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Joseph Donald Reimenschneider

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Joseph Donald Reimenschneider Obituary
J. Donald Reimenschneider of East Whiteland Township Joseph Donald Reimenschneider, whose leadership helped transform Chester County's East Whiteland Township from a rustic outpost into a wealthy corporate hub, passed away on Monday, March 26, 2012, at Phoenixville Hospital. He was 77. Born on May 11, 1934, in Lansdowne, Delaware County, Don was the son of the late Frances (Winokur) and George Reimenschneider. He resided in Lansdowne until leaving to serve in the U.S. Army in 1959. Mr. Reimenschneider was a proud graduate of Friends' Central School. As the class of 1952's alumni agent, he was eager to attend his 60th reunion on May 12. Before graduating with honors from the Montgomery County prep school, he compiled an impressive list of athletic accomplishments: he ran for Friends' Central in the Penn Relays, started in the backfield for the school's first undefeated football team in the fall of 1951 and played guard on the varsity basketball team. Mr. Reimenschneider worked at a bank while studying for his bachelor's in business administration from Drexel University, then went to the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his master's in governmental administration. He then began his distinguished career in local government as manager of the New Hampshire town of Groveton, where his wife, Elsie, gave birth to their first child, Jenny, in 1960. He returned to the greater Philadelphia area as manager of Aston Township, Delaware County, before beginning a remarkable 38-year run as East Whiteland manager. Mr. Reimenschneider's nearly four-decade tenure in East Whiteland is longer than any township manager in Chester County history. When he began in 1962, the township's budget was $185,000. As a sign of the growth he both guided and oversaw, he left East Whiteland with a $15 million budget in 2001. "You don't hear a lot about good managers", Charles Guernsey, former Radnor Township manager, told The Philadelphia Inquirer in a December 2000 article about Mr. Reimenschneider's retirement. "Don is quiet and unassuming and keeps the place running". He kept the place running through several diverse supervisors' boards and dicey issues in an area where political discourse is often heated and the political divide can run deep. "You have to be patient with people", Reimenschneider told The Inquirer. "My approach is, no matter who is the supervisor, treat him or her equally. If you have differences of opinion, they are discussed in private, not in public". Something Mr. Reimenschneider was all too proud to discuss in public was his other passion, coaching youth sports. He was a fixture in Great Valley Little League, as both a coach and officer, for more than three decades, coaching generations of young players. In the later years, he devoted his attention to aiding the league's Challenger teams for mentally and physically challenged youth. He also coached youth basketball for several years, and coached his daughter Sophia's soccer teams in the 1980s. His community involvement stretched beyond the office and ballfields. Mr. Reimenschneider was a Cub Scout Troop leader for many years, wrote and edited an award-winning township newsletter, served on countless committees, was a longtime member of the Rotary Club and worked part-time as an aide at Great Valley Middle School for several years after he retired. But his softest spot was reserved for pets. Mr. Reimenschneider adored the many dogs and cats with whom he shared his home and his life, and gave generously to animal-related charities, chiefly the Humane Society. He also contributed frequently to Native American causes. Surviving are his former wife of 42 years and loving friend to the end, Elsie P. Reimenschneider of Malvern; his daughters and primary caretakers and support system in his final years, Jenny and Sophia of Eagleville; and sons, JG of Malvern and Jerald R., husband of Terese (Malzone) of Womelsdorf, Berks County. Also surviving are two grandchildren whom he adored, Alyssa and Jeremy of Womelsdorf; a brother, Barry J., husband of Carolyn of Abingdon, Montgomery County; several nieces and nephews; and two beloved great-nieces. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 1, at Alleva Funeral Home, 1724 E. Lancaster Ave., Paoli, PA 19301. The family will receive visitors from 12 noon to 1 p.m. Burial and interment will be private at Philadelphia Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Mr. Reimenschneider's name to The Humane Society of the United States, Dept. MEMIT9, 2100 L St. NW, Washington, DC 20037, www.humanesociety.org; Lakota/St. Joseph's Indian School, 1301 N. main St., Chamberlain, SD 57325, www.stjo.org; Great Valley Little League, 109 Shandon Place, Malvern, PA 19355; Special Olympics, wwwspecialolympics.org/donate; or Friends' Central School, www.friendscentral.org/gift.

Published in The Daily Local on Mar. 30, 2012
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