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Published: Saturday, 5/19/2001

Electric company founder was active in Bellevue Rotary

BELLEVUE, Ohio - Clifton E. Reitz, owner and founder of Clif Reitz Electric, Inc. here who was a past president of the Bellevue Rotary Club, died Thursday of apparent heart failure in Bellevue Care Center. He was 92.

He attended Bellevue High School and worked for his father, Ezra Reitz, who founded C.E. Reitz Electric in Bellevue in 1903. Ezra died in 1965.

His business was merged with Clif Reitz Electric, which was founded in 1946. Clifton Reitz retired in 1994 and his son, Richard, owns Reitz Electric, Inc.

Mr. Reitz was especially proud of the electrical contracts his firm completed, including Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Bellevue.

“He liked working with electricity. He had no fear of it,” Richard Reitz said. “He wore a pacemaker and didn't retire until he was 85. When he tested hot wires, he always wet his fingertips.

“He asked his doctor years ago whether it was OK to do that with a pacemaker. The doctor said he didn't know. So Dad kept testing hot wires the same way. Nothing ever happened to the pacemaker.”

Mr. Reitz was a charter member of the Bellevue Rotary Club, where he was president in 1978 and 1979, and was named the club's first Paul Harris Fellow in 1983.

He was a past president and trustee of the Bellevue Rotary Senior Housing Corp. and received recognition from the housing group for his work on the Rotary Commission, which developed Rotary Commons, a senior housing complex.

“He was immensely bright and self-taught. He read volumes of newspapers, magazines, and trade publications,” his son, Jared, said.

Mr. Reitz was a 65-year member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union, and a strong supporter of the Republican Party.

He enjoyed living in Bellevue and immersed himself in the civic work performed by the Bellevue Rotary. Mr. Reitz was known for his “dry wit” and often drew smiles at community events with his clever remarks, Jared said.

His wife, Marjorie, died in 1999.

Surviving are his daughters, Marcia Herner and Mary Freig; sons, Richard and Jared; sisters, Emma Fleming and Helen Spragens; 12 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. today in St. Paul United Church of Christ. Arrangements are being handled by the Auxter Funeral Home, Bellevue.

The family requests tributes to the church or to the scholarship fund of the Bellevue Rotary Club.

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