Angels welcomed Dr. Richard H. Reel to heaven on Saturday, October 30, 2010, at the age of 75. Funeral services were held Wednesday, November 3, at West Des Moines Christian Church on Civic Mills Parkway in West Des Moines. Private entombment will take place at Resthaven Mausoleum in West Des Moines.
Richard’s first love was his family and friends. Medicine was his life and living life was his passion. He enjoyed spending time with the love of his life, Barbara Jane, at Sun Valley Lake, fishing for bass, cooking/grilling and traveling with his family and friends. Richard also cared for and loved his loyal dogs, especially Spuds and Rose.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents, Reverend Harold Reel and Alice (Beamer) Reel; infant sister, and two grandsons.
He is survived by his beloved bride, Barbara; children, Richard (Wendy) Reel Kumpf, Kevin (Courtney) Reel, Beth Briddle, Erik Wilson, Josh (Pam) Reel, Amy (Ryan) Brick, Tracy (Ben) Condon, Bret (Amy) Blize, Matthew Sheldahl and Jamie (Mike) Sheldahl; two sisters, Dorothy Perry and Peggy Ripperger, and 18 grandchildren, which he loved dearly.
Dr. Richard H. Reel was born in Pawnee City, Nebraska on November 9, 1934 and graduated from Mount Ayr high school. Before pursuing a career in medicine, Richard served in the U.S Navy and graduated in 1960 from Drake University with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and biology. Before becoming a doctor, he was the state manager of Iowa for the Life Insurance Co. of Kentucky.
Richard obtained his D.O. degree in 1970 at the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery (Des Moines University) and completed his internship in 1971 at Mercy Hospital. Dr. Reel became the first osteopathic physician to be admitted to a M.D. internship in Iowa and the first osteopathic physician on staff at Mercy, Methodist, Lutheran and Northwest Hospitals. Dr. Reel practiced medicine in Des Moines and was a partner with Mercy Medical Clinics between 1971 and 1996. He was assistant Polk county medical examiner for six years and associate professor of medicine at the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery for 25 years.
Dr. Reel served on the board of many associations including the following: Polk County Medical Society, Iowa State Medical Society, American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Practice. He served as medical director for three Des Moines nursing homes, Medical Device International, the Director of Care Initiatives and the Fifth Judicial District, covering 17 Iowa counties. Dr. Reel served as company physician for many local businesses including Casey’s and Firestone.
He dedicated his life to many organizations. Active in Masonic orders, Dick was a 50-year member of Gnemeth and Faith Lodge, a 32?? Mason of the Des Moines Scottish Rite, Za-Ga-Zig Shrine Diplomat and a member of the Royal Order of Jesters.
The family has respectfully requested that any memorial contributions be made to the Mercy Foundation or the Shriners Hospital for Children in Dr. Richard Reel’s name.
Online condolences may be left at www.ilescares.com.