Frederick Howard Reiter

Frederick Howard Reiter, father of seven, grandfather of fifteen and great grandfather of eight, passed away peacefully in his Littleton home on April 1. Poignantly, his eighth great-grandchild arrived into this world later that day, Michael Frederick Clay, the grandson of Reiter's fourth daughter, Elizabeth Jean Brady, who preceded him in death last November. Fred Reiter was 88. A degreed forester and geologist from the University of Michigan, Mr. Reiter's career as a petroleum geologist spanned thirty-five years in the Permian Basin of West Texas and in Denver, CO. Born on Groundhog Day in 1925 to sheet metal salesman Frederick Francis and Olga Kahler Reiter, European immigrants who resided in Baltimore, MD., Mr. Reiter and his younger brother Robert (Riz) were raised in a post-Depression era of humble beginnings and strong faith, including graduating from Loyola High School, a member of the Newman Club at University of Michigan, a Knights of Columbus in Midland Texas, and a parishioner of St. Mary's Church in Littleton Colorado. Enlisting in the Air Force during WWII right after high school, Fred went on to obtain a degree in forestry at the University of Michigan in 1949, supplemented by a Masters Degree in geology a year later. Marrying his college sweetheart Martha Jean Ertle of Cleveland Heights, OH., they located in West Texas immediately upon graduation, starting his career with Sohio in Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, then building a home and family in Midland, TX with Louisiana Land & Exploration Company. The company transferred him to Denver in 1973, eventually finishing his career with Buckhorn Petroleum. In 1968, as Fred and Jean started new and separate lives, he made a parallel career of raising five daughters and two sons, a non-stop 45-year scheduling priority to be with his 48-member nuclear family and in-laws, never missing a high school or college graduation, weddings of children and grandchildren, seven Eagle Scout ceremonies, twenty-two baptisms and decades of hosting annual holiday family gatherings. From 1958 through 1973, Mr. Reiter's tenure in Midland TX included organizing monthly weekend-outings through the local Sierra Club, his Republican precinct, a decade of Girl Scout Cookie drives and scouting events, countless productions through the Midland Community Theater and their Summer Mummers program, and the Annual Fair at St. Ann's Catholic Church. Unanimously considered a kind, modest and frugal man, Mr. Reiter would share that one of his proudest accomplishments was being able to put all seven of his children through college, four enrolled in overlapping years. An avid outdoorsman, Mr. Reiter had a passion for skiing, backpacking, hunting and fly fishing. His arrival into Colorado in 1973 discovered a new passion, learning to downhill ski his first Colorado winter which he subsequently transformed into a twenty-nine year hobby as a ski instructor every weekend of the ski season at Loveland Ski Basin. Mr. Reiter would organize backpack trips, many including two-week summer vacations with his seven children hiking through the rugged Yellowstone and Teton wilderness, annual elk hunts throughout Wyoming and fly-fishing for native cut-throat all along the Rocky Mountains from New Mexico to British Columbia. In his later years, he was an avid bridge partner to Mrs. Grace Steiert, a champion gin rummy player and a 162-game-a-season follower of his beloved Colorado Rockies, whether at home in front of the radio or TV or as a regular at Coors Field with his daughter Katie and son-in-law Joe Monahan. He attended daily Mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church and enjoyed breakfast at McDonald's with a group of close friends. Survivors are too abundant to list, except to mention his brother in Rockville, MD, his daughters, Ellen Inman, Melissa Schuchard, Katie Monahan and Julia Ann Worthington; and Mr. Reiter's two sons, Rick and Karl. Services are set for 10:30a.m. on April 19 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Littleton, CO.

Published in Midland Reporter-Telegram on Apr. 7, 2013