“He was so proud of me for following in his footsteps.”
By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
The community of Carlinville bid a heartfelt farewell to one of its cherished servicemen Mar. 29.
A large crowd of general public members, city officials and law enforcement officers gathered at Cross Church to pay their respects for Ronnie Joe Reiher, who had peacefully passed away at age 72 while surrounded by his family and friends.
Reiher was surrounded by that same family and friends on the day of his funeral, including his emotional yet grateful son – Macoupin County Sheriff Office Chief Deputy Quinn Reiher.
“He always treated everyone with the same respect, no matter their story,” Q. Reiher said as he thanked his father for raising him into the man he is today. “He was the one that never judged. He passed that trait on to my sisters [Danley and Carmen] and I.”
After serving in the Army National Guard (Springfield, IL) following his 1969 graduation from Carlinville High School, R. Reiher returned to the same place where he was born and raised to become a law enforcement official. He was hired by the Carlinville Police Department as a part-time officer in March 1975. He then was promoted to a full-time position two-and-a-half years later. Beginning in 1988, R. Reiher began a new career chapter as the Chief of Police. He maintained that particular job title for nine years and continued to serve until his retirement in 2011.
“He was so proud of me for following in his footsteps,” Q. Reiher said.
Throughout his tenure, “Ronnie always managed to keep his law enforcement brothers entertained and was able to make anyone laugh,” per his obituary. The write-up additionally claims that “he never knew a stranger.”
“My father simply had a way with everyone he came in contact with,” Q. Reiher said. “If he didn’t know them prior, they remembered him when he left.”
Throughout his adult life, R. Reiher would always ecstatically anticipate the spring and harvest seasons as the owner of a family farm, located south of town. He adored spending quality time with his best friend, Denny Joe Bouillon and loved cooking his famous fish sandwiches at the county fair alongside his son.
R. Rieher also drove an ambulance for the city when he was able.
“When anyone needed a hand, my father was there,” Q. Reiher said. “His heart was so big for Carlinville and its residents.”
At the conclusion of the funeral service, police officers led an honorable escort through town before everyone made their way to R. Reiher’s resting place at Mayfield Memorial Park Cemetery.
“We wanted to give our father the send-off he deserved,” Q. Reiher said. “The community truly did its part and made his burial amazing. Although it was very hard on us, it was beautiful to see Carlinville come together for him. It meant a lot.”