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Charles ‘Chuck’ Reiner, World War II veteran and longtime VA volunteer, dies at 100

A folded flag sits on a casket during ceremonial funeral training at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 22, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Sadie Colbert/Released)

Charles “Chuck” Reiner, a World War II veteran who worked at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Syracuse for 25 years and volunteered there even longer, died Thursday.

He was 100. He and his wife, Dorothy, celebrated their 78th wedding anniversary in August.

In July, Reiner’s family marked his 100th birthday with a parade past his residence in the Brookdale Summerfield senior living complex off Velasko Road in the town of Onondaga. It featured friends, family and representatives from the VA, the American Red Cross, Disabled American Veterans and more.

Following the parade, his family took him to the VA Medical Center where he received a lifetime achievement award.

Reiner, who grew up in Rochester, enlisted in the Army Air Corps in January 1942 just weeks after Pearl Harbor and was stationed for much of the war at Mitchel Field in Hempstead, Long Island. In 1945, he was deployed to Tinian Island in the Pacific.

There, as a staff sergeant, he worked in flight operations at the time Tinian served as the launching base for U.S. bombers and other aircraft, including the planes that dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

After returning home, Reiner trained as a biomedical photographer. He worked at several hospitals before getting a job at the VA Hospital in Syracuse just three weeks after it opened in 1953. He retired as the chief of Medical Media Productions in 1978.

After leaving the VA, he drove a school bus for Westhill Central School District for more than 10 years. Then he began a 31-year “career” as a volunteer. He was a driver for the Red Cross and the Disabled American Veterans, and also served many years as a greeter for his former employer, the VA hospital.

He continued driving a DAV van transporting patients to and from the VA hospital until he turned 95.

Dorothy Reiner, who is 98, survives along with his two daughters, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A private service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, but will be live streamed. To view the service, visit, click on Reiner’s obituary and then click on the Tribute Wall.


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