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Carlton Gordon Reiley, M.D., passed away at his home in Carmel,
CA, with his wife by his side, on March 16, 2019. Carl was born
on a snowy New Year’s Eve in 1933 near Bellaire, Michigan. He
was the third son of Harry A. Reiley and Aura Stanton Johnson
As he grew up, he worked with his father and brothers in the
woods cutting logs and learning a woodsman's skills. One of his
many jobs was putting docks in the water as ice thawed in the
lakes. He also learned construction, plumbing, and electrical
work while helping build his brother Herb’s house.
After graduating from Bellaire High School, Carl headed to
Michigan State College, where he continued working many jobs to
put himself through school. His favorite way to earn money was
his life-long passion, playing Dixieland Jazz. His mother was a
talented piano teacher, but Carl's interest was in the trombone
and cornet, which he learned to play from his brother, Chuck.
Although too young to even be in a bar, many nights he was up in
front of crowds, with special permission, playing with the band.
Three years later, he started medical school at the University of
Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he was a member of Phi Chi medical
fraternity. He earned money playing trombone with the Ann Arbor
Alleycats, the Boll Weevil Band, and the Wolverine Stompers. His
4th year he was accepted into the Army Senior Medical Student
Program. While in medical school he met Nancy Dreibelbies, a
nursing student, who became his wife on June 17, 1957, in her
hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania. After their marriage the couple
headed for Denver, Colorado, where Carl interned for one year.
They took up skiing and mountain hiking in his rare time off.
Here their first daughter, Linda, was born.
In the summer of 1959, Carl went on active duty with the US Army.
He became the Battle Group Surgeon for the 1st Battle Group, 20th
Infantry, Fort Kobbe, Panama Canal Zone. Here he began his almost
50 year enjoyment of snorkeling. He continued his love of hiking,
once even cutting his way through the jungle with his machete on
the Las Cruces Trail. Their second daughter, Kathleen, was born
during this time.
Upon return to the mainland, Carl completed a three year
residency in Internal Medicine at Letterman General Hospital in
San Francisco. Here twin daughters, Debra and Karen, were born to
complete the family. Wherever the Army sent their family, he and
Nancy took their daughters out many weekends to explore the new
area. They drove across country several times, Carl singing
harmony to his four daughters' melody, and Nancy requesting songs
while watching the map and planning stops for adventures along
the way. Summers were always filled with hiking, camping, and
After residency he was stationed at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where he
spent only 7 months before heading to the war in Vietnam. Carl
was assigned to the 8th Field Hospital in Nha Trang in 1966. Here
he continued his interest in tropical medicine that began in
Panama. He treated malaria, bubonic plague, and leptospirosis
while also triaging soldiers off the battlefield as they arrived
at the hospital. Upon his return home, he was first stationed at
Ft. Ord, California, and then transferred to Tripler Army
Hospital in Hawaii, where he was Assistant Chief of Medicine.
Here the whole family enjoyed snorkeling and hiking together.
In 1970 Carl resigned from the Army to go into private practice
at the Woodland Clinic in Woodland, California. That year he also
became a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. During the
winters the family skied at Sugar Bowl, where Carl was on the
Doctors' Ski Patrol. Summers were spent camping and hiking with
his family. He also performed multiple times at the Sacramento
Jazz Festival with his brother Chuck's Alamo City Jazz Band from
San Antonio, Texas. When the Gulf War began in 1990, Carl went
from the Army Reserve to active duty once again at Ft. Ord Army
Hospital. It was there that he finished his twenty-two years of
service to his country as a lieutenant colonel. During his
military career, he earned the National Defense Service Medal
with the Bronze Star, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry
Unit Citation, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal, among other
Retiring in Carmel, Carl was able to indulge even more in his
love of Dixieland music, and his hobbies of making model train
layouts, gunsmithing, genealogy, and reading about Western
pioneer history. Carl and Nancy enjoyed seeing the world,
eventually visiting 58 countries together. They combined their
enjoyment of traveling and music by playing on many Jazz Sea
Cruises. He played with the Bye Bye Blues Boys for many years at
the Monterey Dixieland Jazz Festival. He also played with the
Sweet Thursday Jazz Band, the Ragtime Stompers and, most
recently, the Dixie Syncopators. He was a member of the Monterey
Hot Jazz Society.
Carl leaves behind his wife of sixty-one years, Nancy, and four
daughters: Linda (Colin) Clark of Larkspur, CO; Kathleen (Rich)
Sternal of Naperville, IL; Debra (Bruce) Haley of Lake City, CA;
Karen (Darrell) Schnabel of Folsom, CA. He also leaves
grandchildren Connor (Brianne) Clark, Garrett (Sara) Clark,
Meghan Sternal, Brent Sternal, Brendan Haley, Melissa Cook
(Bogdan) Anton, and Courtney Cook (Joshua) Smith. In recent
years, he was blessed with four great-grandchildren: Olivia,
Jacob, and Rosalie Anton, and Hunter Smith. He also leaves his
99-year-old brother Herb (Florence) Reiley of Bellaire, MI, and
his brother-in-law George Dreibelbies, as well as numerous nieces
and nephews. His other brothers, Dr. Charles W. Reiley and
“cousin-brother,” Mr. Don Reiley Hill, predeceased him.
Services will be held on Thursday, April 4th, at 11:00 a.m. at
the Church of the Forest in Pebble Beach, followed by military
burial with full honors at Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in
Dixon, CA, on April 5th at 10:30 a.m.