Homer Alaska - Obituaries

Story last updated at 1:09 PM on Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Henry J. Jim Reinhart

June 15, 1932-Aug. 24, 2012

After a brief illness, Henry J. Jim Reinhart, 80, died of natural causes on Aug. 24, 2012, at his home in Homer. He was cared for by his family with the support and prayers of their many friends and neighbors. Plans for a service will be postponed and announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that friends wishing to honor his memory do so by spending time with a child as a tribute to his lifelong interest in nurturing children.

Jim was born on June 15, 1932, in New Ulm, Minn., the 12th of 13 children born to Henry John Reinhart and Elizabeth Cecilia Schaefer. He spent an idyllic, yet hard-working childhood on a farm not far from that town. The Little Cottonwood River (a river made famous by the book series written by Laura Ingalls Wilder) was the scene of innumerable escapades of his youth.

In 1950, Jim enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was sent to Louisiana for training, where he met Linda Shows, the girl who later became his wife. In 1952, he was accepted for flight training and spent the next year and a half in various flight schools, at the end of which he got his wings, his commission as a second lieutenant and his rating as a jet fighter pilot and he married Linda. (It was a busy month.) Upon his graduation from advanced training at all-weather interceptor school, the Air Force enabled him to achieve a lifelong dream of going to Alaska by sending him to Ladd Air Force Base in Fairbanks for two years.

After completing his service obligation, Jim and Linda bought a fishing and hunting resort in the northern Minnesota lake country and moved there with their three sons, Bob, Steve and Joe. During their years there, Jim learned the business of logging and found that he liked it so much he often said, If I didnt have to work for a living, Id log just for fun.

In 1969, the family, now including two daughters, Becca and Sue, moved back to Alaska to the town of Homer. In his 43 years in Homer, Jim has supported his family by being a bush pilot for Cook Inlet Aviation, a hunting guide, a commercial fisherman and a sawmill owner. With the advent of the pipeline he was able to get back into the logging business he loved with Reinhart Timberland which he owned and operated until his retirement in 1981.

After retirement, Jim, Linda and their sixth child, Jenny, traveled extensively and established Grandmas Antiques in Homer. Upon the sale of that business, Jim re-retired to a busy schedule of flying, hunting, fishing and gardening, activities he was able to enjoy until only a few weeks before his death.

From earliest childhood Jim loved being in the woods and he felt especially blessed to be able to spend most of his life both working and playing there. His skill and hard work provided a rich semi-subsistence lifestyle and a comfortable home for his family and for many nieces, nephews and other young people whom he loved and nurtured. The skills and wisdom he passed on will make a difference in many lives. He will be greatly missed by family and friends.

Jim was preceded in death by his father, Henry J. Reinhart; mother, Elizabeth C. Schaefer; brothers, Ferdie Reinhart, Victor Reinhart, Harley Reinhart and Chester Reinhart; and sisters, Alice Schmidt, Angie Domeier, Bernice Walter and Laura Reinhart.

He is survived by his spouse, Linda Shows Reinhart; sons, Bob Reinhart and his wife, Vickie, Steve Reinhart and his wife, Patti, and Joe Reinhart; daughters, Becca Reinhart, Sue Reinhart and her husband, Joe Cook, and Jennifer Reinhart and her husband, John Zen Kelly; brother, Marion Reinhart; and sisters, Esther Tudy Kitzberger, Arlyn Weinmann and Elizabeth Betty Lopez. He also is survived by 18 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.