William E. Rinehardt, 77, claims supervisor, student at Renaissance Institute

April 18, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

William Edward Rinehardt, a retired insurance claims superintendent and a student at the Renaissance Institute, died April 11 of a stroke at Union Memorial Hospital, one week after a fall at his home. He was 77 and lived on North Charles Street in Baltimore.

He lived part time in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., said his wife of 53 years, Mary Ellen Travers Rinehardt, a retired administrative judge of the state's District Court in Baltimore.

Mr. Rinehardt was a diabetic on controlled insulin for 50 years, she said, and he believed that "it's very important and helpful for diabetics to know that you can live a good and rewarding life with diabetes."

Born in Washington, Pa., Mr. Rinehardt attended parochial schools in Hanover, Pa., and then served in the Army during World War II on the Philippine islands of Leyte and Cebu. In 1951, he earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Maryland and worked for two years for the Internal Revenue Service.

In 1953, Mr. Rinehardt began a 35-year career with State Farm Mutual Insurance Co., working first as a claims adjuster in Salisbury and then as a claims superintendent and as a divisional claims superintendent in Charlottesville, Va., and Baltimore. He had settled in Baltimore in the early 1960s.

Upon his retirement in 1988, Mr. Rinehardt became a charter member of the Renaissance Institute at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, where he was taking courses in writing and on the Asian-American experience, Judge Rinehardt said. He also enjoyed science courses and political discussion groups.

Although he never practiced law, she said, Mr. Rinehardt went to law school after State Farm encouraged him to do so.

"I said, `I'm going, too,'" she recalled, and the couple graduated together in 1968 from the University of Baltimore School of Law. Judge Rinehardt, who was appointed to the bench in 1982 and retired in 1999, also participates in the Renaissance Institute.

"He was invited to join when they were just beginning," Judge Rinehardt said of the program, which offers educational courses to those 50 and older. "He has enjoyed it a great deal."

So has Raymond Werbe of Roland Park, a classmate of Mr. Rinehardt's in the writing course. The two of them usually arrived early. "One of the delights of going to the Renaissance was coming into that room. ... Bill always had a big smile," he said. "He was a wonderful man."

A memorial service for Mr. Rinehardt will be at 1 p.m. today at the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation, 4 E. University Parkway, Baltimore.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, William Travers Rinehardt of North East and Dr. Richard F. Rinehardt of Richmond, Va.; three sisters, Mary Rinehardt Peterson of Harrisburg, Pa., Patricia Rinehardt Bender of Lancaster, Pa., and Frances Rinehardt Spann of Spokane, Wash.; a brother, Frederic L. Rinehardt of Harrisburg; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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