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Ralph Junior Reighard

KISSIMMEE, FLA. - Ralph Junior Reighard, 79, of Kissimmee, passed away Monday, April 5, 2004, at Osceola Regional Medical Center. Born Nov. 3, 1924, in Huntsville, Ala., he wintered in Florida since 1980 and moved here permanently in 1989 from Newport News, Va., where he had lived on the Peninsula for over 50 years. He retired as a brakeman for the C&O Railroad and was a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen. He was an Army veteran of World War II. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Imogene 'Betty' Reighard; son, Bobby Joe Reighard of Kissimmee; daughters, Sonda Smith of Celebration, Brenda Sue Maiatico of Fredericksburg, Va., and Suzette Harrison of Colorado; brother, Ernest Reighard of North Carolina; sisters, Belle Schuler and Hollis Hooper, both of Robbinsville, N.C.; nine grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren and other family members, Ned, Buster and Tom Godfrey of Georgia. Services will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at Grissom Funeral Home in Kissimmee. A Celebration of Life will be at the Kissimmee Moose Lodge after the service. Grissom Funeral Home & Crematory is in charge of arrangements.

Published in the Daily Press on 4/8/2004


Middle Pic: Here’s the papaw we remember.
Even though we hadn’t seen him for a very long time, we always felt close to Papaw our entire lives, since his grace flows through our mom. Whenever we talked to him on the phone he’d always remind us to be good and love the Lord. Through the years if we misbehaved mom would correct us with the who, what, when, where, and how of why we were never to do that again. Then bring to light how she got that quality from her dad too. “He was the lecturer”, she’d say.

Top Left Pic: Papaw’s tender heart and gentle nature translated into mom becoming a registered nurse and I (Shannon) am following in her footsteps. I will remind myself of your compassion each time I care for a patient.

Top and Bottom Right Pic: And I (Carmen) find myself using his gentle lecture technique to guide my beautiful little two-year-old, Kaitlyn. So Papaw, your discipline-tradition is being carried through to another generation.

Bottom Left Pic: Our brother, Coy is in the USAF and is currently away training to become a pilot. Coy and mom visited Papaw and Mammal in Florida last year. Coy told us how he was first in line when Mammal opened the door and said, “Come on in good looking!” As they all laughed together reminiscing about the old days, they recognized that Coy had many of Papaw’s traits. And after being away for all of those years, Papaw‘s warm-friendliness made it feel as if they’d never been apart.

Yes, even from all the way out here, we can tell that we had the best Papaw in the world. We will remember you everyday and when we see you again we’ll visit for a very long time. But for now it’s nice to know we have a special angel in heaven--who just happens to be our Papaw too.
Carmen, Shannon, Coy, and great-granddaughter, Kaitlyn - April 9, 2004
I can remember a lot of things about you and me. When I was little you would always give me something, every time you saw me. I remember me, Mike, and Bob wearing parachute pants acting foolish and you and mamaw smiling at us laughing. We used to come over and help you cut the grass sometimes. You were always happy no matter what. Made us always see the brighter side. It was an honor to have you in my life. You are the best man I have ever met and we will all miss you dearly. I know you will look down on us all and guide our lives until the day we see you again.

We love you,
Marty and Lauren Reighard
Marty Reighard (Gloucester, VA ) - April 8, 2004
I am the son in law of the late Ralph Reighard. The man I knew was a gentle and humble man. He always had a kind word for me. He was never selfish, angry or mean. He always had a smile on his face and kind thought in his heart. I will truly miss his presence on this earth. But I also know that his spirit will always be among us. His reminders of what and who he left behind. I shed a tear at the loss of a Dad and friend. I will be always indebted to him for my Beautiful wife Brenda. God rest your soul for the angels are guarding your being.
Your son in law.
Paul Maiatico (Fredericksburg, VA ) - April 8, 2004
I am one of Ralph Junior Reighard's granddaughters, Leslie Michelle (Smith) Marchant. I shared a special bond with my papaw that no one else could have shared with him: #1 he was responsible for naming me "Leslie"; and #2 my papaw was adopted. He unfortunately was never able to find any information of his background biologically. On Sept. 9,1977 I was born and six weeks later adopted into this family that I got to have the privilege of gaining the best grandfather or Papaw as we called him. He shared that special bond that we were both adopted and not knowing anything about our biological past as to why he always made me feel so special he use to tell me I was just as his granddaughter as any of the other grandkids and that being adopted made more special 'cause I was hand picked. He told me although he was unable to find biological information 'bout him that if it was in my means to do so to do it that even if my biological family doesn't want anything to do with me, I #1 have my true real family which was him along with all the others I have been blessed with, but to find out for medical reasons etc., and Papaw, I will do my best to keep my word that I will try to research my biological past, but one thing you have taught me is that being blood related or kin has nothing to do with the unconditional love you always had endlessly not just for me as your grandchild but for anyone who crossed your path. I have recently been told my a family member that I have a similar kindred heart like you papaw and if that is true that I do I can say it was because you have instilled those values in me from a little girl. Papaw, thanks for having a influence of who I am.  You have always told me my heart was too big, and that I had more love in me than you thought a person could have.  Well, it is because of you and the Jesus in me that you also instilled in me to have. I promise to stay true to the Lord and savior of both our lives and promise, Papaw, I will always as you used to say "Do What is right in Jesus' eyes, Leslie, and continue living for the Lord and loving him unconditionally as he does you." You also used to agree with Mamaw (Betty, his wife) that I was a prayer warrior and a demon chaser, as you guys use to tell me and to continue to be bold for Christ. I promise, Papaw, I will let God manifest those gifts that lie within the inside of me that you saw in me early on, and always spoke I would be a great woman of God.
Thank you, for after you met my husband Bryan the first time you said "I am glad, Leslie, that God had rewarded you with a great man and I can truly see that he was what you wanted and prayed for." I am glad you lived long enough too see my kids and my husband, but am sad you won't have a chance to see the last one, but I know you see all of it now from the heavens, and along with God you will watch over us as well.


