The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 2, 2013

Jack Lee Reitz

Published 5-2-13


Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Jack Lee Reitz passed away Wednesday, April 24, 2013, at Cherokee Manor in Cherokee, Okla. He was born in Nowata, Okla., on July 21, 1923, to Lloyd and Rowena Brown Reitz.

The oldest of four brothers, he was raised in Cherokee, Okla., by his mother Rowena during the Depression. He spent large amounts of time at Georgia and Ross Patton’s farm south of Cherokee while growing up.

He graduated from Cherokee High School in 1942, and joined the Navy. He was selected to enter the Navy V-12 Program, an accelerated officers training program set up in war time. He was sent to Milligan College in Tennessee, the only college campus during world war II taken completely over by a branch of the armed services. While there, he excelled in academics and sports. He was starting guard on the Milligan college basketball team of 1943-44, composed of V-12 servicemen, which had a national ranking and went 22-2 that season, beating Duke and North Carolina on successive nights on their home courts.

He served as assistant company commander at Milligan before being sent by the Navy to Harvard University in Boston for six months, based on his academic record.

He left the Navy as an ensign after 42 months of military service and ultimately obtained a master’s degree at Oklahoma A&M before returning to Cherokee.

He taught math and was a successful coach at Cherokee Junior and Senior High School, and later joined the postal service.

He married Virginia Mae Bonner of Dacoma in 1952. They had three children.

He was a letter carrier in Cherokee for 20 years and then a rural mail carrier for 20 years. He and wife Virginia farmed her family’s farmland in Woods  County after her parent’s retirement, and Jack continued to farm the land until the age of 75.

He was an avid hunter and fisherman, and he loved animals. Over the years, he raised registered Chinese Pugs, Yorkshire terriers, German shorthairs, Vizlas, quarter horses and cattle.

He was a deacon at First Christian Church in Cherokee, and participated in activities of the local American Legion. The family gatherings at mother Rowena’s home in Cherokee with the four brothers, all who completed college, included contentious tennis doubles matches and golf games, with the participation of Rowena’s 12 grandchildren, and were things Jack very much enjoyed. He was a devoted father, who encouraged the musical and academic pursuits of his children. He and Virginia were married for 61 years prior to Virginia’s death on Feb. 28, 2013.

He was preceded in death by wife, Virginia; brother, Bob; and grandson, Jeremy.

He is survived by brother, Warren Reitz and wife Beverly of Medicine Lodge, Kan.; brother, Don Reitz of Goodland, Kan.; son, Craig Reitz, M.D., and wife Ruthanne of Edmond; daughter, Renee Hillman, R.N., and husband Steve of Phoenix, Ariz.; and son, Rolfe Reitz, M.D., and wife Anita of Enid, Okla. Grandchildren include: Stephanie Hodge and husband Phillip of Houston, Texas, Brian Reitz of Glendale, Ariz., Melissa Reitz and fiancé Tracy Sisk of Gainesville, Fla., Adam Reitz and wife Sara of Edmond, Okla., and Lauren Reitz of Edmond; stepgrandchildren, Dimitra Becker and husband Chad, Justin Hillman and wife Amanda, and Chad Hillman; in addition to numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral service will be 2 p.m. Sunday, May 5, 2013, at First Christian Church, Cherokee. Arrangements are by Goodwin Funeral Home, Cherokee. Viewing will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the funeral home. The casket will remain closed at the church.

Memorials may be made through the funeral home to Salvation Army, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, or First Christian Church of Cherokee.

(Submitted by family)