Francis S. `Frank' Reber, 82, coach, teacher at Balto. Co. high schools

January 20, 2004|By Reginald Fields | Reginald Fields,SUN STAFF

Francis S. "Frank" Reber, a longtime teacher, coach and guidance counselor at Sparrows Point and Towson high schools, died of complications from open heart surgery Friday at St. Joseph Medical Center. He was 82 and lived in Towson.

Mr. Reber was born in Mohrsville, Pa., graduating from Muhlenberg Township High School in Laureldale Pa., where he was a star athlete. After earning his bachelor's degree from what is now East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania, Mr. Reber served in the Navy in the South Pacific during World War II aboard the USS Clinton and later the USS Rainier.

After his discharge from the military in 1946, Mr. Reber and his wife, the former Betty Britigan, settled in Maryland, and he began a long career in education and coaching. At Sparrows Point High School, Mr. Reber, a physical education teacher, coached the boys soccer team to the 1946 state championship, and his boys basketball team advanced to the state finals in 1947.

In 1950, he took a job at Towson High School, where he stayed until he retired in 1980. At Towson, Mr. Reber taught physical education and later became a guidance counselor. He also coached soccer, basketball and baseball at the school.

And for 19 years, until 1977, Mr. Reber managed the Stoneleigh pool, a popular community pool near his home. Mr. Reber's career made him well known in his community.

"For the past 20 years, everywhere we went we'd run into somebody who remembered Coach Reber for coaching, or Mr. Reber from teaching or at the pool," said his daughter, Elizabeth A. Steinbach of Timonium. "He was just very well-liked."

Mr. Reber not only enjoyed coaching and teaching sports but also attending professional ball games.

He was an Orioles season ticket holder since 1954. He also was a Colts season holder from about that time until the team left the city. And he had been a Ravens season ticket holder since that team moved to Baltimore.

"He hadn't missed a home game for the Ravens since they had been here until the very end when he began having health problems," said Glen L. Steinbach, Mr. Reber's son-in-law.

Mr. Reber also enjoyed poker and helped start a poker club many years ago with his friends, Mrs. Steinbach said.

Mr. Reber was also an active member of Ascension Lutheran Church in Towson and an honorary life member of Stoneleigh pool.

Services will be held today in Reading, Pa.

In addition to his wife of 59 years and his daughter, Mr. Reber is survived by two grandchildren.

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