Harry Francis REINERT Jr.
21 May, 1929 – 15 May, 2020
Harry F Reinert Jr passed away May 15, 2020, one week shy of his 91st birthday, after a year-long battle with cancer. His oldest son, Harry III, and step-daughter Laura were at his bedside when he died peacefully after declaring “Let’s get on with this.”
Harry was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas on May 21, 1929 to Harry Reinert Sr. of Wisconsin and Juanita Pearl Barnes of Hot Springs.
Harry enlisted in the Army in 1946, after graduating from high school and was posted to the Army’s 298th Band in Berlin. Harry’s sojourn in Berlin lasted only five months because his mother, whose health had been failing for several years, took a turn for the worse. He returned home on an emergency furlough, but not before his mother died. Harry spent the remainder of his Army service at Ft. Sam Houston.
Harry enrolled at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale Illinois in the fall of 1948. He started as a journalism student, but transitioned into philosophy halfway through his time at SIU, becoming the Philosophy Department's first major and first graduate. SIU is also where Harry met Rosalie Nulty, whom he married in December 1949. In the fall of 1951, Harry and Rosalie moved to Atlanta where Harry had been accepted into the graduate program at Emory University and one year later they moved to Seattle so he could pursue his Doctorate at the University of Washington. With them was their first child, Harry III.
Unfortunately, Harry’s tenure at the UW ended without a PhD. Harry’s emphasis was on the Greek and Medieval philosophers, while academia in general, and the UW in particular, was turning to contemporary philosophy. When a new department chairman was appointed, Harry’s path forward was doomed. He took the advice of one of his professors and decided to become a high school teacher. In 1957, he began his 30 year career at Edmonds High School.
At Edmonds High School Harry found his element. As a child, in the army and in college he had enjoyed performing in public and teaching came naturally to him. And it didn’t hurt that Harry genuinely liked his students. Over the years he taught English, Journalism, Latin and German. He had high standards and expected a lot from his students, but he also wanted them to have fun and did everything he could to make learning enjoyable. Many former students stayed in touch with him over the years.
Harry was never satisfied with the status quo and was always testing limits. In the army, he had his small rebellions – a tarnished belt buckle or scuffed shoes – that held back his promotion. In the classroom, he thought he could improve on the Latin textbooks, so he wrote his own which he persuaded the Edmonds School District to print. He came to the same conclusion about available German textbooks. He wrote his own which AMSCO published in 1971. He also had an insight into how students learn, recognizing that different students learn best in different ways. Using each student’s learning styles, he tailored lessons to his or her strengths, and in the early ‘70s developed ELSIE (Edmonds Learning Styles Identification Exercise), which received both national and international recognition, including translation into multiple languages.
Harry and Rosalie had four more sons from 1956 through 1967, Tom, Ted, Andrew and Rick, but then separated and divorced in 1969.
Harry did not take easily to single life. Through a fortunate circumstance of mutual acquaintance he met MaryAnne Porter whom he married on Halloween of 1969. This whirlwind romance turned into a marriage that lasted for 44 years, until MaryAnne’s death in July of 2013. Harry and MaryAnne set up house in Seattle’s Wedgewood neighborhood and the following summer they had their son Lionel.
Harry’s marriage to MaryAnne brought an extended family. Harry was an only child and he and Rosalie had moved about as far from her family as was possible. MaryAnne had siblings with children and her parents also lived close by. As he became a part of her family, he wanted to know more about his own family. This led him to discover he had distant cousins that he had not known of and to a family history memoir that he distributed to his children.
Having settled into his career as a high-school teacher, Harry became drawn to outdoor activities like camping and fishing in the summer and downhill skiing in the winter. Among fly-fishing aficionados, Harry's dad had been well known for his hand-crafted bamboo fly-fishing rods and Harry had inherited some of his equipment. Freshwater angling became a way to connect with the past while engaging with friends and family. He regularly expressed his gratitude for having landed in the Pacific Northwest.
One pastime that tied his interests and experiences together like no other was Barbershop singing. Barbershop combined his love for music, performance and camaraderie. Following a short stint with the Seattle SeaChordsmen in the late ‘70s, he transferred to the Sno-King chorus where he went on to become choir director by the mid ‘80s, putting on local variety shows and travelling to competitions near and far, many of which also included camping.
Not long before he retired from teaching, Harry joined the staff of the Edmonds Paper, fulfilling his college dream of becoming a newspaper reporter. When Harry retired from teaching in 1988, he and MaryAnne moved to Vashon Island, where in her youth she’d spent summers at her family’s cabin, and where her father had also retired. They both became involved in Vashon Island life and Harry reengaged in another of his childhood passions – photography.
