Dr. Richard F. Reiff, 82, passed away peacefully at home on May 17, 2023 in Orlando, Florida. Richard is the son of the late Anna Slotterback Cowart and Francis Reiff. Richard is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Judy Campbell Reiff; son, Richard Campbell “Cam” Reiff of Athens, Ga; daughter, Emerson “Emmy” DeAnn Reiff of Durham, NC; daughter, Rebecca “Becky” Cox; son-in-law, Kevin Cox; granddaughter, Madison Cox; and grandson, Tipton Cox of Ferrum, Virginia.
Richard began his career as an educator in 1963 after graduating with a BSED from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. He taught 6th graders and American History to middle school students in Orlando. Returning to Stetson University in 1968, Richard was Assistant Director of Admission while completing his Master’s Degree in Counseling. In 1971 he embarked on a new career path when he was appointed Foreign Student Advisor at The University of Georgia. The following year, he was appointed Director of the Office of International Services and Programs. Richard successfully completed an Ed.D degree in Higher Education at UGA in 1979. He also held a joint appointment in the College of Education Counseling Department. Richard later held positions of Director of the Office of International Education in Academic Affairs and Interim Associate Provost until retiring in 2022. He also served as President and Vice-President of the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs and Executive Director of Phi Beta Delta International Society. Richard chaired the University of Study Abroad Advisory Committee for fifteen years and for five years was System Coordinator for Study Abroad. A colleague wrote, “You are most certainly a “hero of peace” in International Education and in life.” Embracing diversity and celebrating different cultures earned him respect and admiration from his students, colleagues, and the university. He received two Fulbright Awards for his considerable achievements and commitment to intercultural understanding. His contributions to International Education were recognized upon his retirement through Lifetime membership in his professional association and UGA honoring him with the Faculty Service Award. Richard leaves a legacy that reaches far beyond his professional career and into a world he helped shape with the lives he touched.
Richard was a life-long learner. His pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement reflected his belief that each of us has the ability to grow into the person we want to be. He was also a sports enthusiast. Richard played tennis competitively in tournaments and socially with family and friends but also enjoyed watching sports on television and in person. His love of learning and sports embodied the importance of determination, achieving your goals, and striving to improve oneself every day. Even in his final days, Richard’s mental acuity had him beating the buzzer in Jeopardy; memorizing composers, poems and quotes, vocabulary words, and historical facts; playing Scrabble, backgammon, or chess.
To celebrate Richard’s 80th birthday, his children and grandchildren compiled a list of 80 reasons he is-and will always be-so loved and admired. “Your charm and warmth create meaningful connections with those you meet, whether a server in a restaurant or the President of the United States.” “You taught us how to appreciate art, nature, and the beauty of each.” “You teach me something every time I see you.” “You have high standards for yourself and others.” “You are a great role model.” “Your friendliness transcends cultures, languages, and customs.” “You keep your eye on the ball” (Your signature quote that you told us kids all the time). “You know different bird species.” “You are a good listener, enjoy sports, like to exercise, have a great laugh.” “You give great hugs!” “You shared with me a love of trees, stars, trivia, musicals, sunrises and sunsets.” “Your eyes sparkle and crinkle from a wonderful sense of humor and wit.” “You can multitask-who else can watch a musical, exercise, learn facts, recite poetry, tell a joke, and have a conversation about presidents at the same time.”
A special sincere thank you and appreciation to the Advent South Hospital and Advent Health Hospice Care Central Florida doctors, nurses, and staff who demonstrated competence and compassion.