Marrying into the Reiner Family

Created by cathymaris 6 years ago
I first met John and Julie when I was 19 and dating Dave in college. Long before Dave and I married, the Reiners welcomed me into their family as if I were their daughter. John always took such an interest in my life, my opinions, my future and my happiness. He had such an enthusiasm for life and for the world as a whole. He was knowledgeable about so many different things from U.S. history to gardening to financial matters to ice cream making and much, much more. If I asked his opinion, he would generously share his expertise in the kindest, humblest, heartiest way. The summer Dave and I moved from California to North Carolina, John flew out west and helped us drive across the country. We got walkie talkies so that we could communicate between cars. As we drove across the Great Plains, John's voice came over the walkie talkie for hours at a time, regaling us with the history of the Native American tribes and settlers that used to live there. After one particularly long story, he paused to take a breath. A trucker with a deep voice chimed in: "Thanks for sharing." John laughed and laughed about that. More than anything, I will always remember John's positive spirit. He laughed and smiled so readily and so genuinely. He had an optimistic outlook about people and life and about his own health challenges, which were many. John was a man who had to bear more physical suffering than almost anyone I have known. And yet he stayed positive and in love with life until the very end. In one of our last conversations, John was in the hospital with yet another infection. He was worn out and I'm sure he was miserable. But, we talked for more than an hour about the plots of various Elmore Leonard books he'd been reading and he enthused about how great they were and how much he thought I'd like them. John worked especially hard to stay positive with Dave and with me, clearly wanting to shield us from worry and distress. Above all, John loved the people in his life. He put his friends and family first--Dave, Julie (both of whom he was devoted to), his beloved brothers and sisters, and his nieces and nephews. He would do anything to make their lives better. John wanted and needed so little to be happy and gave so much joy and happiness just by being here. I will always miss John and be grateful that I knew him for more than 25 years. His life and presence were a gift to me and to everyone he knew. I will strive to live his example of joy, optimism, enthusiasm, kindness and strength.