Following MaryAnne’s death he moved to West Seattle. He reconnected with some members of the 298th Band and edited a book on the band's history that was published in 2014, the same summer he made his last visit to Berlin. Around this time, Harry's eyesight started deteriorating and he had increasing difficulty doing even simple things like answering emails or reading. When he discovered the wonders of Talking Books, his world opened up again and he would spend hours each day “reading”.
As with any parent, Harry embarrassed his children at times. He was a kind person who had a love of life, a “real talent” for it as he would say. He threw himself passionately into new adventures and interests and enjoyed exploring new ideas. And he was never afraid to admit to his mistakes. Perhaps the defining aspect of Harry’s character was his unrelenting optimism.
Harry is survived by his sons Harry III, Tom, Ted, Andrew, Rick and Lionel, his step-daughters Laura and Ruth, five grand-children Heather, Kevin, Jeanette, Madelyne and Nickolas, and four great-grandchildren Gary, Iris, Levi, and Benjamin. Harry asked that his ashes be scattered near a favorite fishing spot along Icicle Creek near Leavenworth, where he and MaryAnne spent many enjoyable vacations. Donations in Harry’s name can be made to KNKX-FM, the station he was listening to when he passed away.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Harry Francis REINERT Jr.
16 June 2020
I have fond memories of night skiing at Snoqualmie Pass with Laura and Harry. Riding up in the Valliant. Harry smoking his pipe. On arrival, he would excuse himself from us teenage girls to conquer the slopes on his own. Then, on the trip back home, he would tell us of all the intesting people he had met on the chairlift rides. Harry certainly had a gift in his ability to communicate. I'm glad that I had those times with him.
Tanya Harding Boyd
15 June 2020
I have fond memories of Mr. Reinert’s Latin class at Edmonds HS. He was a wonderful teacher.
Mary Bruce Haunreiter
15 June 2020
Mr. Reinert was my favorite teacher at Edmonds High School. He made learning Latin fun and I also credit him with increasing my skills in English. Rest well, Mr. Reinert!
15 June 2020
Harry, was my teacher in 1980 I will always remember his green sweater he love to wear. He left an impression on me and I remember his class. We were a rowdy bunch and made teaching tough, and for this I’m sorry. He never gave up on us! I wish I would have known about his love of fishing. I would have meet you on the water somewhere. Until we meet again, rest in his glory 🙏
15 June 2020
Harry was an active Methodist on Vashon. He sang in the choir and he always offered his opinions and observations at our men’s meetings over coffee. We visited him when he was in the Brookdale Residential Center in West Seattle.
Harry brought Mary Anne’s ashes to be scattered in the Sound in front of our parent’s home. The problem was we couldn’t open the package. Later he scattered the ashes from a boat. He was so thoughtful and followed Mary Anne’s wishes.
Harry brought his Men’s signing group from Seattle to the Senior Center on Vashon and they were great.
He was my treasured brother in law.
14 June 2020
To the Reinert family and my best friend Lionel I’m so very sorry for your loss.
I will always remember and cherish Harry as a great person who left a lasting impression in my life.
With many wonderful memories from the many hours in his study room area at his desk which I always felt he was in deep thought which he was probably grading papers now I look back on it. Ha Ha
The smell of Pipe Tobacco, Camping in Belfair in the Winnebago for Barbershop events, fishing , skiing with your dad which was my first time ever, photography interests that carried over to high school for us. Mopeds not bicycles cause the bicycles we wanted cost just as much as moped so why peddle.
His music influences as we both played Clarinets instead of Saxophone In 7th grade to start, or having him paint the mighty 62 Valiant with roller and house paint to make it one color which was our high school road rig.
But for sure I must say to know more about some of Harry’s past from this email only further enhances my belief that not only am I glad to have my friendship growing up with my best bud Lionel, it also reminds me how much Harry touched my life for me growing up and being around the family quite a bit.
For these life long memories, teachings, and treasured moments I’m forever grateful that a day long long ago our paths crossed Lionel when we were little kids and we became friends which allowed me to share what I think was a great time in my life growing up with your dad.
So I say Thank You Harry for the memories and may you Rest In Peace.
31 May 2020
Harry lived next door to my family and me when we first moved to Seattle July 1970. A good memory is his nice harmonized music . Thank you, Harry.
25 May 2020
Lionel, Laura and Ruth; I am very sorry for your loss. Uncle Harry was the epitome of what a gentleman should be. I will always remember the smell of his pipe and listening to him, my dad and Uncle Bob debate the events of the day. 😪😪😪