Long-time Cass Circuit Judge Passes Away

By Benjamin Cox on August 12, 2020 at 6:44am

Retired Cass County Circuit Judge Fred William Reither passed away in Springfield at Regency Health Care on Monday, August 10th surrounded by family. He was 96.

Reither graduated from Beardstown High School in 1942. Reither, a native of Beardstown, served at the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of Rhineland during World War II with the 75th Infantry Division. His group was some of the first to arrive in Germany. Upon his return, Reither attended Blackburn College in Carlinville for 1 year, Alfred University, City College of New York and finished law school on the GI Bill at the University of Illinois Law School where he earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1950. He entered the bar in the southern District of the U.S. District Court of Illinois. Within one year, Reither became the City Attorney for Beardstown from 1951-1953. Three years later he would win his first election to the 8th Judicial Circuit for Cass County in 1956. Judge Reither would serve on the court for the next 45 years, retiring in 2001. He served one term as Chief Justice of the 8th Circuit during his tenure. Upon his retirement, he was one of the longest serving justices in the history of the State of Illinois.

Reither was a well-known Democrat in the county. He served as Vice President of the Young Democrats of Illinois under-then President Paul Simon. Senator Simon and Reither were lifelong friends until Simon’s passing in 2003. Reither also served as a Delegate at Large to the 1952 Democratic National Convention; and was also a life long member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and Illinois State and Cass County Bar Associations. Reither also served in various office at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Beardstown as a lifelong member.

Judge Reither is survived by 1 brother, 2 children, 3 grandchildren, and 1 great grand daughter. Visitation services will be held Thursday outside in a walk-through visitation at Colwell Memorial Home in Beardstown from 5-7PM.