Stephen Joseph Reimer, 53, owned tropical fish store

June 16, 1996|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Stephen Joseph Reimer, who achieved his dream of owning a tropical fish store after years of working as a data processor for a bank, died of a heart attack Tuesday at Franklin Square Hospital. He was 53 and lived in Perry Hall.

In 1991, he gained ownership of the House of Tropicals II on Belair Road in Fullerton and it soon became one of the largest fish stores in Baltimore County, with more than 500 tanks of species.

"That was always what he wanted to do after he retired, was to open a store. And he did what he wanted to do," said his wife, the former Rosanne Trinka whom he married in 1985. "He always talked about opening a store."

But Mr. Reimer only had a couple of aquariums at his home.

"At one point, before he had the shop, we had a lot more," Mrs. Reimer said. "But with the tanks at the shop, and then having to maintain them at home too, it was just overwhelming for him."

A native of Baltimore County, Mr. Reimer graduated from Parkville High School in 1962. He served in the Navy from 1962 to 1966, and after he was discharged he took courses in data processing at the University of Baltimore.

He was a data processor at Bendix Corp. from 1966 to 1969 and manager of data processing at Maryland National Bank from 1969 to 1978. At Maryland National, he helped coordinate major computer hardware conversions.

In 1979, he was named a senior vice president of Annapolis Federal Savings and Loan where he managed the data processing and office services departments.

But through the years, he dreamed of owning a tropical fish store.

"I think he's been playing with fish all of his life," said Mark Hresko, manager of the House of Tropicals II.

He said Mr. Reimer was patient and informative with customers, even those with odd questions.

A customer, seeking to start an aquarium at her home, asked Mr. Reimer countless questions about the size of the tank that would be needed and the type of fish that would be best.

"Then she asked that if she got a big fish would it shrink in a small tank," Mr. Hresko said. "He just looked at her and politely said, 'No, ma'am.' "

Mr. Reimer was trying to create the proper habitat for a new species of fish and the right chemical balance for its tank.

"Then one of his employees made a fake fish and put it in the tank," Mrs. Reimer said. "He thought it was real and thought it would survive until we told him it wasn't real."

In addition to his wife, Mr. Reimer is survived by his parents, Joseph and Agnes Reimer of Fullerton; a son, Stephen Reimer of Abingdon; and a brother, Robert Reimer of Carney.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered yesterday.

Pub date: 6/16/96

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