Beloved Delaware Tech student passes from cancer

Frederick Paul Reich, 64, a Delaware Technical Community College student at the Owens campus, passed away on Nov. 24 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Reich served in the Air Force, was a husband and father of five children, and graduated from Delaware Tech with an associate’s degree in General Science in the spring of 2018. He attained this degree while working toward his Medical Laboratory Technician degree.

Reich was receiving some of his chemotherapy treatments by carrying his hip pouch containing a small pump that dispensed his medication while he was taking his classes. Even though the treatments were making his body weaker, Reich still continued to have a smile on his face for all throughout the college.

Medical Laboratory Technology Department Chair, Program Director, and Reich’s Hematology instructor Linda Collins and Medical Laboratory Technology instructor Shirley Murray were devoted to Reich’s success through it all. They worked with his treatment schedule and helped him work ahead in his classes so that he could obtain his degrees. They supported Reich outside of the classroom by taking him to and from school as well as frequently driving him to his appointments at John Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland, sometimes more than once a week.

Both Collins and Murray recall fond memories of stopping at the Cheesecake Factory after a long day at Johns Hopkins, where they talked with Reich about music, a lifelong passion of their student.

Collins learned a lot from their friendship, “I learned that you don’t need to sweat the small stuff. That you need to be optimistic, what’s the use of being pessimistic? I mean, He told me numerous times, ‘Don’t worry about it, It’ll go away, get over it. It’s no big deal.’”

Murray said Reich had a tendency to help students and push them to be the best that they can be.

“He was the mother hen of the whole program,” she said.

He would often text students to remind them to turn in assignments, but most of all, he inspired them to work hard and to smile.

“He would just greet everyone in the morning,” said Cassie Gotto-White, a Public Information Officer in the Marketing Department at Delaware Tech, who has done several interviews with Reich because of his achievements at Delaware Tech.

One of her interviews with him includes his spot for Student Spotlight, which showcases outstanding and devoted students in each degree at Delaware Tech. Gotto-White said Reich had received his Student Spotlight poster only a few days before he passed, and that he wanted to give it to a friend of his in New York who teaches special education.

Gotto-White explained why Reich’s friend wanted the poster:“A lot of students feel that, because of their issues, whether its medical or mental or their limitations, that they feel they [sic] can’t get through school. Like they’re not smart enough. And she wanted to hang his poster up to inspire them, because she tells them about her friend Fred and what he’s gone through, how he got his degree and graduated from college. She wanted that visual for them to see.”

A chair was set up in the hallway in his memory and will remain in one of the MLT classrooms.

And though Reich will no longer be sitting in the hallway greeting passers-by, his memory will always stay in the halls of Delaware Tech.

Frederick Paul Reich, 64, passed away on Nov. 24 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Photo from Delaware Technical Community College.

Frederick Reich graduated Delaware Tech with an associate’s degree in General Science in the spring of 2018. Photo from Delaware Technical Community College.

A chair was set up in the hallway in Reich's memory and will remain in one of the MLT classrooms. Photo O. Tennefoss.

Frederick Paul Reich will be missed at Delaware Tech. Photo from Delaware Technical Community College.

Medical Laboratory Technology Department Chair, Program Director, and Reich’s Hematology instructor Linda Collins is shown with Frederick Reich. Photo from Delaware Technical Community College.