Thomas J. Reimensnyder | Obituary


MIFFLINBURG – Thomas “Tom” “Mike” John Reimensnyder, 89, of Market Street, Mifflinburg, died peacefully at home on March 6, 2022. Born at the former Evangelical Lewisburg Hospital 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, before his passing in November 2020. They split their years between Mifflinburg (summers) and Levittown (school years). And retired to this region 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 and Sammi, the rescue dog. He also treasured his grandchildren: Sonseeahray Frederick (Josh Kells), Katie Koons (Sherman) Heaster, Jacob (JD) Koons, Autumn Oberlin (Andrew) Faust and Kelly Oberlin (David) Kazibwe. He was predeceased 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 other people dear to his heart.

He is also survived by an uncle, Frederick Reimensnyder of Maine, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He was predeceased by his sister, Patricia Minchin, in February 2021.

Tom (or “Mike” as he was sometimes nicknamed during his childhood years in Milton), graduated from Milton High School in 1950. He played basketball, football, baseball and band, playing the trombone. He graduated from Bloomsburg University in 1957 with a degree in social studies, using the Korean GI bill of rights. He attended 12 different institutions of higher education pursuing a 7.5 year doctorate of higher education. At the College of New Jersey, he earned a master’s degree in special education and later was certified in administration and guidance counselling. A list of some of the other schools 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 a catcher for “Football’s Big Old Man”, Amos Alonzo Stagg (the nation’s number one coach at the time).

He also attended the National Fire Academy in 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 an ambulance with Mifflinburg Hose Company and was also proud to be a firefighter and fire policeman there for many years.

Tom was a Korean War veteran, serving in the 1st 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). South, 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 in Norfolk, Va., from a general in the 1st Marine Division, for years of service to that nation.

He was proud to be involved with the Marine Corp League, having served in many capacities. His dedication continued, honored to be a member of the military funeral service, providing full military honors to all veterans in the area. He always had a harmonica in his pocket and would be known to play “TAPS”, if a bugle wasn’t available. He also played a tear-filled TAPS over the ship Arizona in Hawaii as a meaningful tribute to all the lives lost there, bringing together Japanese and American tourists.

Tom was moved every July to Cape May, NJ, to be included by the Hume family, to attend the military flag dedication ceremony that was held every summer evening at Sunset Beach. It was there that he made so many military friendships and met such wonderful families.

Tom had many Masonic affiliations, holding many offices. Organizations included:

Milton Lodge #256, Milton Royal Arch Chapter #298; Municipality of Vallerchamp #25; Commander of Mount Herman; Preceptor of the Sovereign Order of Knights; 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 d’Acon; Great Cedars of Lebanon Sunbury Forest #65; Council Erin #6 Knight Mason in Harrisburg; Great College of Rites of the United States; The Philalethes Society; Ye Ancient Order of Plugs; Order of the Thistle; Royal Order of the Rock; Order of the Palm and the Shell; Pitman Masonic Club – 34th degree; Irem Temple’ Sunbury Shrine Club; Volunteer driver at the Shrine Hospital; Royal Arch Sailors; Member of the Charter of the Academy of Masonic Knowledge; PA Lodge of Research, founding member F&AM; Royal Order of Scotland; Ancient Scottish Rite Accepted 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 he served on was with the Union County Friends Group, Fourth of July. A committee member from almost the beginning, he enjoyed the camaraderie as much as the planning and continued over the years to thank regional organizations, especially Country Cupboard, for all they gave to support this community when asked them for donations. He was honored to do his “small” part. Tom has also been involved in planning the Cavalcade of Champions each year. One of his favorite events was also the USO Show, which took place every year after the parade, during which he often tested his acting skills to be part of his variety show. It was a throwback to his “off Broadway” acting days when he played the Tin Man in the “Wizard of Oz.”

He was a true supporter of his family’s activities from the start with his daughters, then onto his grandchildren…an avid fan/cheerleader of all sports, having once donned the Mifflinburg Wildcat mascot costume for inspire school spirit while climbing through the bleachers and rolling around on a four-wheeler. He was so proud to be named Parade Marshall for the Mifflinburg Homecoming Parade. The Mifflinburg hockey team gave him their “Number One Fan” award because his bold voice could surely be heard cheering on the hockey team every season. And as one grandson recalls, he will always remember his dad cheering loudly to support him finishing a good piece. He liked to combine his role as a security guard with that of the ultimate inspiration on the sidelines.

Tom was no stranger to practical jokes – with him on the giving side AND on the receiving side! His family and friends remember fly swatters being used to direct traffic, a Volkswagen being hauled to move to another location filled with hubcaps filled with corn kernels…and numerous “for sale” signs in the yard, when his house was NOT for sale. Humor has always been part of life. Making “pretty authentic” animal sounds was something he was trying to perfect for his family members and audiences. And wearing a weed skirt to make others smile just fueled that love for entertainment even more. And he often teased his grandchildren by saying, “When I played for the Yankees…”, it always brought a smile.

Realizing the importance of a person’s beginnings, his “roots” from those who helped frame him have always been precious to him. Years ago, Tom (known then as “Mike”) was employed part-time 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 talked about those early jobs because it taught him responsibility and hard work from an early age. And before that, during World War II, he was proud to collect tin cans to help the war effort. The responsibility of the community was evidenced by all the efforts that preceded him through his family.

Tom taught 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 has also coached basketball, football and baseball. He served as chair of the social studies department before becoming a guidance counselor. He and his sidekick/colleague/dear friend “Salt & Pepper” were thrilled to co-counsel young people to help them become better human beings. He was past vice president of the New Jersey Personnel and Guidance Association, past president of the Hamilton P&G Association. During those early years of teaching and raising a family, he was a lifeguard at the Trenton Country Club during the summers to earn extra money and enjoyed “clown diving” for special water shows there. .

Tom was a member of St. John’s United Church of Christ, Mifflinburg. Prior to this he was a member of Emilia Methodist Church, Levittown and Trinity Lutheran Church, Milton. More recently, a family friend and pastor, Timothy Hogan-Palazzo, helped him on his spiritual journey.

A private Masonic service will be conducted this weekend. A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2022 (Armed Forces Day) at a location in the Mifflinburg area to be announced. Immediately after this May date there will be full military service at Mifflinburg Cemetery. More information to follow closer to the date.

In lieu of flowers, Tom requests that donations be made to the Mifflinburg Hose Company (Mifflinburg, PA), William Penn Fire Company (Hulmeville, PA), Mifflinburg Legion Post No. 410 Honor Guard, Mifflinburg Athletics (Mifflinburg Area School District) or any organization of your choice. But above all, he would like people to remember to say to those around them: “You Made My Day! Thank you!”

Funeral arrangements are by Roupp Funeral Home, Inc., 8594 Old Turnpike Road, Mifflinburg.

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