John Reitsma, 90

John Reitsma, 90, of Lancaster and formerly of Dover, Delaware, went home to be with his Lord on Friday, November 7, 2008. Born in Paterson, New Jersey, John was the son of the late John Reitsma and Lillian (Brower) Reitsma.  He was the husband of Dorothy (Huntley) Reitsma, to whom he was married for 57 years.

John graduated from Newark College of Engineering in Newark, New Jersey, with a degree in mechanical engineering. He was a flight instructor for Navy Aviation cadets and served in the Army Air Corps and the Active Reserve. He was an engineer, working on experimental aircraft engines and flight simulators. He later served as Chief Reliability Engineer at ILC Dover in Delaware, where he was heavily involved in the design of space suits for the Apollo and Shuttle programs. He also had his private pilot’s license and enjoyed flying his small plane.

An active member of Faith Community Church in Camden, Delaware, he served as Church Treasurer for 36 years.

Surviving are a son, Kenneth Reitsma, husband of Lisa Reitsma, Pahrump, NV; a daughter, Janet Leisey, wife of Daryl Leisey, Lititz; 4 grandchildren, Christopher Reitsma, husband of Schelly Reitsma, Phoenix, AZ,  Melissa Leisey, David Leisey, and Eric Leisey, Lititz; and a sister, Lois Reitsma Weidencamp, Toms River, NJ.

A memorial service will be held at Faith Community Church, 2240 S. DuPont Hwy., Camden, DE, on Saturday, November 15, at ­­1:00 p.m. Contributions may be made in John’s memory to The Gideons Int’l., Box 56, Harrington, DE, 19952. Arrangements by the Charles F. Snyder Jr. Funeral Home Inc. 3110 Lititz Pike, Lititz, PA, 17543, (717) 560-5100. To send an online condolence, please visit

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I worked with John for 10 years at ILC Dover.  I was in my early 20’s when I joined the company, and John was a definite leader in his quiet way.  He offered so much to the company, both from a technical aspect as well as a team player.  I also took my first flight lessons from John at Jenkins Field, where he scared me half to death … not from his flight prowess, but rather from the frightening short field with power lines at either end.  He had total control of the aircraft and taught me respect for flight.  We called him "Baron Von Zuchhini" because of his ditches in the zucchini field next to the field.
John will be truly missed, as I am sure you will agree.
Rhonda Haller

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