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Lisa Reitzel, Cape County’s public administrator, dies at 55

Lisa Reitzel sings the National Anthem at the Cape Girardeau County Lincoln Day dinner March 2. File photo

Cape Girardeau County Public Administrator Lisa Reitzel died Saturday, April 13, at Barnes Jewish Hospital in Saint Louis after experiencing a heart attack on Thursday. She was 55.

Reitzel was taken to a local hospital and then transferred to Barnes, where she died on Saturday.

Reitzel was a registered nurse at Silver Springs Surgery Center and has been the Cape Girardeau County public administrator since January 2013.

Public administrators serve and protect wards of the county, those persons who are no longer able to care for themselves and have no family able to handle their affairs.

Reitzel was very involved in the community. Besides being president of the Cape Girardeau County Republican Women, she was involved in numerous organizations including Special Olympics, Jackson Noon Optimists, Cape County Farm Bureau, East Missouri Action Agency, Delta Booster Club, Relay For Life, American Heart Association, Walk for Alzheimer’s, MS Walks, the NRA, SEMO Pachyderm Club, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and the chambers of commerce in both Jackson and Cape Girardeau.

She was also involved inseveral professional organizations and was an advocate for mental health.

Reitzel loved singing the National Anthem at various events, including the Veterans Home Flag Day Golf Tournament, NRA banquet, Special Olympics events, NACo conventions, Lincoln Days and many other events.

Reitzel’s funeral was Thursday, April 18. The County Commission cancelled its regular Thursday meeting to attend the funeral. On April 16, the commission ordered that U.S. and Missouri flags be flown at half-staff at all Cape Girardeau County owned buildings from that day though dusk on April 18 in honor of Reitzel’s passing.

Reitzel’s colleagues statewide remembered her as a compassionate and dedicated leader.

“Lisa was a dedicated and passionate public servant who worked tirelessly for the betterment of our community. Her passing leaves a void that will be difficult to fill,” said Cape County Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy.

County Clerk Kara Clark Summers remembered Reit-zel as “a voice and smile embedded in my mind” in a Facebook post, and added, “Your love for family is fierce. Your passion for your work and those entrusted in your care was evident in the countless hours you spent on the phone, visits upon visits delivering care and a favorite snack, and the many hours spent advocating for better services of mental healthcare.”

State Rep. Barry Hovis said his wife is a distant cousin of Reitzel, and he had worked with her in the NRA. “She used to buy flags to give to the veterans,” he recalled. Hovis said he was shocked by the news of her death and is “very saddened for the family.”
For a full obituary, see page 5A.

The Public Administrator office will continue uninterrupted service to the wards at this time.

Laura Cassatt was appointed as the interim public administrator by the county commission on April 22. Cassatt is from Oak Ridge and worked for the public administrator’s office the past six months.

As Reitzel was unopposed for the upcoming August primary, filing for the public administrator position will be reopened for five days next month. No other position will be reopened for new candidates.

Candidates will be able to file from 8 a.m. on Monday, May 13, to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 17, at the county clerk’s office in the Cape Girardeau County Administration Building in Jackson.

First day filers will select a number by random drawing to determine placement on the primary ballot. After the first day, candidates are placed on the ballot in the order of their filing.

Interested individuals are encouraged review the candidate qualifications on the county clerk’s website (www.capecounty.us/cape-girardeau-county-clerk/candidate-filing-information).

At the time of filing, public administrator candidates will need to provide a signed affidavit from a surety company authorized to do business in this state indicating the candidate meets the bond requirements of the office.

Candidates will be asked to show proof of identification and submit a $100 filing fee (cash or check) payable to the county central committee of the candidate’s political party.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at cashbook@mvp.net.

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