Robert Rieke Obituary

Service Information

 
In Memory of

Dr. Robert William Rieke

July 31, 1923 - November 30, 2013
Obituary

Dr. Rieke, author of the UNC Charlotte Alma Mater, died peacefully November 30, 2013. He was born July 31, 1923, in Albert Lea, MN, to Ben Rieke and Marion Johnson Rieke. In 1947, he graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. At Carleton, he was president of the Men's League, the all-campus-men's organization, and he was also a charter member of the Carleton College Players. He participated in inter-collegiate debate and oratory. His undergraduate education was interrupted by World War II, when he served 33 months in the U.S. Army, participating for most of 1945 in the Military Government of...
Dr. Rieke, author of the UNC Charlotte Alma Mater, died peacefully November 30, 2013. He was born July 31, 1923, in Albert Lea, MN, to Ben Rieke and Marion Johnson Rieke. In 1947, he graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

At Carleton, he was president of the Men's League, the all-campus-men's organization, and he was also a charter member of the Carleton College Players. He participated in inter-collegiate debate and oratory.

His undergraduate education was interrupted by World War II, when he served 33 months in the U.S. Army, participating for most of 1945 in the Military Government of Germany. Awarded the MA and the PhD degrees in history from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he embellished his preparation for an academic career with a Rotary International Scholarship to the University of Zuerich and a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Freiburg in Breisgau. The latter published his dissertation in 1956.

His teaching posts included Emory University, The Citadel, the University of Kentucky, Davidson College, and 26 years at the University of N.C. at Charlotte, where he served many years as Chairman of the Department of History, Faculty Secretary, and Faculty Marshal.

For many years he was active as a docent at the Mint Museum of Art, served as a board member of TO LIFE, of the Friends of Music at Queens College, and of the Charlotte Kiwanis Club as well as serving on the Caring Committee of the Jewish Community Center. He also sang several seasons with Opera Carolina and regularly with the choirs of Temple Beth El and St. Mark's Lutheran Church. He found his faith in both Jewish and Christian communities. One of his enjoyable activities was maintaining fluency in the German language, which he accomplished by summer grants to Germany and personal visits to friends and relatives. He served during the 1990s with the Krefeld Committee of Charlotte Sister Cities and visited Krefeld several times.

In addition to his scholarly publications, he wrote an imaginative early history of UNC Charlotte, entitled A Retrospective Vision; The University of N.C. at Charlotte, 1965-1975. He also produced two hard-bound works, History of the Minnesota Riekes and An Azure Sunset, a collection of poems. Here is one of his poems:

SPRING
Let my feet touch hungry earth
In the freshness of washed darkness.
Let my song be whispered wind,
Softly sweeping shadows skyward.
There, by the pussy willows
Let me bathe, breathe
The icy boundlessness,
Whistle a broken warble
Over the green shoots
Of awakening.

He is survived by his wife, Daisy, (his first wife Helga died in 1983); his son, Peter and wife, Tonya of Charlotte; his sisters, Madge Rieke of Bothell, WA, and Dr. Alyson Rieke of Seattle, WA; his step-children, Sam Shapiro and wife, Amy and daughter, Nora; and Julie Shapiro, all of Charlotte.

Memorial Service will be held at Harry & Bryant Funeral Home, 500 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 4th followed by visitation by family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Hospice and Palliative Care, Charlotte Region, 1420 E. 7th Street, Charlotte, NC 28204; UNC-Charlotte Foundation/Scholarship Fund, 9201 University City Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28223; Jewish Family Services, 5007 Providence Road, Suite 105, Charlotte, NC 28226; or American Indian Relief Council, PO Box 6200, Rapid City, SD 57709.

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"Dr. Reike was my colleague at UNCC. He was instrumental in helping me better understand administrative structures and appreciate the ways of improving human..." Herman Thomas (Charlotte, NC)

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Charlotte Observer
Dr. Robert Rieke CHARLOTTE - Dr. Rieke, author of the UNC Charlotte Alma Mater, died peacefully November 30, 2013. He was born July 31, 1923, in...

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