FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. - Dr. John S. Reach, 96, died peacefully Sunday (July 28, 2013) at the Stuart F. Meyer Hospice House in Flagler Beach after a brief illness.
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He was the middle child of seven born to Nicholas Reach and Annetta Minneci Reach. Dr. Reach was born Jan. 27, 1917, in Salamanca, N.Y., and graduated from Salamanca High School in 1935.
After graduation, he worked on the Erie Railroad. In 1936, he headed to New York City, where he received his registered nursing degree from Bellevue Hospital. He then attended New York University during the day while working as an RN at night, and he graduated with a pre-med Bachelor of Science degree. In 1943, he took a break in his education to serve as an evacuation nurse in Canada with the War Department. Dr. Reach returned to New York City and graduated in 1950 from New York Medical College, Flower and Fifth Avenue hospitals, in general medicine.
While in New York City, he met and married Marie A. Kukon and began raising a family. After completing his residency at Kings County Hospital, John and Marie moved their young family to Olean, N.Y., in 1952. He was fortunate to take over the medical practice of retiring Dr. Wintermantel and practiced general and family medicine for more than 30 years. During this time, he was closely affiliated with both St. Francis and Olean General hospitals.
Dr. Reach always spoke warmly of the wonderful and close working relationships he established with the doctors, nurses and staff. Many of his patients remember the house calls he made at any time of the day or night and the emergency visits to his home when his office was closed.
Dr. Reach became a fixture in Olean and the surrounding area. He was the medical doctor for the Olean Public School System and the director of medical Services at St. Bonaventure University and Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, N.Y. He attended every home Olean High School football and basketball game as well as all the home basketball games for his beloved Bonnies. Dr. Reach was a parishioner of St. Mary of the Angels Church in Olean; a fourth-degree member of the Knights of Columbus; and a member of many professional societies, including the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Cattaraugus County Medical Society.
Dr. Reach was very proud of his relationship with the Franciscan community, beginning with his affiliation with Christ the King Seminary. His service was recognized when he was received into the Third Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans: OFM), the highest honor bestowed on a layperson for service, according to the tenets of Saint Francis of Assisi.
In 1985, John and Marie retired to Lake Monticello, Va., where they enjoyed visits from their children and grandchildren, boating on the lake, gardening and traveling the world. After Marie's death, he moved permanently to Flagler Beach and became a member of St. Brendan's Church in Ormond Beach. His annual sojourns to wonderful places in the world continued until 2009, when his children clipped his wings and grounded him. But John was always busy with Monday night poker, Tuesday golf, Thursday golf, Friday maybe golf, Saturday Mass and dinner, and Sunday sports on TV. He was a die-hard New York Yankees and New York Giants fan and would not miss a PGA event on TV. "Doc" had countless friends at the Halifax Plantation Golf Club, where he became a celebrity, especially when he would "shoot his age."
Dr. Reach is survived by his son, John (Lesley) Reach of Newark, Del.; his two daughters, Judith (Frederick) Condit of Fairfield, Conn., and Janet (Timothy) Graham of Houston; four grandchildren, Dr. John (Eileen) Reach of Guilford, Conn., Mark (Laurel) Reach of North Grafton, Mass., Frederick Condit and Catherine Condit of Fairfield, Conn.; three great-grandchildren, John, Evelyn and Luke Reach of Guilford; his sister, Florence Carry of Jacksonville, Texas; and many nieces and nephews.
Dr. Reach is predeceased by his wife, Marie A. Reach. He always said that he would never have been successful without Marie at his side. For 50 years, they were partners in every sense of the word.
The family would like to acknowledge and thank Jean Riscavage for her companionship and loving care.
A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013, at St. Brendan's Church in Ormond Beach. A reception from 4 to 6 p.m. will follow at the Halifax Plantation Golf Club.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province, Office of Development, 144 W. 32nd St., New York, NY 10001-3202; or to the Florida Hospital Hospice Care, 770 W. Granada Blvd., Suite 304, Ormond Beach, FL 32174.
Published in The Olean Times Herald on Aug. 5, 2013