For more than 40 years, there weren’t many Friday nights during when you wouldn’t find John Reichert refereeing either a high school football or basketball game.
“John really enjoyed it and was really good at it,” longtime local official Bob Rose said. “Through the years he became a crew chief in football and was excellent. He couldn’t get upset with anyone, and he thought things through methodically with a calm and cool demeanor.”
John Charles Reichert died on Dec. 1. He was 63.
Born on April 30, 1955 in Longview, Reichert attended school in Castle Rock where he was a three-sport athlete. He quarterbacked the football team, was a starting guard in basketball, and won a state championship in track.
Considered by many to be one of the best all-around athletes in the history of Castle Rock athletics, the 1973 graduate later attended Central Washington University where he played football until graduation in 1977 with a degree in business.
“Shortly after John came home from school, he started refereeing with Bill Cheatley,” Rose said. “He was a perfect guy to have in the association, and he served as a board member with the group. He gave me ideas for payroll in the association, and better keeping track of funds on the business end.”
Reichert joined his father, Roy, in the family business, Reichert’s Meats. He intended to work there for six months, but it turned into a 40-year career which he excelled in and loved. It’s also where he earned the affectionate nickname of “Meat” by his officiating friends. He and his wife, Terri, purchased Reichert’s Meats in the early 90s, and expanded the business into NW Foodservice, which employed 25 people who John considered his extended family.
Through the years, Reichert committed himself to his family, his church and his local community. He was an active member of the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, and was a member of the church choir.
In addition to serving on the board of the Lower Columbia Officials Association, Reichert was a board member of the Kelso Girls Softball Association, and held memberships in the Kelso Recreation Council, and Kelso Downtown Quarterbacks. He was also a driving force in the renovation of the girls’ softball complex at Tam O’Shanter Park, which is now known as Heerensperger Field.
Despite having a full plate of activities, Reichert found time to play city league basketball and slowpitch softball, where he competed in numerous state and national tournaments. He also coached girls’ softball and basketball in Kelso Youth Basketball. He also enjoyed bird hunting and trap shooting with his dog, Lucy.
Reichert married his wife, Terri, in 1989, and had daughters Emily and Katie, who were also involved in athletics. He was most proud of Katie’s four trips to NCAA National Track Championships, track nationals and of Emily’s real estate investments.
“I remember when Katie was in school, John would work a C-squad basketball game and then watch her in the varsity game,” Rose said. “He really loved refereeing games, and looked forward to the fall so he could get on the football field and be with the kids.”
He is survived by his wife Terri; daughters Emily Niebuhr (Brad) and Katie Reichert; sisters Vickie Rowlett (Johnny), Karen Lyle (Rob), and his twin sister Jahn Reichert (Dennis); 11 nieces and nephews; and 28 great-nieces and great-nephews.
A celebration of John’s life is planned for 1 p.m. Saturday at Calvary Community Church in Longview. The family requests you honor John by wearing something that represents how you were connected to him or a shirt from your favorite sports team.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the John Reichert Athletic Scholarship Fund at Bank of America.