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Thomas M. Reimer

GUILDERLAND – Thomas Martin Reimer passed away on Sunday, April 2nd, 2023 at home surrounded by family in Guilderland, New York. Inspired by the Japanese poet Basho, he met death “gracefully.”

He was born October 11th, 1956 in New York City, as the oldest child of chemical engineer Ulrich Max Reimer and Waltraut Martha b. Alexy. His parents had at that time moved from Germany. After two years in Minnesota, the family returned to Europe. Thomas grew up mostly in Brussels, Belgium. After graduating from the German School of Brussels in 1977, he was drafted and did his 15-month military service in the Bundeswehr. Afterwards, he took care of his ailing grandmother. After her death in 1982 he visited the United States and met Professor Joanna Kirkpatrick, worked as her assistant, and remained friends until she died in 2017. She influenced his life for the good. He moved to Albany in 1985, where he met his wife Yayin Chu-Reimer, and the couple married in October 1988. They had two sons, Erich and Friedrich. He graduated from Regents’ College, then obtained two masters’ degrees from SUNY Albany, one in Library Science and the other in History, and a PhD in History from Syracuse University. After a variety of teaching jobs, he became an Associate of Occupational Education with the New York State Education Department, reviewing curriculum for the Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision. He loved his work and his team. Diagnosed with diabetes in July 2020, and pancreatic cancer in September 2021, he retired in January 2022.

Thomas enjoyed history, especially of his mother’s group, the Carpathian Germans from Slovakia, and local German-American history. Believing strongly in letting people find their own history, he was active in creating research guides for these two subjects both in print and online. He enjoyed socializing, and was happiest enjoying good chats with friends over a bottle of wine. He loved gardening and volunteering in general. In January 2021, he joined the Albany County Medical Reserve Corps and participated in the “flow” team in nine sessions helping to get people vaccinated against COVID. He loved hiking. He was especially happy to have walked the 480-mile Camino de Santiago (Frances) in October 2018/May 2019, and then again in May 2022, after being diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, 75 miles on the Camino Portuguese with his two brothers.

His parents, uncle, and aunts, predeceased him in Germany. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Yayin Chu-Reimer, and their two children, Erich Reimer and Friedrich Reimer, all of whom brought joy to his life, as well as his two brothers in Brussels, Klaus Reimer (with son Max, and Coline, the daughter from his late companion Paule); Peter Reimer (with companion Lillian Calaca da Silva and daughter Selena); his cousins in Germany and their families, and many other relatives, and many friends, notably Jean Witkowski, from school, and in Albany MaryBeth Sullivan, Tina Martinez and Melissa Lurie.

Private services will be held, and he will be cremated through Hans Funeral Home in Albany. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN).  To leave a message of condolence for the family, please visit .

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