[ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]

William August Reich 1891-1947


Posted By: Merllene Andre Bendixen (email)
Date: 9/2/2012 at 20:38:31

Wm. Reich, 55, Killed By Fall From Ladder
No Foul Play Reported Jury (Estherville Daily News)
William Reich, 55, for 25 years an employee of the Rock Island railroad was found dead at five minutes past midnight this morning, death apparently caused by a head injury. John Anderson, Rock Island employee, found the body of Reich, who was a stationary boiler fireman, lying face down on a large cement block just west of the stationary building, near the roundhouse.

Coroner E. K. Vaubel said this morning that an inquest will be held tomorrow. Death, he stated, resulted from head injuries. Bruises and contusions were found on Reich’s legs.

Reich was last seen alive at 11:22 p.m. when he checked in for his shift which runs from midnight to 8 a.m., according to Anderson.

He was not in the roundhouse, however, at 12 when he was to relieve Anderson and after waiting five minutes Anderson left the north door of the roundhouse in search of Reich. After walking the few steps from the door of the roundhouse to the stationary house he found the body on a cement block which is about ten feet square and stands approximately eight inches high.

Reich was sprawled across the block with his head toward the south edge and his feet hanging over the north edge, Anderson said.

“I called some of the other boys to help and somebody called the police and a doctor,” Anderson reported this morning. “I didn’t know it was Bill until the police arrived and looked at his identification card.” A local doctor arrived approximately 20 minutes after Reich was found and pronounced him dead at that time.

One theory as to the cause of death, being advanced by Sheriff M. E. Huckaba, is that Reich had climbed a ladder, which rests against the block and leads to the top of the stationary building, and had fallen. Mud found on all except the two top rungs of the ladder might serve to substantiate this, according to Huckaba, who also theorized that Reich’s legs could have been scraped and bruised as he hit the two-by-four braces which fasten the ladder to the building about 10 feet from the ground.

Reich is survived by one daughter, the former Leona Reich, now Mrs. John Wilkins of Indianola where she attends Simpson college.

He was born April 18, 1891, the son of Mr. and Mrs. August Reich of Chicago. On Sept. 12, 1917, he married the former Inez Price, who preceded him in death on July 12, 1943. She was the chief operator at the local telephone office for 18 years.

Reich had recently been absent from work for more than 20 days because of an illness, a co-worker said today. (Graettinger Times, Graettinger, IA, March 27, 1947)

Wm. Reich Case Will Remain As Unsolved
William Reich, an employee of the Rock Island Railway, in the boiler room at the roundhouse was killed in some unknown manner lat Thursday night some time between the time he reported for duty at the roundhouse and twelve o’clock when he was supposed to go to work.

The coroner’s jury of three men, R. J. McKay, W. G. McIlwraith and H. G. McTavish, decided the deceased met his death by a fall from a ladder.

The jury met with Coroner, Dr. E. K. Vaubel, in the court room at nine o’clock on Saturday and evidence was introduced on the actions of the deceased before and up to the time of his death.

It seems Mr. Reich had recently moved to his own home on Sixth Street and had a room with the Ruhbergs who recently moved into the home with their Finnish bath. They said Mr. Reich had been extremely nervous of late and had paced the floor that night before he went to work. He had walked in a rapid manner and Mrs. Ruhberg had become frightened over his actions.

He left home shortly after eleven o’clock and evidently went directly to the roundhouse. John Anderson, who works the shift in the boiler room, said it was about 11:15 when Reich appeared in the boiler room and removed his coat and started for the roundhouse to check in. The card in the check room of the roundhouse indicated he checked in at 11:22, a few minutes later Anderson said he saw Reich by his locker. He did not see him leave the building. At twelve o’clock he expected Reich on duty. He waited a few minutes and went to the roundhouse and checked out. He asked for Bill and they had not seen him. As went back to the boiler room he noticed a man lying face down on the cement slab and it looked like he had stumbled and fallen. Anderson called R. O. Cherry who was shoveling coal from a car.

Dr. J. P. Clark was called and arrived at the scene shortly after the police. The body had never been touched and was in the position as when found by Anderson.

There was a steel ladder made of gas pipe on the west side of the boiler room. At the base it was set in a cement block that covered a few feet around the ladder and was a few inches above the ground. The ladder went to the roof of the building and touched the eaves at the top making it a foot and a half out from the wall of the building.

On top of the cement base there was an iron coal door flush with the cement. The body of Reich was directly under the ladder and his head was just at the south east corner of this iron door. The blood had run down over the side of his face and had covered the corner of the iron door. His feet were over the north edge of the cement block. He was face down and his arms and hands were under his body, according to Dr. Clark and others who saw the body before it had been touched.

The question seemed to be how the body got directly under the ladder and on the inside. The appearances were that he had stumbled over the block and fell face down. The cuts were on the top and back of the head and his face was down at the edge of the iron door. He had a cut behind one ear also. There was a bruise on his legs.

Dr. Clark said it was impossible he could have fallen off the ladder and landed directly under it and been face down and cut on the back of the head as he was. The wounds were not deep. The back of the head was scalped to the extent the scalp could be lifted enough to put the hand under it.

There were many things that made a mystery out of the death and it will probably always remain unsolved. The jury only indicated that he fell to his death from a ladder.

The funeral services were held on Monday afternoon from the Mahlum and Sandin Chapel at 1:30 and at 2:00 from the Immanuel Lutheran Church. Burial was made in Oakhill cemetery. (Estherville Enterprise, Estherville, IA, March 27, 1947)

We wish to take this means to express our sincere thanks to all our friends for their kindness in our recent bereavement in the loss of our beloved father. Mr. and Mrs. John Wilken, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Reich, Mrs. Geo. Klein, Mrs. William Strelow, Mrs. Clara Fielitz, Mrs. Hilbert Jennings. (Estherville Enterprise, Estherville, IA, April 3, 1947)


Emmet Obituaries maintained by Lynn Diemer-Mathews.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

[ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]