Fr. Blaise Reinhart, O.F.M., Ph.D., a long-time professor and administrator at Siena, died August 10 at St. Cabrini Nursing Home in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. He was 93.
A Mass of Resurrection is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 14 at Our Lady of the Angels Chapel at Siena. Fr. Kevin Mullen, O.F.M., provincial minister of Holy Name Province and former Siena president, will preside.
Burial will be at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands, N.Y., at a later date.
Fr. Blaise was born on July 17, 1926, in the College Point section of Brooklyn, N.Y., to Andrew and Ita (née Smyth) Reinhardt and was baptized Raymond Joseph in Elmhurst, N.Y. After graduating from St. Agnes Academic School in College Point, N.Y., Blaise served in the U.S. Army during World War II as a technician with an anti-aircraft artillery battalion. He then attended St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y., where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1949.
He entered the Order of Friars Minor in 1950, making his first profession of vows on Aug. 13, 1951. Fr. Blaise professed his final vows on Aug. 13, 1954 at St. Bonaventure and was ordained to the priesthood on June 9, 1955, at Mount St. Sepulchre in Washington, D.C.
His first assignment was to Siena, where he was to spend nearly 50 years in academic and administrative roles. Fr. Blaise taught for three years before attending The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he earned a master’s and a doctorate in economics.
He returned to Siena, where from 1963 to 1965 he served as assistant academic dean and from 1965 to 1970 as dean of student services. After a brief break from Siena, during which he worked at St. Bonaventure University and at the Chapel of Our Lady of the Lake in Greenwood, N.Y., Fr. Blaise returned to the Loudonville campus in 1971, where he taught economics and, at various times, served as chair of the economics department, vice president of student affairs, and dean of business.
Fr. Reinhart retired in 2005 and was appointed emeritus professor of economics in 2007. He remained at Siena until 2014, when he moved to Holy Name Friary, the Province’s skilled care facility in Ringwood, N.J. Fr. Reinhart moved to St. Cabrini Nursing Home in March of this year.
He was known for his bridge-playing skills, and for serving as chaplain on cruise ships as part of the Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America.
“Fr. Blaise loved Siena College! Though an adept administrator, he most relished teaching and being with students,” said Fr. Mark G. Reamer, '83 O.F.M., D.Min., guardian of Siena’s friary and
vice president for mission. “A great conversationalist, he appreciated the company of friars in the rec room and good-natured banter with friends around the card table playing bridge. He also enjoyed preaching the gospel, literally around the world, as a cruise ship chaplain and would regal the friars with stories of his adventures. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.”
James Nolan, Ph.D., professor of business analytics, actuarial science, and computer science recalls the summer of 1982 when he interviewed with Fr. Blaise for a faculty appointment:
“My lasting memory of that interview is his eye contact - he never stopped looking at me during the entire interview. In later years, I learned he was a champion bridge player. My guess is he could read my face and gauge my interest and enthusiasm for the job.
“When I became dean of the business school in 1997, Fr. Blaise came in and offered me one piece of advice: ‘Get one or two things done and get out.’ I stayed in the position for 10 years and our friendship prevailed. His mind was always sharp and his wit legendary.”
Fr. Reinhart is survived by a sister, Helen Hecht, and a niece, Diana Silvestri. Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.