Amherst Magazine

John Frederick Reichert IV
John Frederick Reichert IV

John Reichert '57 succumbed to Alzheimer's at the Prospect Nursing Home near his home in Williamstown on August 4, 2004. He was sixty- nine.

He is survived by his wife, Judy, whom he married June 15, 1959; daughters Emily Segal of Valhalla, NY, and Nancy Pelmas of North Redding, MA, son, Daniel of Studio City, CA, and six grandchildren.

Before this cruel disease veiled his life - he was diagnosed about seven years ago - John enjoyed an unusually successful career in academe. After graduation from Amherst he taught at The Loomis School before getting his PhD at Stanford in 1962. Then he taught for six years at the Univ. of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He was appointed at Williams in 1968 where he was a professor of English literature, chair of his department, dean of the faculty and, in 1991, acting president of the college. In 1993-95 he was director of the Williams-Oxford program where the director's residence was later named after him.

A service celebrating John's life, held August 18 at the Williams Chapel, was attended by a large crowd of family, friends, colleagues, and admirers. The recurring themes of the words spoken in his remembrance were his generosity and thoughtfulness, his humor, integrity and warmth.

I remember John as an undergraduate when the strengths that were to blossom into his later achievements were already manifest. His wit, his intelligence, poise and, above all, his compassion effected a benign, effortless command over all of us who knew him. Even then he was a wise teacher and mentor. I vividly recall his laugh, his voice, his calm delivery, his gait, his enthusiasms - all those details that defined his gracious presence. We respected him. We sought his counsel. We relished his company.

He, with his roommate and close friend, Bob "Father" Ward, were towering personalities in Chi Psi and our Class. Both gone now, they are sorely missed.

-George Todd  '57

 

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