Thomas “Tom” “Mike” John Reimensnyder, 89, of Market Street, Mifflinburg died peacefully at home on March 6, 2022. Born in the old Evangelical Hospital, Lewisburg, on June 15, 1932, he was the son of the late Thomas Milton Reimensnyder and Emilie Eleanor (Williams) Reimensnyder, formerly of Hepburn Street Milton.
On July 18, 1954, he married the former Margaret “Peggy” Hines, and celebrated 66 years of marriage, prior to her passing in November 2020. They split their years between Mifflinburg (summers) and Levittown (school years). And retired back to this area in 1992.
He is survived by three daughters: Laurene (Jack) Frederick of Levittown; Carol Oberlin of Mifflinburg; Kathleen Reimensnyder-Wagner of Mifflinburg; and his “Cheer Team” Tim & Sammi, the rescue dog. He also cherished his grandchildren: Sonseeahray Frederick (Josh Kells), Katie Koons (Sherman) Heaster, Jacob (JD) Koons, Autumn Oberlin (Andrew) Faust and Kelly Oberlin (David) Kazibwe. He was preceded in death by one grandson, John Thomas Frederick in October 2020. He is also survived by seven great-grandchildren, Ryker Koons, Hadley Heaster, Max Heaster, Sadie Faust, Molly Faust, Cato Kazibwe and Cora Kazibwe. In addition, he leaves behind many others dear to his heart.
He is also survived by one uncle, Frederick Reimensnyder of Maine, and numerous nieces and nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his sister, Patricia Minchin, in February of 2021.
Tom (or “Mike” as he was sometimes nicknamed during his childhood years in Milton), graduated from Milton High School in 1950. He lettered in basketball, football, baseball, and band, playing trombone. He graduated from Bloomsburg University in 1957 with a degree in Social Studies, using the Korean G.I. Bill of Rights. He attended 12 different institutions of higher learning in pursuing a doctoral level of 7 ½ years of higher learning. At the College of New Jersey, he received a Master's Degree in Special Education and later was certified in administration and guidance counseling. A list of some of the other schools that he attended are Bucknell, Temple, and Penn State Universities; the University of Pittsburgh; Bucks County Community College; and Susquehanna University where he was proud to play as wide receiver for the “Grand Old Man of Football,” Amos Alonzo Stagg (the number one coach in the nation at that time).
He also attended the National Fire Academy at Emmitsburg, Maryland and taught fire school for many classes. He was Oxford Valley Station Chief for William Penn Fire Company (Levittown/Hulmeville, PA) and Fairless Hills Fire Company Chief (Fairless Hills, PA). He ran ambulance with Mifflinburg Hose Company and was also proud to be a firefighter and fire policeman for many years there.
Tom was a veteran of the Korean War, serving with the First Marine Division where his decorations included the American Spirit of Honor Medal, Purple Heart, two Presidential Unit Citations (one from President Eisenhower and one from the President of South Korea, Syngman Rhee), Combat Action Ribbon, Korean Service Ribbon with four battle stars, Asiatic Occupational Ribbon, United Nations Ribbon, American National Defense Ribbon, and Good Conduct Medal. In recent years, he also received a Lifetime Community Service award at Norfolk, VA, awarded by a General of the First Marine Division, for years of service to this nation.
He was proud to be involved in the Marine Corp League, having served in numerous capacities. His dedication continued, honored to be a member of the military funeral detail, providing full military honors to all veterans in the region. He always had a harmonica in his pocket and would be known for playing “TAPS,” if a bugler was not available. He also played a tear-filled TAPS above the Arizona ship in Hawaii as a meaningful tribute to all the lives lost there, bringing Japanese and American tourists together.
Tom was moved each year in July at Cape May, NJ, to be included by the Hume family, to assist in the military flag dedication ceremony which took place each summer evening at Sunset Beach. It was there that he forged so many military connection friendships and met such wonderful families.
Tom had many Masonic Affiliations, holding numerous offices. Organizations included:
Milton Lodge#256, Milton Royal Arch Chapter #298; Vallerchamp Council #25; Mount Herman Commander; Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor; PA York Rite Sovereign College of North America #11; Robert L. Rooke Chapter #343 Allied Masonic Degree in Lewisburg; Honorary Member of Trinity Chapel #12 St. Thomas of Acon; Member of Pilgrim Chapel #11 St. Thomas of Acon; Provincial Grant Banner Bearer for St. Thomas Of Acon; Tall Cedars of Lebanon Sunbury Forest #65; Erin Council #6 Knight Mason In Harrisburg; Grand College of Rites of the USA; The Philalethes Society; Ye Ancient Order of Corks; Order of the Thistle; Royal Order of the Rock; Order of the Palm and Shell; Pitman Masonic Club - 34th Degree; Shrine Irem Temple' Sunbury Shrine Club; Shrine Hospital Volunteer Driver; Royal Ark Mariners; Academy of Masonic Knowledge Charter Member; PA Lodge of Research, F & AM Charter Member; Royal Order of Scotland; Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Valley of Williamsport.
