support of Engineering and Engineering Technology majors at Youngstown State University.