Maria Reuter was born Maria Wittmann in 1926. Her birthplace is in what is now known as Lazarevo, Serbia. When Maria was born in 1926 it was known as Lazerfeld, a German village in the multi-ethnic Banat region, south of Hungary. Her idyllic childhood in a small farming village was interrupted by World War II. The family survived the war, but then on Christmas Day 1944, all the able-bodied young people were told to report to town for work, and unbeknownst to Maria and the others, they were loaded onto a train and sent to the Donbas region of Ukraine. She and the others spent the next 5 years working in a coal mine and living in a Russian labor camp. Forced into a life of hard labor, little food, and terrible living conditions, Maria found the ingenuity required to make this hard life bearable. Suddenly, in 1950, she and the others were given an opportunity to leave the labor camp to join relatives in Germany. Maria was able to get to Mainz, Germany. There, she met her future husband and lifelong soulmate, the late Dr. Wilhad Reuter, with whom she had two sons, Wilhad M. Reuter and Karl Otto Reuter.
After her husband, Wilhad, completed his education in Mainz, he found employment in Pittsburgh, PA. In 1958 Wilhad Sr., Maria and their two young sons migrated to the U.S. on the ocean liner SS United States. A year later, the family moved from Pittsburgh to St. Marys, PA, first living on a farm, which the family thoroughly enjoyed. In 1962, Wilhad secured his professional break at IBM in Yorktown, NY, and so the family moved to nearby Mahopac, New York.
In 1963, the new family home was completed on 7 acres of former farm land. Upon moving in, many dedicated hours were spent landscaping the property and designing an amazing garden surrounding the house. This became Maria’s pride and joy. When not ensuring that the house’s interior was kept in spotless condition, she would spend countless hours outside, as she and her family created her garden vision, moving/burying stonewalls/boulders, planting new trees, and the like. After a full day of work on the property and the house, Maria would do all of the cooking, preparing hearty, delicious meals, and raising her two young sons to be as ingenious and industrious as she.
During her “quieter moments”, Maria expressed her creativity: she painted lovely pictures; and, most notably, she excelled in designing and crafting exquisite/unique silver jewelry pieces, many with fine stone inlays, even extending into cloisonné.
Along with the rest of the family, Maria enjoyed skiing in the winter, taking part in many family ski outings throughout the Northeast. In the 1960s and 1970s, before world travel became fashionable, she and her husband traveled to many remote destinations around the world.
All in all, as many of her stories attested to, Maria lived a fulfilling and amazing 97 years, experiencing so much and making good friends along the way. In fact, her stories kept coming until she passed suddenly on June 24, 2023 in her home at Meadow Ridge, in Redding, CT. Her husband of 68 years, Wilhad Reuter predeceased her in 2022. She is survived by her two sons, Wilhad M. Reuter and Karl Otto Reuter, Karl’s spouse, Janet, Wilhad Jr.’s former spouse, Selena Wong, and three grandchildren, Alyssa, Nicole and Hans.
To a wonderful and caring individual, wife and mother, may she truly rest in peace.