William J. "Bill" Reiter
William Joseph Reiter, 91, an avid Chicago Cubs fan, World War II veteran, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and a no-nonsense dispenser of sharp humor and deep wisdom, died Friday in West Des Moines.
Known as "Bill" to friends and family, he was born September 7, 1921, in Farley, IA, to Peter Joseph and Caroline Barbara (Bertling) Reiter. It was the start of a long and meaningful life in which he served proudly in World War II under Patton's 3rd Army, worked as a cattle buyer, fished and hunted and camped, and watched with joy as his Cubbies never won the World Series but nonetheless brought a smile to his face.
But it was what happened in Chicago after the war that truly defined his life, when he swooped in and wooed a beautiful young opera singer named Phyllis Jeanne Porr and made her his wife. They had seven children, 17 grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren and a 64 year marriage that was the picture of true love.
Bill said it best at his 90th birthday party, choking up as he faced his family before turning to his wife, telling everyone gathered that many wonderful things have happened in his life, but that the best "happening" was to have married her.
There is so much to remember and celebrate about his life that stemmed from that day, October 9, 1948, when they were married. He always turned his cheek for a kiss from his girls. He instilled in everyone lucky enough to have known him a deep sense of loyalty and family. He would squeeze your leg while exclaiming "HAAARG" and then erupt into a raspy, deep belly laugh. He gave speeches - funny, touching, emotional, wise - at funerals and weddings. He was a constant force for his family in shaping them into the men and women they became.
He was a grilling connoisseur, a brilliant card player who could win while at sea with soldiers, at the penny-ante table with his kids and grandkids or while setting records at Texas Hold 'Em on his computer. He was, first and foremost, a man who left his legacy with his children through his actions and his deep faith - they became a doctor, nurse, pastor, teacher and successful businessmen.
All remain happily married. All carry with them the confidence, love, loyalty, faith and toughness their father passed onto them.
Bill and Phyllis moved to Des Moines in 1979, where he was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in West Des Moines and the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
He is survived and lovingly remembered by his wife of 64 years, Phyllis Reiter of Clive; children, Peter (Mary Ann) Reiter, M.D., of Ottumwa, IA, Nancy (John) Guthrie, FNP/BC of Chillicothe, MO, David (Maureen) Reiter of Kansas City, MO, Anne (Dan) Kubr of Roca, NE, Rev. Judy (Kim) Wadding of Altoona, IA, Bob (Vanessa) Reiter of Centennial, CO and John (Lyn) Reiter of Waukesha, WI; one brother, Alfred Reiter of Cascade; 17 grandchildren; twleve great-grandchildren; and a host of extended family members and many friends. Bill was preceded into eternal life by his parents; sister, Rita Hogan; one brother, Joseph Reiter; and one granddaughter, Amy Reiter.
A memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 25, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in West Des Moines. Entombment will follow at Resthaven Mausoleum also in West Des Moines. The family will greet friends at a memorial gathering from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, June 24, at Iles Funeral Homes, Westover Chapel in Des Moines.
The family has respectfully requested that memorial contributions be made to: The City of Jude. They may be mailed to: Westover Funeral Home; C/O The Bill Reiter Family; 6337 Hickman Road; Des Moines, IA 50322.
Published in Des Moines Register from June 23 to June 25, 2013
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