On This Day in UB History: March 19

Duane Reahm retired in 1981 after 12 years as bishop. He had given 22 years as a United Brethren pastor, and 20 years as a denominational official–eight years as Director of Missions, four years as Bishop of the East District, and eight years as Overseas Bishop.

Now, he and his wife, Leona, looked forward to a long retirement, and to doing a lot of traveling. The United Brethren magazine said after his retirement, “He says he wanted to retire in good health, and he’s done that. Great health, in fact, and lots of energy.”

But who can predict the future?

In 1986, Reahm was stricken with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This disease gradually—so gradually—steals muscle control until, eventually, it reaches the most important muscle of all, the heart. He fought a valiant fight. The spirit and strength he showed in those final years remain as an enduring legacy, on top of the legacy he left as a servant of God in this denomination.

With the onset of ALS, God allowed Duane Reahm to go down a much different road than he and Leona had planned, a road nobody would choose for retirement. But he traveled it faithfully and patiently. And along the way he left his mark on the many people who watched with admiration his difficult journey.

Bishop Emeritus Duane A. Reahm passed away March 19, 1991, at age 73.

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