Awards included: 33rd degree, Illustrious Master, Worshipful Master, High Priest, Knights Templar Cross of Honor, Illustrious Knight of the Triangle, Knight York Cross of Honor, Past Sovereign Prince, Meritorious Service Award and many more.
One of his favorite community committees on which he served was with the Union County, Fourth of July group of friends. A committee member from nearly the beginning, he enjoyed the camaraderie as much as the planning and continued throughout the years to credit regional organizations, especially Country Cupboard, for all they gave in support of this community when asked for donations. He was honored to do his “small” part. Tom also was involved with planning the Cavalcade of Champions each year. One of his favorite events was also the USO Show, which was held each year following the parade, at which he would often test out his acting chops to be part of its variety show. It was a throwback to his acting days “off Broadway” when he played the Tin Man in the “Wizard of Oz.”
He was a true supporter of his family's activities early on with his girls, and then onto his grandchildren...an avid fan/cheerleader of all sports, having once donned the Mifflinburg Wildcat mascot costume to inspire school spirit while climbing up through the stands and driving around on a four-wheeler. He was so proud to be named Parade Marshall for the Mifflinburg Homecoming Parade. The Mifflinburg hockey team awarded him its “Number One Fan” award, as his bold voice surely could be heard cheering for the hockey team each and every season. And as a grandson recalls, he will always remember his Papa cheering loudly in support of him completing a good play. He enjoyed combining his Security Guard role with that of the ultimate inspirer from the sidelines.
Tom was not a stranger to practical jokes – with him on the giving AND receiving end! His family and friends remember flyswatters used to direct traffic, a Volkswagen carried to move to a different location filled with hubcaps stuffed with corn kernels...and many “for sale” signs in the yard, when his home was NOT for sale. Humor was always a part of life. Making “pretty authentic” animal sounds was something he tried to perfect to his giggling family members and audiences. And wearing a grass skirt to make others smile just fed that love for entertaining even more. And he often teased his grandchildren by saying, “When I played for the Yankees...” that always brought a smile.
In realizing the importance of a person's beginnings, his “roots” of those who helped mentor him were always precious to him. Years ago, Tom (known then as “Mike”) was part-time employee at Small's Greenhouse, Best Furniture Store, Rea and Derrick's Drug Store at the Snack Bar and Lewey Bronstein's Clothing Store, all located in Milton. He often spoke about these early jobs since it taught him responsibility and hard work at an early age. And prior to that, during the WW2 era, he was proud to collect tin cans to help with the war effort. Community responsibility was made apparent by all the efforts that came before him through his family.
Tom taught school in Trenton, New Jersey for 35 years before retiring in 1992. He taught at Grice Middle School, Grice Junior High School and Hamilton High School. He also coached basketball, football and baseball. He was the Social Study Department Chairman before becoming a Guidance Counselor. He and his “Salt & Pepper” sidekick/co-worker/dear friend were thrilled to co-counsel young people to help them become better human beings. He was past Vice President of the New Jersey Personnel & Guidance Association, Past President of the Hamilton P&G Association. During those early teaching years and raising a family, he was a lifeguard at the Trenton Country Club during summers to make extra money and enjoyed “clown diving” for special aquatic shows there.
Tom was a member of the St. John's United Church of Christ, Mifflinburg. Prior to that, he was a member of Emilie Methodist Church, Levittown and Trinity Lutheran Church, Milton. Most recently, family friend and pastor, Timothy Hogan-Palazzo assisted in his spiritual journey.
Family and friends are welcome to a time of visitation from noon to 2 p.m., Saturday, May 21, 2022, at the Christ United Lutheran Church,13765 Old Turnpike Rd, Millmont, where a Life Celebration service will be conducted at 2, with Rev. Timothy Hogan-Palazzo, officiating.
Burial will be in the Mifflinburg Cemetery, where military honors will be accorded by American Legion Post 410 and VFW Post 1964, both of Mifflinburg.
In lieu of flowers, Tom asks that donations be made to the Mifflinburg Hose Company (Mifflinburg, PA), William Penn Fire Company (Hulmeville, PA), Mifflinburg Legion Post #410 Honor Guard, Mifflinburg Athletics (Mifflinburg Area School District) or any organization of your choice. But most of all, he would want people to remember to tell those around them, “You Made My Day! Thank you!”
Funeral arrangements are by Roupp Funeral Home, Inc., 8594 Old Turnpike Rd., Mifflinburg.
Leave your condolences online at www.rouppfuneralhome.com.