Thomas Reutter spent eight decades volunteering in his hometown of Seaside Heights, giving time as a firefighter and a councilman.
On Tuesday, Reutter was honored for his service, as the Seaside Heights Volunteer Fire Department held a formal funeral procession through the borough to allow the department and the town's residents to pay tribute to him.
Reutter, a 73-year member of the department and a 27-year member of the Borough Council, died July 17 at the age of 96. On Tuesday, his casket, covered by an American flag, was transported from Anderson & Campbell Funeral Home in Toms River out Route 37 to the borough he had called home since 1938. Reutter was born in Philadelphia and moved to Seaside when he married Dorothy, his wife of 59 years, in 1938.
The procession -- led by members of the Seaside Heights Police Department -- stretched several blocks as vehicle after vehicle trailed behind the antique fire engine bearing Reutter's casket. The procession made its way out to Ocean Terrace, and then south to Hamilton Avenue and north on East Central Avenue before it made a turn and passed the Seaside Heights Firehouse, which was decked out in purple and black bunting and had trucks from Ocean Beach Fire Company 1 forming an arch over the street, with an American flag hanging over the street.
According to Reutter's obituary on andersonandcampbell.com, he was co-owner of the Heights Food Market until 1966 and then worked at the borough's Public Works Department until he retired. He also was deeply committed for 40 years to The Union Church and The Evangelical Church, where he was a deacon and a member of the board of trustees.
Reutter was married to Dorothy for 59 years before her death. He also was predeceased by two of his children, son Dr. Thomas Reutter and daughter Dorothy Brusamonti. He is survived by two sons, Robert Reutter and his wife Barbara of Toms River and Dr. Richard Reutter and his wife Dr. Mary Lutz of Princeton; and daughter Mary-Margaret Jones and her husband Dana of Eatontown, as well as daughter-in-law, Cynthia Reutter of Woodbury and son-in-law, Peter Brusamonti of Dushore, PA. He also leaves behind 16 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.