Wednesday, April 15, 2015

William H. Reinhart, President of the Sweet Valley Wine Company

William Homer Reinhart was born in 1865 in Huron County, Ohio to Mr. and Mrs. Carl Reinhart, who were both natives of Germany.  When William was quite young, both his parents died. He learned the cooper trade while quite young, and then he went to Kelleys Island to work for the Sweet Valley Wine Company. Reinhart first worked as a salesman for the company, and by the early 1900s he became its president, holding that position until his death in 1940.

Mr. Reinhart also served as the president of the local Chamber of Commerce, where he spearheaded a fund raising drive to help reorganize the organization after the Chamber had faced a severe financial crisis. Additionally, he was the first president of the Perry’s Victory Memorial Association. And when the United Commercial Travelers held their convention at Cedar Point in June of 1906, Reinhart addressed the group as chairman of the general executive committee of the Sandusky Council, No. 278, United Commercial Travelers. Mr. Reinhart’s picture appeared in the June, 1907 issue of the Ohio Magazine, which featured an article by John T. Mack, entitled “Industrial Sandusky” while he was the president of the local Chamber of Commerce.

On October 1931, he was named the Conservation Commissioner of the state of Ohio. While in this position, he took many steps to improve game wildlife in Ohio, and he spoke to sportsman’s groups all over the state. Mr. Reinhart was one of the founders of the Ohio State Elks Association, and he served as its president twice. During this time, in the late 1930s, Mr. Reinhart also served as a city commissioner. 

William H. Reinhart died on December 31, 1940 at the Cleveland Clinic, after a lengthy illness. Funeral services were held at the Sandusky Elks Lodge, with the Rev. C.L. Alspach officiating. He was buried at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. He was survived by a wife, one sister, one brother, a daugher, a stepson, and three grandchildren. The Sandusky city building was closed during Mr. Reinhart’s funeral, and the flag at the Post Office flew at half staff, in memory of the former city leader. George J. Doerzbach, fellow city commissioner, said about Reinhart, “No Sanduskian had the interest of this city more at heart than did Mr. Reinhart. I have worked with him for many years on civic and social affairs and always found him ready to give of his time an energy in helping to boost his home community and give a helping hand to his host of friends."

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