Putnam County turned out en masse Tuesday morning, despite the gloomy weather, to say their final goodbye to the Honorable James Reitz who passed away unexpectedly last Friday.
Local Fire Departments, County Sheriffs, NY State Court Officers and civilians lined Gleineda Avenue and packed St James the Apostle Church were the Funeral mass was held.
The procession from the Gargain Funeral Home a few blocks away was led by Motorcycle units from several departments and police crusiers from as far away as Yonkers. Judge Reitz close friends, including Putnam Count Health Commissioner Michael Nesheiwat, acted as pallbearers while judge Reitz Court Officers stood at attention nearby and the Knights of Columbus Lady of the Lakes Council #6318 Color Guard escorted the casket into the church as per the family’s request. The 6 Knights color guard were resplendent in their traditional tuxedos, capes and chapeaus. After the mass in which the judge was eulogized by his widow, Barbara, in front of packed crowd, a sole bagpiper played Amazing Grace as the casket was carried out of the church and the procession left for Judge Reitz’ final resting spot, St. Raymonds Cemetary on Rt 52 in Carmel.
The 57 yer old jurist passed away Friday June 14th while presiding in court of an apparent heart attack. He has been remembered by officials from both sides of the political aisle as fair, compassionate and a friend to everyone who always had smile. He was a prominent member of several civic organizations including the Knights of Columbus and the Mahopac Falls Volunteer Fire department and their members turned out in huge numbers to pay their respects.
On a side, note one member of the Fire Department contingent appeared to pass out just as mass started. He was quickly attended to by the several dozen Firefighters standing nearby and transported to a local hospital by Carmel Ambulance. As he was being loaded into the ambulance he appeared to be alert and talkative.
After the rituals of the day were done, family and friends gathered at the Carmel Fire house to share a meal and their fondest memories of Jim. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.