Cletus Moses Reiss entered into heavenly peace last Sunday morning, January 17, 2016. Cletus was born on May 21, 1923 in Ramsey, Illinois. He was lovingly raised in Assumption, Illinois by his mother Lena and step-father Dick Donovan.
Cletus faithfully served his country during WWII as an Army-Air Forces Staff Sergeant, a Pistol Range Instructor, and a Ball-Turret Gunner on a B-17 bomber. He and his crew were shot down in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia and the following trek to freedom and safety was recorded in the book Bail Out over the Balkans, written by pilot Richard Munsen and his wife Katherine. Cletus earned a Purple Heart for his bravery, as well as a Silver Star.
Cletus met the love of his life through a WWII letter-writing project. He married Mareitta (Reita) LaChance on November 19, 1944, shortly after his return to the United States.
He was a kind and charismatic man, a man of faith, a devout Catholic, and an active member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Cletus was quick to help anyone in need at any time of the day or night, even hauling donated stoves and other appliances to people in the freezing cold after a long day of work.
Cletus loved a good story and a bad joke: he was notorious for both. He also loved to play jokes on his friends and neighbors. Many tales survive about his various antics over the years. He was an avid fisherman, enjoying the associated peace and quiet more than anything.
Cletus was also a respected top salesman for Korschot's Heating & Air on Earl Avenue in Lafayette for many years, winning vacations and various awards for his successful sales career. He was well known as the radio advertising voice of Korschot's. You could always find Cletus handsomely dressed with his crew cut and signature bow tie. He took great pride in helping his Korschot customers get just the right equipment at just the right price.
Cletus was preceded in death by his parents Charles and Lena Donovan, as well as his wife Mareitta Reiss and oldest son Lane Reiss. He will be lovingly remembered by his sons Dale (Trudy), Dennis (Dianne), and Gene (Paula), as well as grandchildren Jim Reiss, Joy (John) Altepeter, Jeff Reiss, Nathan Reiss, Mark Martin, Patricia (Jeremy) Ripperger, Anthony (Jess) Reiss, Aaron Reiss, Adam (Andrea) Reiss, and 7 great grandchildren.
Visitation will be at Hahn Groeber Funeral Home, 1104 Columbia Street, Lafayette, IN 47901 on Friday, January 22 from 4 PM-7 PM. Please join us for the Holy Rosary at 6:30PM with Father Duquaine from St. Lawrence Catholic Church. A funeral mass will be held Saturday morning, January 23, 10:30 AM, at St. Lawrence, located at 1916 Meharry Street, Lafayette, IN 47904. Attendees are welcome to join in a Celebration of Life luncheon at Saint Lawrence immediately after the graveside service.
The Reiss family would like to thank the Indiana Veterans Home for the excellent care Cletus received, with a special thank you to Brittany Jacobson who cared for him at the time of his passing and was such a comfort to all of us.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations of money or time be made to St. Vincent de Paul Society in Lafayette or to St. Lawrence Catholic Church. Memories and condolences may be left at www.hahngroeberfuneralhome.com
Saturday, January 23, 2016
St. Lawrence Catholic Church
1916 Meharry Street
Lafayette, IN 47904