Dr. David Edward Reiber

MOUNT DESERT — David Reiber, a longtime resident of Somesville who recently passed away, was the son of August Hugo and Edith Blashke Reiber, was born on Nov. 29, 1919 in Bloomfield, N.J. He attended Brookdale Elementary and Bloomfield High School there. From 1937 through 1941 he attended Tusculum College in Greenville, Tenn., graduating in pre-med in 3 1/2 years as an honor student. He was briefly employed by New Jersey Esso printing credit cards before enrolling at Temple University Medical School at the behest of the dean. At the end of his first year at Temple, in 1942, he became a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Administration Corps and was deferred from active duty for medical training.

In 1943, he married Shirley Jane Marsh. Their daughters, Marcia Lynn and Susan Gail were born in 1947 and 1950. Financing medical school was a struggle. He worked in the hospital kitchen for “meals and a pittance,” and also for the Reading Railroad after hours loading baggage cars. After graduation in 1944, he became a resident in medicine at the Germantown Hospital in Philadelphia. When he joined Army Company B Unit, he received pay, and allowance for rent and food, which meant he could give up his extra jobs to study, and was able to graduate with honors. Following an internship at the Germantown Hospital, he opened his own practice in internal medicine in Germantown, continuing until he retired at 65. During this time he was active in the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown. He continued his Army service in the National Guard, where he served for 39 years, rising through the ranks to full Colonel. He received The Governor’s Commendation for his leadership as Surgeon General during the riots and floods of the 1960s and 1970s in Pennsylvania. Upon retirement from the National Guard, he was awarded the rank of brigadier general in Pennsylvania.


He moved to his beloved vacation spot in West Tremont in 1983, serving the Southwest Harbor Medical Clinic.

His first wife, Shirley, died in 1978. In 1985 he married Gail Hysom Meier and moved to Somesville. For the next 26 years he devoted himself to the work of his church, the Somesville Union Meeting House, statewide UCC volunteer work, working with medical outreach teams to migrant workers in Maine, and the Ellsworth Free Clinic. He traveled to the Dominican Republic on several medical mission trips, and served on the board of Colegio Moriah, the school established for impoverished Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic.

He sang with the Acadia Choral Society and the Acadia Summer Chorale. An avid reader and lifelong learner, he studied at the War College in Washington, D.C., at Bangor Theological Seminary, and was active in the Acadia Senior College.

He is survived by his wife, Gail Reiber of Somesville; daughter and son-in-law Marcia and David Trudgen of Anchorage, Alaska, daughters Susan McGinnis of Glasgow, Scotland, and Linda Gould of Pretty Marsh; his sister Lois Ferguson of Lake Charles, La., and his brother and sister-in-law William and Barbara Reiber of Woodstown, N.J.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Shirley, and by his sister, Ruth Fisher.

The funeral service will be on Saturday, April 2, at 11 a.m. at the Somesville Union Meeting House, followed by a reception in the Parish House, with internment to follow at a later date.

In David’s memory, contributions may be made to the Somesville Union Meeting House Endowment Fund, P.O. Box 96, Mount Desert ME 04660, or to the Ellsworth Free Clinic, 248 State Street, Ellsworth ME 04605, or to Friends of Colegio Moriah, Bradley Bean treasurer, 13 Alfred Street, Houlton ME 04730.

Arrangements are by Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main St., Mount Desert.

Condolences may be expressed at jordanfernald.com.

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