Dr. Reiss was born in Belvidere, Nebraska, as one of two children born to Paul Reiss and Amy Reiss Lapcheska. He graduated Belvidere High School in 1951, and received his B.A. from Doane College in Crete, Nebraska in 1955.
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In 1958 Dr. Reiss was awarded his Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Nebraska School of Medicine. From 1959 until 1962 Dr. Reiss served in the U.S. Army Medical Corp. as a surgical resident in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. During this time he attended the U.S. Army flight school, and was awarded his pilot license in 1960.
Dr. Reiss provided medical and family services in the Lodi community for 48 years. From 1962 until 1990 he served thousands of patients through Vinewood Family Practice. Since 1988 he treated San Joaquin County's most vulnerable families, women and children through Lodi Memorial Hospital's Ham Lane Urgent Care Clinic and the Lodi Homeless Shelter.
Dr. Reiss established and directed the Salvation Army Clinic in Lodi as a volunteer physician, providing care after his regular working day. In its goal to provide wellness services to those without access to medical care, the clinic was first restricted to a small room in the old Salvation Army office on Sacramento Street. Dr. Reiss was instrumental in developing the clinic both in his service and by obtaining the help of fellow physicians, even after he "retired" in 1996. In 2010 the clinic opened at a new location, named the Walter E. Reiss Outreach Clinic in his honor. In appreciation of his service to the community of Lodi he was awarded the Citizen of the Year Award for 2004 by the Lodi Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Reiss was a Clinical Associate of Family Practice for the University of California School of Medicine in Davis, California. He was also an active member of the Academy of Family Practice, American Medical Association, and the California Medical Association.
A dedicated pilot as much as a dedicated physician, Dr. Reiss was past-president of the Flying Physicians and co-founded the Flying Samaritans, with whom he established the Bon Posteur Hospital in San Quetin, Baja, Mexico. Additionally, he served as a medical examiner for the FAA, providing countless flight physicals for local area pilots.
Dr. Reiss leaves behind his loving wife of 55 years, Carol, with whom he shared a strong faith. He was a loving and devoted father to three daughters: Laurie (David) Peterson of Walnut Creek, Susan Reiss of Elk Grove, and Kristine (Brett) Petersen of Soquel, California. He was a wonderful and supportive Grandfather to four grandchildren: Ebba and Ian Peterson, and Madeline and Claire Petersen. He is also survived by his sister Mary Bruning of Bruning, Nebraska, and an extended and loving family. He is preceded in death by his mother and father.
Dr. Reiss was a man with great humility and sense of purpose. After his devotion to his family and his faith, he was an ardent supporter of Nebraska football. He was a talented musician, and found great joy playing his trumpet. Being a pilot was his passion. Whether flying to the upcoming Husker game or to the mountains to enjoy his family and a round of golf on the shores of Lake Tahoe, Dr. Reiss displayed a great appreciation for his life. He passed away peacefully with his family at the bedside. An Angel came to Earth and lovingly commended his spirit home to our Heavenly Father.
Dr. Reiss' family invites you to attend a celebration of his life on June 29, 2012 at 11:00. Service will be held at Saint Paul Lutheran Church, 701 S. Pleasant Ave. Lodi, California. A reception will follow at the Woodbridge Golf and Country Club.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be sent to the Salvation Army Walter E. Reiss Outreach Clinic, P.O. Box 1388 Lodi, CA 95241, or the Lodi Memorial Hospital Foundation, 845 S. Fairmont, Suite 3 Lodi, CA 95240.
Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from June 27 to July 5, 2012