Dale Reichert, 75, of Amherst, passed away after a brief illness Tuesday, December 3, 2013, at Mercy New Life Hospice of St. Joseph. Born March 1, 1938 in Lorain, Dale lived in either Lorain or Amherst his entire life.
He was one of the most storied athletes in Lorain County history. Reichert was one of the captains of the 1955-56 Lorain High Steelmen basketball team which won the first ever Buckeye Conference Championship in that sport. He also excelled for the Steelmen baseball team, who also were Buckeye Conference champs his senior year.
After graduating from Lorain High School in 1956, he attended Kent State University on a baseball and basketball scholarship. After his sophomore season at KSU, he signed as a “bonus baby” for $24,000 to play baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he hit 53 home runs in the course of three minor league seasons, while being named the Midwest League Rookie of the Year and MVP in his first season. Following successful minor league stops in Kokomo, Indiana, Salem, Oregon, Green Bay, Wisconsin and Great Falls, Montana, he decided to return to Kent State.
After returning to Kent State to complete his Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education Degree, and in later years, his Master’s, Reichert became a health and physical education teacher and coach for the Lorain City Schools. He coached several sports, including football, cross-country and golf, first at Longfellow Junior High, and then at the original Lorain High School, but was best known for coaching basketball. Over a 23-year career as head boy’s basketball coach at his alma mater, he won 286 games, and is the winningest coach of any sport in the school’s long history. He was named Buckeye Conference Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year in 1987, and was the Associated Press Northeastern Ohio High School Basketball Coach of the Year in 1989.
Reichert is a three-time Lorain Sports Hall of Fame inductee. He was inducted as an individual into the LSHOF in 1979. He and his 1955-56 Buckeye Conference basketball team was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2011, he and the other members of his 1987 Steelmen Basketball Team (that won the last Buckeye Conference title) were also inducted into the LSHOF.
Reichert was an avid Cleveland sports fan, especially when it came to his beloved Cleveland Indians. He rarely missed a game on the radio or on television. Throughout his lifetime, he also enjoyed golfing, fishing, jogging/walking, sitting in the sun, Lakeview Park suppers with his wife, Nancy, doing crossword puzzles and spending time with his family and close friends. After retiring from teaching in 1991, Reichert worked for Zilch Florist for 16 years as a delivery man.
Dale was preceded in death by his parents, Melvin and Martha Reichert (nee Moir); his first wife, Marianne (nee Miller); his aunt and uncle, Walter and Margaret Friese; his uncle, James Moir, and aunt, Billie Moir.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy (nee DeVinitz); a son, David (Jonathan) Reichert, of Lakewood; two daughters, Dana (Steve) Zabrecky of Elyria, and Lacey Reichert, of Amherst; sister, Jane Kapp (nee Reichert) of Columbus; brother, James (Donna) Reichert of Amherst; and several nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends Friday, December 6, 2013, from 3 until 8 P.M., in the Dovin and Reber Jones Funeral & Cremation Center, 1110 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Amherst, where a service will be conducted by the Lorain Sports Hall of Fame at 7:45 P.M. Closing Prayers will be said Saturday, December 7, 2013, at 10:30 A.M., in the Funeral Center, followed by funeral service at 11 A.M., at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 200 St. Joseph Drive, Amherst. Reverend Father Lawrence Martello, Pastor, will officiate. Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery, Lorain.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to The Dale Reichert Family, which will then be disbursed to some of Dale’s favorite charities.