A Life Lived Well
Vic Schlich's love of print and publishing began around age 10, when he sold the Saturday Evening Post on a New York City street corner to earn money for his family. He transformed that love into several professions: news reporter and headline writer, advertising copywriter and executive, free-lance article writer and photographer.
Vic was a first-generation American, born in New York City on March 7, 1920, of immigrant parents who worked hard to make it in America but struggled like so many others during the Depression. He could recount fond memories of his active childhood, which included neighborhood adventures and an especially thrilling 1928 steamboat trip to his parents' roots in Kaiserslauten, Germany.
One of his earliest writing projects was a letter to the Brooklyn Dodgers management in support of his favorite player, Fresco Thompson, who bought the Saturday Evening Post from young Vic every week for years, but who kept getting sent down to the minor leagues.
Vic's father Otto was a respected architect and civil engineer whose business fell victim to the Depression, and who died young in 1933. Life got harder for Vic and his mother Katharina, but she found work to keep them afloat and he took after-school jobs. One of those jobs was delivering newspapers for a store that carried magazines and each of the nine newspapers published in New York at that time. He read them all. "My yen for papers and writing stemmed from those days," he recalled later.
He joined the Naval Reserve and served part of 1940 in and around the Panama Canal. He enlisted for active duty in 1942, and in 1943 experienced harrowing action as part of a convoy that, while on its way to Iceland, did battle with a wolf pack of German U-Boats. Later he spent 18 months on the Mediterranean in support of the Allied invasion of Sicily. He finished the war in the Pacific, visiting New Calidonia, the Soloman Islands, the Caroline Islands and the Phillipines.
Vic met Madeline "Kim" Kimbell in a Christian Science church group in New York, in 1938. They fell in love and were married in 1944 while he was on leave from the U.S. Navy. They moved from New York to Maine in 1947 when he began his career in news as a reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
Vic and Kim moved to South Portland in 1948, raised a daughter and a son, and contributed to various community and state organizations through volunteer service for more than 50 years. They were not born in Maine but over their years here, their hearts made them natives.
After a stint as an evening news anchor for the fledgling Dumont television network in the early fifties, Vic returned to the Press Herald and worked his way up to president of the Newspaper Guild.
In the early sixties, he co-founded the Portland advertising agency Ad-Ventures and spent much of that decade writing ad copy and managing clients all over Maine. Ironically, he was never publicly recognized for one of his most famous advertising creations: the "Ski ME" and "See ME" campaign that began promoting Maine tourism during the late sixties and early seventies. He retired from advertising in 1970 and began his next career--this time as a free-lance writer.
For the next 25 years, the Schlichs traveled and Vic wrote about it for various publications. He also wrote human interest articles for newspapers around the U.S. and magazines such as Boy's Life and <many others>. Shocked by the large percentage of his pay that he owed a photographer for the pictures that accompanied his articles, Vic set up a darkroom and assumed that role himself.
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