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Obituary of Reinhard U. Graetzer, 86


Reinhard Ulrich Graetzer died at age 86 in his home in State College, PA, on September 29, 2019. He was born on September 28, 1933 and spent his early years in his parents’ home near Breslau, Silesia, Germany. The family came to the U.S. in 1939.

Reinhard grew up in Detroit, MI, and Dayton, OH. He received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Oberlin College (1955), master’s degree in physics (1957) and Ph.D. in physics (1962) from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI. He and Mary Alice Carroll were married in 1962. Reinhard was a Ford Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark from 1962-1964 and was a research associate and instructor at the University of Wisconsin from 1964-1965. He joined Penn State’s physics faculty in 1965 and retired in 1998.

Reinhard was a member of the nuclear physics research group and studied nuclear structure at Penn State and at the University of Pittsburgh. He participated in research at the University of Colorado Cyclotron Laboratory, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the Air Force Aeromedical Research Laboratory. He later pursued an interest in biophysics and established a laboratory to study DNA damage and repair in yeast cells.

Reinhard greatly enjoyed teaching undergraduate introductory and advanced physics courses. He received an Excellence in Teaching Award in 1994 from the Penn State Society of Physics Students.

His community service included assisting with income tax preparation for more than 15 years at both the Senior Citizens’ Center and at the Penn State Office of International Students. He served as treasurer for the Center for Alternatives in Community Justice, which named him their volunteer of the year in 1994. For five years he also provided Medicare counseling through the APPRISE program at the Area Agency on Aging. In addition, he was a longtime member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County, where he served in many capacities.

Reinhard’s interests included tennis, kayaking, stamp collecting, traveling, baking, and reading. In retirement, he took courses at the university and tried to keep up with the activities of his wife and two daughters. His family remembers him for his sense of humor and generosity. He is predeceased by his brother Hans and sister Marianne. He is survived by his wife Mary Alice; sister-in-law Miriam; brother-in-law Richard Carroll (Amy Carroll); daughter Catherine Graetzer (David Leibowitz); daughter Laura Snable (Jay Snable); and many nephews and nieces.

A celebration of Reinhard’s life will be announced.

Memorial gifts may be made to these organizations:

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County, 780 Waupelani Dr. Extension, State College, PA 16801

The American Philatelic Society, 100 Match Factory Place, Bellefonte, PA 16823

The American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

Name of Deceased

Reinhard U. Graetzer



Date of Death


Date of Birth


Funeral Home

Mark D. Heintzelman Funeral and Cremation Service

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