Michael John Reger

November 22, 2021


Michael John Reger

1948 – 2021



     Michael John Reger, born January 16, 1948, passed away November 22, 2021. He is survived by his wife, Laura (nee Iannuzzelli), his wife of 45 years; his children Adam (and wife Addie), Alison, and Daniel (and wife Tina); grandchildren Louise, Harrison, Anne, Ellen, and Nora.

     He is also survived by siblings Kevin (“Kevie”) (and wife Roe), Thomas (“Thomas Aquinas”), Jeannie (“Regina Mary, Queen of the May”), James (“Jimmy John”) (and wife Barbara Jean), and Lois (“Goofy”) (and husband Michael); in-laws Ray and Nancy Iannuzzelli, Ron and Jane Iannuzzelli, Elaine and Don Halberstadt, and Russ Iannuzzelli and Anne Hayes; many nieces and nephews; and two dogs, Lio and Petey Pete.

     Michael loved to laugh and to make those around him laugh. He had a solid repertoire of jokes he liked to return to, including “A horse walks into a bar,” which he told every night at dinner for a period of years. Michael’s trademark laugh was a small chuckle building slowly to a crescendo of laughter contagious to those around him. Famous punchlines like “two for one” and “49 riproarers (resounding through the establishment)” had the power to reduce him to tear-faced, roaring bouts of laughter, his red face contrasting sharply against his silver hair.

     He grew up with his father, Walter, mother, Eleanor, and five brothers and sisters on Plymouth Road in Springfield, the setting for many adventures and family stories, from the time he climbed inside the engine of a backhoe to the time his brothers convinced him that Mr. O’Brien, caretaker of the nearby golf course, was a man with the head of a lion. He was a perennial All-Star in the Allied Ballfighters league at St. Dorothy’s Catholic school. After graduating from Springfield High School in 1967, Michael attended South Georgia State College for a year before transferring to the University of Georgia (Dawg food!), where he graduated with a major in history.

     After returning to Springfield, he met Laura Ann Iannuzzelli in 1975. Their first date was on Thanksgiving that year, and they were married November 20, 1976.

     Michael held a number of jobs throughout his life, many of them taken to support his family. These ranged from long overnight shifts at Medford’s meatpacking plant, where his father worked as a butcher, to stints as a furniture salesman, parole officer, and real estate agent. He spent more than 13 years as an office supply salesman before pivoting, late in his career, toward a more personally fulfilling role in social work. Michael always enjoyed listening to senior citizens and in his job at Senior Community Services he provided company, support, and a sympathetic ear to seniors who were often isolated. Many of Michael’s “consumers” counted their time talking to Mike as the highlight of their week.

     A loving husband, Michael was a devoted father. On one occasion, he chased after the family car because he suspected a back door was not completely closed and he feared one of the kids could fall out. (He caught up to the car at a red light half a mile from home.) Michael kept his family well stocked with office supplies, and made sure that all family cars and all the cars of his children had ice scrapers, emergency rolls of paper towels, road flares, jumper cables, and flashlights on board, many of these items labeled in his elegant Catholic-school handwriting. He always had Certs in his pocket to distribute to his children during long church services. He delighted in playing with his children, and many of the games he invented—walking fingers falling from the edge of a table, or slathering his children with ketchup, mustard, and relish after tucking them in at bedtime—are used today by his children to entertain his grandchildren. His Donald Duck impression was always on point.

     Michael loved to walk around the arboretum at Swarthmore College, lingering especially over the roses. He liked soap-on-a-rope. He loved to play with Dan and Tina’s dogs, Link and Westley: his “Hey, boy!” could bring Link running. He loved to draw and doodle, and his drawings of Hagar the Horrible and Beetle Bailey could often be found embellishing the margins of the Inquirer’s comics pages. He loved Tastykake Juniors, Canada Dry ginger ale, peach pie, and orange slices (the candy, not the fruit). He loved to read and was drawn to books like When God Doesn’t Make Sense, You Are Never Alone, and When Bad Things Happen to Good People, as well as the collected works of Zig Ziglar.

     His nicknames were Moss, Head, and Head Cheese. He possessed an astonishingly loud sneeze and a monumental pair of calves. He wrote a great postcard and gave thoughtful presents (often wrapped with outlandish amounts of tape). He said things like “Cheese and crackers” and “Ratzamajazz” instead of cursing. He was a wonderful listener, a cautious driver, a patient teacher. He was a kind, sweet, and gentle man, and will be missed by all who knew him.

     A Visitation with Michael’s family will be held from 10-11:30am Saturday, November 27 at Ruffenach Family Funeral Home, 4900 Township Line Road, Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania 19026. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to the Alzheimer’s Association













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November 27, 2021

10:00 AM to 11:30 PM
Ruffenach Funeral Home , Drexel Hill
4900 Township Line Road
Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania 19026

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