Walter Albert Reimann, 88, a business executive and civic volunteer, died Monday, June 17, of respiratory failure at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery in East Norriton Township.
A former Malvern resident, he had lived at Shannondell in Audubon for the last four years.
Mr. Reimann was born and raised in Rockledge, and attended Lower Moreland High School. He graduated in 1952 from Gettysburg College with a bachelor’s degree in economics. While there, he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity.
After serving in the Army during the Korean War, Mr. Reimann earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Hartford and an MBA in industrial management from Drexel University.
He spent his career in engineering and manufacturing operations, first as a designer for Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, Conn., then as an operations manager for the Scott Paper Co. in Philadelphia, and later as a director of manufacturing at West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. in Phoenixville.
In 1983, Mr. Reimann became president of the Fredericks Co., a small manufacturer of precision glass components in Huntingdon Valley. Under his guidance, the firm made the transition from a declining supplier of defense products to a successful manufacturer of products for the civilian market, his family said.
“Before, we did 80 percent defense business,” said daughter Heidi McKenna, who now runs the company. “When the Berlin Wall came down, we lost a lot of business. But with strategic acquisitions and attracting other business opportunities, we were able to replace declining sales.”
Mr. Reimann wasn’t done yet. In 1995, at age 65, he purchased Fredericks and fulfilled a lifelong dream of owning his own business. Four years later, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce named him the 1999 Outstanding Small Business Manufacturer of the Year. Mr. Reimann was known to the chamber through his participation in the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center.
He retired in 2010. “It was a very gradual thing,” his daughter said.
William R. Jones of Souderton, a friend and business owner who purchased vacuum gauges from Fredericks for many years, remembered Mr. Reimann in an online tribute as “a very intuitive man and unassuming, a real gentleman.”
Mr. Reimann served on the board of the Lower Moreland Business Association, as a fundraising leader for the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, and on the East Whiteland Township Planning Commission.
He was also chairman of the board for the Mid-Atlantic Employers’ Association, a King of Prussia nonprofit providing human resources services for small to mid-size companies in the Philadelphia area. He served as the alumni director for Wesley College in Dover, Del., which he had attended as a young man before transferring to Gettysburg.
Mr. Reimann was a family man and outdoorsman. He enjoyed playing tennis, gardening, and caring for his lawn. He was known for his quick wit, sense of humor, and willingness to help others.
“I had the privilege of knowing Walt initially as a business client and ultimately as a friend,” Les Dahlstedt of Hayward, Calif., posted online. “I am left with fond memories of Walt as a devoted husband and loving father, who understood and demonstrated a rare commodity: humility.”
Mr. Reimann was married for 53 years to Jean G. Reimann, who died April 12. In addition to his daughter, he is survived by another daughter, Heather Trower, and two grandchildren.
A visitation starting at 10 a.m. Friday, July 12, will be followed by an 11 a.m. memorial service at St. Luke Lutheran Church, 203 N. Valley Forge Rd., Devon. Burial will be private.