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John Reitz, 52

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Naval officer Lt. Cmdr. John Otto Reitz died Sept. 13, 2008 in Seattle after receiving a liver transplant. He was 52.

He was born on Oct. 3, 1955 in Madang, New Guinea to missionaries Gerhard and Jean Reitz. Service to others was instilled in him from the start. After several years at school in Brisbane, Australia, he moved to the United States and graduated from high school in American Falls, Idaho. Dubuque, Iowa was his next stop; a place where he earned his undergraduate degree in airport management, secured his pilot’s license, played collegiate rugby and became an ordained Lutheran minister after completing the Masters of Divinity program at Wartburg Theological Seminary.

Mr. Reitz entered the mission field and served the congregation of St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Shreveport, La.

With courage, Mr. Reitz served his country as a naval officer for 20 years and walked beside our servicemen and women at various duty stations including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Camp LeJeune, N.C.; Naval Hospital Bremerton; CREDO Pacific Northwest; and Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. He also was deployed aboard the USS Roanoke, USS Camden and USS Carl Vinson, and earned his wings with the 2nd Force Recon Radio Company. During his military tenure, he also earned a second master’s degree in international relations from the Naval War College. He had initiated plans for retirement and was ready to take on a new role as a hospital chaplain for military veterans.

Mr. Reitz is survived by his wife of 30 years Peggy; children Ian and Ivy; brother Philip; sisters Heidi, Gretchen and Ingrid; and their respective families.

A celebration of life is at 11 a.m. today at Christ Lutheran Church in Belfair. A memorial service also is planned for noon Wed., Sept. 24 at Jackson Park Navy Chapel in Bremerton.

Memorial donations can be made to the American Liver Foundation at www.liverfoundation.org.

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