LAKE PLACID — Thomas Julian Reiss, 86, oldest son of the late Julian and Daisy Margaret Reiss, was born in Colorado Springs, Colo. in 1924. The family moved to Lake Placid the following year. He attended St. Bernard's School in Saranac Lake, pursued a career in Sheboygan, Wis., then in the Adirondacks and later in New York City. He was a resident of Saranac Village at Will Rogers for three years prior to his death on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010.
Following high school at La Salle Military Academy on Long Island, Tom studied mechanical engineering at Clarkson College and Notre Dame University. He was then commissioned during World War II as a second lieutenant, served in the 10th Mountain Division, was wounded in combat in Italy and received the Purple Heart medal. He was subsequently promoted to captain, served in the management of an Army cook-training school and as a company commander in an infantry training center.
After the war, Tom finished his undergraduate education at Villanova University and, in 1948, moved with his family to Sheboygan to serve as general manager of RWay Furniture Company, which was engaged in custom design and manufacture of high-end residential furniture marketed through company-owned showrooms located in major cities throughout the country and contract sales to hotels, colleges and hospitals.
In 1958, Tom Reiss and his family moved to the Tri-Lakes area, where he served for seven years as general manager of Santa's Workshop and North Pole Toys, then in the management of Northland Motors, Tupper Lake. He was the owner/manager of Tri-Lakes Transit Corporation in Saranac Lake for eight years, and in the management of the Marcy Hotel in Lake Placid another eight years. Tom then spent the next 20 years as the general manager of several hotels in New York City, including the Gorham and the Century Paramount.
Tom spent his entire career in management/ownership in various industries: furniture manufacturing, theme park, automobile dealership, transit company and hotel. For the past 25 years, he increasingly devoted his well-developed management attitudes and skills to the challenges of his diabetes. Tom took a proactive approach with detailed schedules, diet, medications, testing and computerized record keeping, all of which kept him going for many years until an unrelated cancer ended his days with us. The daily health challenges occupied his time and attention but did not deter him from being outgoing and friendly to all those with whom he came in contact.
He very much enjoyed living at Will Rogers, but his greatest joy came from the visits, telephone calls and letters received from his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Thomas Reiss is survived by his eight children: Mary Elizabeth Winn of Long Lake, Thomas Reiss Jr. of Ixonia, Wis., Jacob Reiss of Long Lake, Anne McCormack of Sudbury, Mass., Janet O’Brien of Cincinnati, Ohio, Paula Putman and Carolyn Torrance of Doylestown, Pa., and Jonathan Reiss of Upper Black Eddy, Pa.; and their mother, Mary Marano Reiss of New Hope, Pa.; 14 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; his brothers: Robert Reiss of Lake Placid, Paul Reiss of Lake Placid and Scarsdale and Peter Reiss of Westport, Conn.; his sisters, Mary Watson of Easton, Conn. and Patricia Brooks of East Lyme, Conn.; and 23 nieces and nephews.
Tom was predeceased by his parents and in 2006 by his second wife, Susanne (Forch).
A funeral Mass was held Wednesday, Oct. 27 at the Reiss Family Memorial Chapel at the Uihlein Center with interment following at St. Agnes Cemetery. The Clark Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Thomas may be made to the American Diabetes Memorial Program, Box 11454, Alexandria, VA 22312 or to the Chapel of the Nativity at the Julian Reiss Foundation, 48 Daisy Way, Lake Placid, NY 12946.