Brother Chuck Rieger
Brother Chuck Rieger was a true man of brawn and science. He played varsity football and baseball at the UR but, as you will read below, he later worked on some highly classified weapons projects for our government and earned a Master’s Degree from USC. He pledged Kappa Sigma Sigma after spending four years in the U.S. Army. He was the first active Chapter President to preside in our fraternity house which was constructed in 1951. As an undergrad, Chuck was a well-liked and respected leader in Kappa Sigma Sigma and continued to serve his beloved fraternity throughout his entire life.
After graduating in 1952, Chuck served faithfully on the Alumni Board every year and was elected Alumni Board President. He was honored with the J. Marvin Dean Award at the Rendezvous in 1965 for outstanding service to the fraternity, the university and his community. Chuck has been to the Rendezvous every year except for the two years he spent in Germany and the last five years when his health had prevented him from attending. Chuck and his wife Shirley attended the University of Redlands together and were married while they were still in college. They had been married for over 63 years.
Chuck was born May 31, 1928 in Lewiston Idaho, to Thomas and Grace Rieger. When he was 6 months old, the family moved to Long Beach California, where he grew up with his Mom, Dad, his sister Eleanor, and his brother Tom. Chuck graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School in 1946 where he excelled as a catcher for the baseball team. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and served with the first occupation forces in Japan until 1948.
Following his service to his country, Chuck attended the University of Redlands from 1948 to 1952. He stayed busy in college, playing varsity football and baseball, was president of his fraternity, met the love of his life, Shirley, married her on December 22, 1950, started his family with the birth of his daughter Sharon Jean in 1952, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Business.
Also in 1952 Chuck began his professional career with the U.S. Air Force, as a civilian employee, working at Norton Air Force Base. His son, Craig Thomas, was born in 1955. In 1965 the family moved to Wiesbaden, Germany where Chuck continued to work for the Air Force and where the Riegers had many adventures exploring the continent together. In 1967 they moved back to Redlands, and Chuck returned to Norton working first with the SR-71 Spy Plane program, and later in support of the F-117 Stealth Fighter. In 1970 he completed his Masters Degree from USC. During his career Chuck received many awards, including the Distinguished Service Award. He retired in 1985.
During his 66 years in Redlands, Chuck Rieger volunteered for the YMCA, the Christian Counseling Center, the Salvation Army, the Redlands Community Hospital, and the University of Redlands. At the First Baptist Church he was an usher, a deacon, sang in the choir, was the church moderator, served on many committees and commissions, and he coached the church softball team, The Holy Mackerels, for 15 years. He was a member of the evening Kiwanis Club, the YMCA, the Redlands Country Club, and the Masonic Lodge.
Chuck had lifelong passions for sports and the outdoors. He played baseball, football, handball, tennis, and golf. He coached little league, pony league, and coed softball. Whether hunting in Colorado, fishing in the High Sierras, or just kicking back at his Big Bear cabin, he found peace and renewal in majestic places where mountains, water, and big skies meet.
Chuck is survived by his wife of 63 years, Shirley Rieger of Redlands; his two children, Sharon Tipple (husband Mark) of Santa Ana, CA, and Craig Rieger (wife Vickie) of Concord CA; four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
A service celebrating Chuck’s life was held at 2 p.m., Saturday, July 26, 2014, at the First Baptist Church of Redlands, 51 W. Olive Avenue, Redlands California. The service was followed by a reception–for refreshments, fellowship, and the sharing of favorite memories about Chuck.
Memorial Donations were made to the First Baptist Church of Redlands or the University of Redlands.
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane 1964-98
Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter 1981