Robert Gordon Reinel went to be with his Lord and Savior on Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, following a brief battle with cancer at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo.
Gordon was born Nov. 16, 1936, in Detroit, to John and J. Chrystal (Gordon) Reinel, who preceded him in death.
As a young boy, he resided in Grosse Pointe Farms. His adolescence and teen years were spent in Warrenville, Ill., where he graduated from Wheaton High School in 1954. His post-secondary education was completed at Kalamazoo College, Northern Illinois University, Western Michigan University and the University of Michigan. He obtained a bachelor of science degree with a double major in math and physics. Following graduation, he taught chemistry and physics at Three Rivers High School from 1959 to 1965. During this time, he worked on his master’s degree in guidance and counseling, which he completed and also obtained certification as a school social worker. He was employed by St. Joseph County Intermediate School District as a school social worker until his retirement in 1993. He was named Michigan School Social Worker of the Year in 1983.
On Aug. 15, 1964, he was united in marriage to Cheryl Ann Belding at Trinity Lutheran Church in Kalamazoo. He and Cheryl raised their two children, Erika and Bruce, in Sturgis. They resided there until their return to Kalamazoo in 1993. Gordon was a lifelong car enthusiast, skilled baker and chef, enjoyed gardening and yard work, traveling, and was an active lifelong church member. He was especially proud of his Scottish heritage and being “Papa” to his three grandchildren. Family and friends will remember him for his kindheartedness, his incredible memory, his generosity, and his homemade baked goods … especially the groundhog cookies he delivered on Groundhog Day each year.
He is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, Cheryl of Scotts; his daughter, Erika (James) Wattrick of West Chester, Ohio; and three grandchildren, Adam, Katharine and Grant Wattrick, all of West Chester, Ohio. He also is survived by three nieces, Susan (David) Pauley of San Diego, Julie (Dan) Dodge of Climax and Pamela (Todd) Rothi of Bristol, Ind.; a nephew, Steven (Linda) Reinel of West Chester, Ohio; sisters-in-law, Carol Reinel of West Chester, Ohio, and Mona (William) Hutchins of Climax.
He was preceded in death by a son, Bruce Gordon Reinel; a twin brother, John E. Reinel; and a nephew, Geoffrey Scott Hutchins.
A memorial service celebrating Gordon’s life will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 7, 2012, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 504 S. Westnedge Ave. in Kalamazoo. A visitation will immediately precede the service, beginning at 11 a.m. Memorials may be directed to Loaves and Fishes of Kalamazoo, Trinity Lutheran Church, or Hospice of Southwest Michigan. Private interment of ashes will take place at a later date at Bronswood Cemetery in Oakbrook, Ill.
Arrangements by the Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Memorial Chapel, 622 S. Burdick St. Please visit www.langelands.com for online obituary, directions, register book and condolences. Phone: (269) 343-1508.