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Jim Reinke took the time on Monday to sit down with me to reflect on the recent passing of his father, Ned Reinke. Many in Harrison remember Ned for his involvement in the community. He served on the school board and as Summerfield Township Clerk, often not easy roles for a businessman to juggle. Jim chuckled and said his dad could always take the heat.
The Reinkes moved to Harrison in 1975 after enjoying their cottage almost every weekend since 1965. Moving from Bay City, Ned was almost immediately asked to run for township supervisor. Ned’s desire to work for himself led him to quit his vice president position at a construction firm and start his own business in Harrison. Jim described his father as ambitious and understood he had to earn customer’s business as he sought to establish himself in Harrison. Ned became part of the community and grew the business by joining clubs, volunteering, and often when he heard of large projects up for bid outright asking for the opportunity to bid.
Reinke’s Heart of the Home, once Nelson Reinke Commercial and Residential Contracting has seen changes over the years. Ned wasn’t pleased at first when sons Jim and Mark phased out the construction side of the business after 25 years to focus only on fireplace and woodstove custom work and installation. Ultimately, he was proud of what they ended up doing. One of their first fireplaces was installed in the Riverside Bar, now Trail’s End Pub.
Ned had several other businesses as well as rental homes on Budd Lake, apartment rentals, and Harrison’s first mini storage buildings which are now owned by the Harrison Moose Lodge adjacent to their property. Along with Deke Ulch, he created UR Industries, manufacturing the Chimney Breeze stove pipe fan. Ned’s first construction business location was in the Ulch sign shop until they moved into the building on Pine Street in the city of Harrison. That building was a 100-year-old home that has been remodeled and added onto several times and is still the home of the business today.
Often after Ned retired anytime he was in town he’d stop by and sit in the office for no other reason than to cause good-natured trouble. Jim described his dad as generous and compassionate. He had a hard time saving money because he gave so much of it away. Ned and his wife, Doris, raised six children while running their business and setting an example for several generations of their family.
Jim shared a verse adapted from 1 Timothy 4:12 that the family felt summed up their patriarch: “All are called. Set an example for one another in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
Service information for Mr. Reinke and his full obituary may be viewed on page 6.