Leslie Michelle (Smith) Marchant
and my husband Bryan, daughters Jordan Alexus, Tristen Tyler, and new baby girl due June 18th (I will miss your not being at the hospital for the birth of this one like you were the last one.) xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox
Leslie Marchant (Orlando, FL )  - April 7, 2004
I am Amber J. Smith-Rivera and I am Ralph Junior Reighard's (Papaw) youngest grandchild. Papaw was the most loving, gentle individual that I have ever known and that I believe ever existed. He was always so kind and carried the most beautiful smile on his face. He was so full of innocence, something that most people wish they had just a little bit of. So sincere, always looked at the best of life no matter what the situation was.

I will always remember the last day we spent together, Papaw (March 17, 2004)...you hugged me like a 30 year old man. We talked, we laughed, we even took pictures... we talked about your days growing up and you even taught me a thing or two! I will cherish that moment forever. Seeing you lie in the hospital, I knew your spirit was gone. Even so, I held your hand and still hoped your big blue eyes would open, even if for the last time, to say good-bye until we met again and remind you of how much I love you. All I can wish for is that you already know.

As much as I miss you, Papaw, I know where you are now is a much better place. I know you are watching over us from the heavens above. I wouldn't be surprised if you were an angel by now!!! Papaw, we love you and thank you so much for all of the good memories and for setting a perfect example of how we all only wish we could be. I love you more than words could ever say. Know that you will be in my thoughts and heart forever!!!

Until we meet again,

Amber, Ramiro "Junior" (your grand-son-in-law), Destini (your great- granddaughter) and Julian (your great-grandson) WE LOVE YOU!!!
Amber Rivera (Kissimmee, FL )  - April 7, 2004


I have so many memories of you and me. Remember when we went to Nags Head? You took me fishing and I ended up being the bait? For the mosquitoes, that is. Or how about all the times you took me to see the Peninsula Pilots? And circus peanuts… Oh yeah… Mom and Dad would let me stay the night with you and Mamaw in Willow Oaks and I used to sneak in the living room and steal them out of the side pocket of your recliner. But you know, I think you knew, because every time I came over, there always seemed to be just enough left in that bag. Yeah those were good times. You were more than a grandfather to me. You were my hero… my friend.

I will miss you.

I am sad today. I know you would want me to be happy, and I know you would want me to be a strong man like you were, But today is hard. You always told me how proud you were of me, and how I had a good head on my shoulders. You told me that one day I would be just like you. Well… no one could ever be like you. You were that of 10 men. You were strong, patient, kind, steadfast, selfless, and faithful. You were the glue that held us all together. And you loved God. And he loved you too. I believe that like Enoch (Hebrews 11:5), he translated your spirit that you should not see death, because you pleased him.

Now, I know you are in a better place. And I thank God for allowing me to have you as a grandfather. I know that you have eternity ahead of you and you will probably be pretty busy, but should you ever stop to look in on me, smile at me with that warm, loving smile that you always wore. And if you can't, I understand, just know that I will always make you proud.

I love you Papaw,
Bobby Jr.
Bobby Reighard Jr. (Waldorf, MD )  - April 7, 2004
I am Suzette, Daddy’s ‘baby girl’.

My dad was the most loving and gentle man that I have ever known. He was the peacekeeper of our family and everyone he encountered was blessed by his tender nature. Last week, Dad collapsed doing what he loved best--frolicking in the Florida sunshine. On Monday, in the hospital’s ICU, the room filled with Love and the presence of our Lord carried off my Dad’s spirit to dwell with Him in eternity for ever and ever. At that precious moment, my dad died in my arms. Thank you, Dad, for the special gift that I will cherish as the most peaceful and rewarding experience of my life.

I honored my father in life and in death, therefore I am comforted as I embrace the promise that one day I too will again exist with Dad in paradise.

I love you, Dad.

My husband, James; daughters, Carmen and Shannon; son, Coy; and granddaughter, Kaitlyn, will miss you.

Suzi - April 7, 2004