Wilbur (Bill) August Riehl – Obituary

by Lynn McMillen
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Wilbur (Bill) August Riehl, 84, passed peacefully in his sleep in the early morning hours on September 17, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Family and friends are invited to join together the evening of Thursday September 26, 2013, between 5:30 and 7:30 at Laughlin Service Funeral Home to celebrate an amazing man who touched so many lives.

Bill was born on January 8, 1929, in New Orleans, Louisiana to the late Edward and Arthemise Riehl. He was preceded in death by his wife, Ella May Riehl, and an infant daughter Melanie. Bill spent his childhood in a city he loved and his family eventually migrated to Metairie, just adjacent to New Orleans. After working his way through Tulane, he got his masters degree in Chemical Engineering from LSU. He not only loved his work, he was extraordinarily good at it, receiving numerous awards and a Presidential Citation.

Bill was drafted into the Army at 22, during the Korean War, he was stationed in Huntsville, Alabama with the 9330th Technical Service Unit to develop guided missiles under Dr. Werner von Braun. In Huntsville, Bill met his future wife, Ella May Hall, after crashing her Senior Prom, they were married the following September and spent 65 years together side by side until her passing last fall.

Bill and his family became affiliated with the Holy Spirit Catholic Church. At Holy Spirit, Bill became Scoutmaster of Troop 361, and helped develop numerous boys into responsible young men. Bill was honored numerous times for his excellent leadership and was honored with one of the highest awards given by the Boy Scouts, the Silver Beaver Citation. His yearly trail hikes with his scouts made his eyes shine with pride for the boys he was helping to teach and guide. It led to lifetime friendships with many of his scouts, including Rich Gingrich, who will officiate at the gravesite services Friday morning.

He is survived by his sister, Debbie Riehl-Rodriguez of Arvada, CO; and his four children, Michael Thomas Riehl of Decatur, Mark Edward Riehl of Bristol, TN, Lydia Leigh Riehl of Las Vegas, NV, and John Randall Riehl of Decatur; several cousins from New Orleans, LA; along with four grandchildren, Russell Riehl, Julia Riehl, John Riehl, and Cayla Riehl.

Graveside services will be held at 10 a.m. at Maple Hill Cemetery on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013.

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