Walter L. Reisner of 1658 Olean-Portville Road, passed away Thursday Jan. 19, 2017 in the Olean General Hospital following an illness, surrounded by his loving wife and family.
Walter was born on Sept. 6, 1947 In Biloxi, MS and was a son of Dr. Lewis C. and Doris Field Reisner. On Feb. 14, 1975, at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Olean, he married his wife of 41 years, Ruth Torrey, who survives.
Walter's career after college started as a public health sanitarian worker. He advanced to the position of Assistant Director of Environmental Health for Cattaraugus County and served as the founding member of the New York State Society of Professional Sanitarians. Walter first answered the call to serve his community by serving as a Trustee for the Village of Allegany, and later the Deputy Mayor. He discovered his passion for emergency medicine as a volunteer for the Allegany Volunteer Fire Department, where he received the EMT of the year award and was bestowed the honor of lifetime membership status. In 1982, he and his beloved wife, Ruth, founded Trans Am Ambulance Services, Inc. After 18 years with the County, Walter retired to pursue his vision for Trans Am and health care for the greater Olean area.
Walter was a pioneer in emergency medical services (EMS) for the community. His warm heart and calling to serve others was instrumental in creating not only Trans Am, but also state-wide rural EMS. Walt was the first critical care EMT in Cattaraugus County leading him to become an EMS educator to grow the EMS system in the area. Walter's contributions to EMS had far reaching effects at both the state and national level. He was appointed by Governor George Pataki to the rural health network, and founded, organized, and served as the inaugural chairman of the United New York Ambulance Network (UNYAN). At the national level, Walter testified before Congress and provided language for inclusion in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 to allow insurance coverage for Advanced Life Support (ALS) intercept vehicles (i.e. fly cars) in rural New York.
Walter was honored with numerous awards including the Ron Kintz award of EMS Excellence awarded by UNYAN, the Fred V. Keller award for outstanding contributions to Trans Am Ambulance Services, Inc and the community chosen by the Trans Am employees. Most recently, he was the 2016 recipient of the LOUIE award presented by the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce for special recognition of outstanding enterprising spirit.
When Walt wasn't in an ambulance or traveling to Albany or DC, he was an amazing family man. He never missed a game, concert, or recital. He had a positive outlook on life, always had a smile on his face, taught his children and grandchildren the difference between right and wrong, and to always follow their dreams. His favorite place to be was with his wife, wherever she may be. Walter's relentless work ethic, infectious personality, and cheerful disposition were on display for all to see throughout his life. Walter has touched many lives, professionally and personally, creating an immeasurable legacy.
Along with his loving wife, Walt is survived by five children, Walter L. (Rochelle) Reisner of Mesa, AZ, Todd W. (Annamaria) Reisner of Olean, Jeffrey P. (Theresa) Reisner, Janet R. (Raymond) Jones of Duluth, MN, and Adriann R. "Addie" (Dustin) Snavely of Raleigh, NC; fourteen grandchildren, Hailey, Chandler, Skyler, Phoenix, Reyna, Annora, Torrey, Liberty, Jackson, Hudson, Lincoln, Mack, Ben, & Teddy; one brother, Richard C. (Susan) Reisner of Allegany; three sisters, Elizabeth Murray of South Dartmouth, MA, Julie (Jay) Carter of Hillsborough, NJ, and Janet (Randy) Wilson of Sauquoit.
Friends will be received in the Letro-McIntosh-Spink Funeral Home, Inc. #646 E. State St., Olean, today, Friday Jan. 20, 2016 from 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM and on Sat. Jan. 21, 2017 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM at which time a Memorial Service will be held. The Rev. Richard N. Keel, will officiate.
Flowers are gratefully declined. Memorials may be made to the Olean General Hospital Foundation 515 Main Street, Olean, NY 14760. Online condolences may be made by clicking the button above.