Michael S. “Mike” Rieger, age 73, of Canton (Jackson Township), returned home to the Lord and his beloved wife, Bonnie, on February 24, 2023.
Born August 18, 1949, he was the son of the late John C. and Beverly (Bixler) Rieger. Mike graduated from Strasburg-Franklin High School, where he lettered in four varsity sports, was senior football co-captain, and played guard for the 1967 undefeated state champion Strasburg Tiger basketball team. The ‘67 hoops team was later inducted into both the Strasburg and Tuscarawas County Hall of Fames, and will be inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in June of 2023. Mike went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in business from Kent State University, and his master’s degree in business administration from Ashland University. He was employed by Blue Cross in Canton for five years, and then by Canton’s Mercy Medical Center for 33 years, retiring as CFO and Vice president of Finance in 2013.
Mike gave freely of his time and talent on many boards and committees, including Stark County Meals on Wheels, Western Stark County Health Choice, and as a member of the Ohio Hospital Association Finance Committee in Columbus. He was a member of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Canton.
Mike’s priorities and first loves were God and family. He always encouraged others to embrace both in their lives. He found great joy in family vacations and get-togethers. Mike was patient, kind-hearted, supportive and always willing to help anyone in time of need. Another of Mike’s passions was being in, on or around water; he had made just short of 500 fishing trips to Lake Erie, and later wrote a 300 page book on his adventures. Mike also fished in the other four Great Lakes, across the United States, in Canada and the oceans.
He is survived by his loving daughter Erika Drummond and her husband Mark; his precious grandchildren, Zack Oliger and Zoe and Bella Drummond - all of whom he never missed a chance to be with; his special twin sister, Lynn Fisher; his younger sister, Kim Draime; his step-mother, Elaine (Johns) Rieger; his step-sisters, Kimberly Higgins, Jennifer Steed and Melissa (Rick) Menges; his nieces and nephews, Matt Bitikofer, Josh (Stacy) Bitikofer, Patrick (Sara) Draime and Julie Draime; his step-nephew, Owen Menges; and his many great and great-great nieces and nephews. He made a profound impact on each and every one of them, whether it be through his broad wisdom, wit, silly jokes or entertaining stories.
In addition to his parents, Mike was preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Bonnie Sue (Froman) Rieger; his brother-in-law, Glenn Fisher; and his step-brothers-in-law, James Higgins and William Steed.
Family and friends are invited to call at the Toland-Herzig Funeral Home & Crematory, 140 S. Bodmer Ave., Strasburg, on Thursday, March 2, 6 - 8 p.m. A private service will be held with burial in Strasburg’s St. Aloysius Cemetery. To sign an online guestbook and share a fond memory of Mike, please visit the Obituaries link on the funeral home’s website.
Instead of flowers, contributions in Mike’s memory are requested to Crossroads Hospice, 3743 Boettler Oaks Dr., Ste. E, Uniontown, Ohio 44685.