Published 12:00 am Monday, February 1, 2010
Francis Lawrence Reiffenberger, 87, of Austin, died Saturday, Jan. 30, 2009 at Comforcare, where he had been a resident since late July.
“Reiffy” was born Dec. 6, 1922 in Gaza, Iowa, the middle child of Fred and Amanda (Schueder) Reiffenberger. He grew up on a farm near there and attended country school. Later his family moved Hartley, Iowa, where in 1941 he graduated from high school. During high school, he was captain of basketball and football teams. He attended Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, Iowa but was drafted into service during WWII on May 14, 1943. He went into the Air Force and then into the Army. He was a Corporal in the 18th Tank Battalion, 8th Armored Division. Reiffy fought in the Battle of the Bulge, the Battle of Berlin and the Hartz Mountains Campaigns.
On Sept. 1, 1946, he married Naomi Jean Miller at the Methodist Church in Hartley, Iowa. Reiffy started working for the Red Owl in 1948. In 1950, he was recalled into the Army Reserves for the Korean War. He moved his family to Austin in 1954, where he was the Meat Manager for the Red Owl. He later became a Meat Merchandiser for them. After 37 years, he retired and from 1984 to 2001 he traveled three states as the owner of “Reiffy’s Razor Repair.”
Reiffy loved his family. He was always willing to do child care and drove many miles to attend his grandchildren’s activities. He was a wonderful cook and enjoyed making homemade candy for the holidays. He indulged his passion for vegetable gardening by having four plots at the city garden for the past 30 years. He also loved to dance, liked to walk, and was an avid volunteer. Reiffy was on the Austin School Board for 12 years and served as a clerk. It was during his terms that the board acquired the land for what is now Riverland Community College and the college was moved out of the high school where it was originally started. Reiffy was a longtime member and also served as President of the Austin Activity Center for Retarded Citizens, the precursor to today’s ARC. He was on the Parenting Research Center for many years. He was active at church and served on many boards and committees.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Naomi, Austin; daughter, Lynn (Steven) Price, Brooklyn Park; grandson, David Price, Coon Rapids; granddaughter, Rebecca Price, Plymouth; many nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents; beloved son, David Reiffenberger; two sisters, Lois Thomas and Bernice Stearns.
A gathering to celebrate the life of Francis Reiffenberger will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010 at the First United Methodist Church with the Rev. Dennis Tamke officiating. Friends may call from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Mayer Funeral Home and also one half hour before the service at the church on Wednesday. There will be no reviewal at the church. Interment will be in Oakwood Cemetery with military rites by American Legion Post #91.
Mayer Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.