Lou George Reicke, Jr

Lou George Riecke, Jr. obituary photo
In Memory of

Lou George Riecke, Jr.

October 2, 1926 - May 31, 2017


Louis "Lou" Riecke, Jr., former President of Tulane Hardwood Lumber Company, passed away on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. He was 90. Born October 2, 1926 in New Orleans, to Louis Sr. and Cleo Noel Riecke, Lou attended Gentilly Terrace, Jesuit High School, and graduated from Louisiana State University in 1949. During summers, Lou worked as a lifeguard at Pontchartrain Beach where he and his future wife, Enid Lambert, enjoyed performing acrobatics with friends. Lou served in the Navy Medical Corps from 1943 until 1946. He married his childhood sweetheart Enid on June 4, 1949. Lou was an accomplished athlete and a beloved member of the sports community. In high school he ran track but started lifting weights because he felt like he wasn't big enough to play football. Lou never wound up playing football, but instead discovered a lifelong passion that led to tremendous success as a weightlifter. He won an NCAA weightlifting championship in 1947 and later added three national YMCA titles. In 1964, he set a World Record by lifting 147.5 kg (just over 325 pounds) in the snatch as a light heavyweight. Later that year, he won the Olympic trials in New York and was honored to represent the United States in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. His success in weightlifting allowed him to become only the second strength and conditioning coach in the National Football League when he was hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers. During his tenure in Pittsburgh (1970-1980), the Steelers became renowned for their strength and physical play, won four Super Bowls, and are universally considered as one of the greatest dynasties in NFL history. Among many honors, Lou was inducted in the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in 1980. In 2003, he was an inaugural inductee of the USA Strength & Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame. He continued his athletic career well into his 70s via the Senior Olympics; running, winning, and setting national records in the 100 and 200 meter dashes. In addition to sports and his family, Lou loved history, Westerns, a good joke or limerick, and perhaps most of all, ice cream. Lou is survived by his loving wife Enid, sister Cleo Velleman (Richard), four daughters; Cynthia Curran (Ron), Ginger Gomes (Gene), Vicki Riecke, and Jaime Lee Maxwell; seven grandchildren, Evan Gomes, Emily Ostlund, Austin Gomes, Vanessa Ray, Alex Maxwell, Brendan Curran, and Julia Fanous; and eight great-grandchildren, Elliott and Charlotte Gomes, Gwendolyn and Juliet Ostlund, Bennett and Parker Gomes, Sebastian and Rowan Fanous. Friends and family are welcomed to attend a memorial service at Leitz-Eagan Funeral Home at 4747 Veterans Boulevard on Saturday, June 10th. Visitation is at 9:00 am with service to follow at 11:00. In lieu of flowers/plants, please send donations in Lou's name to the Harahan Senior Center at 100 Elodie Avenue, Harahan, LA 70123 or to a charity of your choice. The online guestbook is available at www.leitzeaganfuneralhome.com.