Friday, May 31, 2019
11:00 AM EDT
Faith United Methodist Church
2600 Seventh St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, John Jeffery “Jeff” Reinke was a blessing in the lives of so many around him. He was kind and respectful toward all people with an insatiable zest for life that was contagious to all who were near. A family man through and through. Jeff was so proud to witness his family tree blossom to include the grandchildren he adored. Although he worked hard, he took the time to enjoy life along the way, often with the ones he loved most by his side. Life will never be the same without Jeff here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
After the end of WWII in 1945, there was dancing in the streets with much to celebrate. With the days of the Great Depression and the struggles of war behind us, rationing was no longer in place and manufacturing could return to normal production. With countless young servicemen and women back home, the baby boom was underway as we were in the midst of transitioning to being a nation at peace once again. It was in the midst of this transitional time that John George and Nancy Joyce Kollman Reinke were experiencing a transitional time all their own as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named John Jeffery on June 28, 1949, in Oak Park, Illinois. The older of two, he was raised in the family home in Park Ridge, Illinois, alongside his brother, Rick. To support their family his father worked as a civil engineer while his mother was a busy homemaker.
From the time he was a young boy Jeff was active and busy. He attended Washington Elementary, Lincoln Jr. High, and Main South High School where he played basketball. Jeff had a love for sports throughout his life, especially when it came to the Chicago Cubs. In fact, he worked as an usher at Wrigley Field. He also worked as custodian on the summer custodian crew at Maine South High. It was while growing up that Jeff began playing the piano, and he never stopped. After graduating from high school in 1967, he attended Brown University, earning his bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics. Jeff later graduated from University of Michigan with an MBA in Operations Management.
Not to be forgotten during his years in school was Jeff’s introduction to the woman of his dreams. Her name was Kathleen Anne Metz, and they met while at Lincoln Jr. High. Their first date, and first kiss, took place on February 26, 1966, and they have been together ever since. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Jeff and Kathleen were married on June 13, 1970, at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Park Ridge. Following their reception at the Holiday Inn, the newlyweds took a honeymoon trip to Sarasota, Florida.
With his education behind him, Jeff found work with Kodak, Whirlpool, and American Seating before ending his career at National Heritage Academies. Throughout his career he focused on Information Technology and helped to utilize technology at a time when most companies were only beginning to understand its potential. Jeff also had a passion for teaching and taught college classes in probability and statistics at Davenport University, Indiana University South Bend, Central Michigan and Notre Dame. Jeff officially retired in 2013 but his passion for education continued as he volunteered weekly at Vanguard Charter Elementary in Wyoming, Michigan.
Jeff and Kathy were the proud parents of three boys. Justin was born in 1974, Jeremy in 1977, and Jesse in 1980. Jeff’s work kept them moving around a bit as they lived in Providence, Rhode Island, Rochester, New York, and South Bend, Indiana, which is where their boys all attended Clay High School. Jeff and Kathy moved to Grand Rapids in 1998 and have made it their home ever since. The family enjoyed vacations to New England, New York, California, and Colorado. They also did plenty of tent camping over the years. They had a summer home on Eagle Lake in Edwardsburg, Michigan, which is where so many of their precious family memories were made swimming, boating, skiing, tubing, and watching the best fireworks in the world. They also had a home on Siesta Key in Florida and spent many family vacations enjoying the beach. As their family grew to include grandchildren, Jeff couldn’t have been more thrilled. He and his wife often went to visit them in Nashville and South Bend and locally in Hudsonville. They especially enjoyed spending time with the grandchildren at the lake.
Throughout his life Jeff continued to keep busy. With his love for sports he volunteered for years as a coach at Chet Waggoner Little League. In addition to Cubs baseball, he also enjoyed MSU basketball and football, Bulls basketball, and pretty much any other sporting event he could find. A true sports fan, one of his favorite things to do was to listen to Cubs baseball on the radio while sitting on the porch at Eagle Lake, though he rarely made it through a game without a nap. Jeff enjoyed singing in the church choir and he loved dining out. His favorite restaurant was Captain Curt’s in Sarasota. Jeff loved classic rock and country music, and he and Kathy attended concerts by many of their favorite artists over the years.
All who knew Jeff Reinke would agree that he was one of the nicest people around. He lived a life of purpose, taking nothing for granted, and spreading his unique sense of humor to the world around him. Jeff was known as someone who was generous and loving, and his devotion to his family was unmatched. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed.
John Jeffery “Jeff” Reinke, aged 69, of Grand Rapids, passed away on Monday, May 27, 2019, at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital with his family at his side. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Kathleen Anne Reinke (Metz); his children, Justin (Lisa) Reinke, Jeremy (Cara) Reinke, Jesse (Amy) Reinke; his grandchildren, Will, Stephanie, Jack, Gus, Myles, Bode, Grace, Rose and John; brother Rick (Pat) Reinke; sisters-in-law and brother-in-law, Marilyn Fox, Bill Metz and Janelle Buchannan; many nieces, nephews and friends. Jeff was a kind and loving, husband, father, grandfather and a friend to all who knew him. He will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. A service to celebrate Jeff’s life will be held on Friday, May 31 at 11:00 am at Faith United Methodist Church, 2600 Seventh St. NW. Relatives and friends may meet his family on Thursday from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, and again at the church on Friday from 10:00 am until the service begins at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to American Heart Association or American Cancer Society. To read more about Jeff’s life, to sign his guest book and to leave your own memory of him visit his web page at heritagelifestory.com