MONMOUTH – John “Jack” Reitman Sr., 76, Monmouth died Thursday, April 23, 2009 at Advocate-Good Shepherd Hospital, Barrington.

He was born Feb. 27, 1933 in Little York, the son of William and Anna (Gaylor) Reitman He was raised and educated in Little York, graduating from Little York High School in 1951.

He married Katherine Jean Peck in West Chicago, Jan. 14, 1955. She survives.
He served with the U.S. Army in Korea from 1951 to 1952.

Reitman started his career as a fireman in Monmouth Fire Department rising to the rank of captain. He also worked part time for Hoover Memorial Chapel and as a driver for Monmouth Culvert.

Reitman moved to Libertyville to assume the position of Fire Chief in 1969. He remained Fire Chief of Libertyville until his retirement in 1995. During his 26 years in Libertyville he was responsible for establishing three fires stations, establishing full time fire fighters and equipping the fire department with the latest fire fighting and safety equipment.

In 1978, Reitman was elected as president of the Illinois Fire Chief’s Association. In 1979, he was re-elected as president. He was the only chief in the history of the association to be elected president for two consecutive terms. 

In 1996, Jack and Jean moved back to Monmouth where Jack became chief of the Monmouth Fire Department from 1996 until 2000. He later served as the mayor of Monmouth from 2001 to 2005

Reitman was a member of the First Christian Church of Monmouth, Monmouth American Legion Post 136 and the Monmouth Kiwanis Club, Monmouth Jaycees where he served as president. He enjoyed playing golf and spending time with his grandchildren.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by children, Teresa (Gary) Simon, Lake Zurich,  Hugh (Cheryl) Reitman, Grayslake, Rodger Reitman, Montana, John Reitman, Jr., Florida and Deena (Marty) Neal, Libertyville; his grandchildren, Kellen (Justin) Linderman, Tony Simon, Brock Simon, Lindsay Reitman, Ryan (Mary) Reitman, Gina Reitman, Taylor Reitman, Addie Neal, Jack Neal, Sean Neal and Joey Neal; his great-grandchildren, Cameron and Evelyn; brothers, Bill (Margaret) Reitman, Monmouth and Robert (Virginia) Reitman, Arkansas; sister, Shirley Gulberg, Stronghurst. 

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 28 at the First Christian Church of Monmouth with Rev. James Epperson officiating. Burial will be in Warren County Memorial Park, Monmouth. Friends may call after 12 p.m. Monday, April 27 at Hoover-Hall Memorial Chapel, where his family will be present from 3-7 p.m. Memorials may be given to the the Monmouth Fire Department or the First Christian Church of Monmouth.

Review Atlas (April 24, 2009).

Former Monmouth mayor dies



By Matt Hutton

Daily Review Atlas

Fri Apr 24, 2009, 08:12 PM CDT

Colleagues say former Monmouth Mayor Jack Reitman will be remembered as a caring, accessible public official who always had time to listen to citizens concerns and complaints. 

Reitman, 76, died on Thursday.

"It was a lot of fun working with Jack," said long-time council member Dan Burgland. "He was very much involved in the aspects of the community. He always attended different functions and we went different places together representing the city."

City Clerk Susan Trevor said Reitman always wanted to deal directly with the citizens. At one point, the city was considering an automated phone service for City Hall and Reitman was "absolutely against that. He wanted to have a real person respond" to citizens.

"He was absolutely passionate and dedicated about his job," she said. "He always was good to me and good to work with."

Reitman served one term from 2001 to 2005, when he lost his re-election bid to current Mayor Rod Davies.

Some of Reitman's biggest accomplishments were dealing with Environmental Protection Agency mandates — including work to lessen the amount of radium in the water — as well as building a better relationship with Farmland, Trevor said. Something else Reitman was proud of, she said, was hiring Police Chief Brad Zeigler. To that point the city had typically promoted from within the department, but Reitman brought in consultants and followed their advice to look outside the department. Zeigler joined the Monmouth Police Department from Galesburg.

"He was very dedicated to public safety," Trevor said.

Along with his tenure as mayor, Reitman is best know for serving 26 years as fire chief of the Libertyville Fire Department. Starting as chief in 1969, he took over a volunteer staff and helped turn it into a department with two stations and 25 full-time firefighters, said current Libertyville Chief Richard Carani.

Reitman was elected  president of the Illinois Fire Chief’s Association, in 1978 and re-elected in 1979. To this day, he remains the only chief to serve two consecutive terms.

In 1996, Reitman and his wife, Jean, returned to Monmouth where he served as Monmouth Fire Chief from 1996 to 2000.

"He was very active as mayor," Burgland said, "He spent a lot of time working at it. He was always upbeat, always good with the citizens whenever they came in to talk, ask questions or complain. He was always really good with people."

Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the First Christian Church of Monmouth.  Burial will be in Warren County Memorial Park, Monmouth. Calling hours are after 12 p.m. Monday at Hoover-Hall Chapel.

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