The Punxsutawney Spirit

Family giving out free Klondike bars in memory of Delbert Reitz

- By Larry McGuire Of The Spirit

PUNXSUTAWN­EY — The iconic slogan and tagline asks the famous, familiar question we’ve all heard: “What would you do for a Klondike bar?”

For anyone looking to enjoy a free, delectable, square-shaped vanilla icecream bar coated in chocolate, the requiremen­ts are simple.

Show up at the Punxsutawn­ey Groundhog Little League Field Friday evening, May 20, at 5:30 p.m., bringing your appetite for refreshmen­t and your desire for some wholesome fun.

Free Klondike bars will be distribute­d to all in attendance throughout the duration of the baseball games being played.

The idea for sharing the refreshing treats with the community originated with the desire of Delbert Reitz’s family to celebrate his life and honor his memory in a sweet way.

After a lengthy and difficult struggle with dementia and Parkinson’s disease, Delbert passed away in January this year. He was 92 years old.

His family said he was a man who loved unconditio­nally with his whole heart; a man of integrity and gentle spirit, who lived his life making people smile; and who loved Klondike bars. It didn’t matter what kind. Any flavor would suffice. If uncertain of what to get him for special occasion, a box of Klondike bars would work. Two or three boxes would even be better.

When deciding upon different charities for memorial donations after his passing, one of the two organizati­ons Delbert’s family chose was the Punxsutawn­ey Groundhog Little League. He had devoted over 20 years of his life to coaching at the original West End field location and was instrument­al in the developmen­tal stages of hands-on constructi­on in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s at the current field located on Maple Avenue.

A prime mover in the developmen­t of the Punxsutawn­ey Little League, he spent many days and evenings erecting fences, building dugouts and serving tirelessly to provide a place for children to enjoy the sport of baseball.

He was ultimately awarded the 1967 Booster of the Year award for his promotion of sports in the Punxsutawn­ey area, and was inducted into the Punxsutawn­ey Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2004.

Upon researchin­g the Klondike corporatio­n website recently to see if they would consider offering a discount for the supply of treats required, Kelly Reitz, Delbert’s daughter-in-law, was intrigued by their mission statement: “We Take Fun Seriously.”

With that in mind, Kelly reached out to their customer support team seeking any help in accomplish­ing a celebrator­y moment of spontaneou­s fun while recognizin­g two of Delbert’s favorite things, baseball and Klondike bars.

She wrote, “Our family would love to recognize the gift Delbert gave by hosting a Klondike Night at the Little League grounds this summer when the fields are full, and America’s favorite pastime is being enjoyed.

“We are in the process of finalizing plans with the local Groundhog League board to coordinate details, and plan to give away a Klondike to every person present in memory of Del.

“We are hoping to work with and support our local grocery store, Shop ‘n Save, by purchasing the Klondikes there.”

Much to her surprise, the Klondike team quickly responded with an offer to completely stock the Klondike Night at no cost.

They fulfilled that promise with the recent delivery of frozen treats, and weather permitting, they will be distribute­d on Friday by some of Delbert’s family members decked out in blue Klondike Night t-shirts.

A rain date is scheduled for Tuesday, May 23, at 5:30 p.m.

Nothing would bring a smile to Delbert’s face more than to know a special evening could bring the Punxsutawn­ey community together in a unique way, while providing fun and fellowship for families, his family said. The community is invited to consider carpooling, come out for some games and enjoy a delicious treat in his memory.

 ?? Photo submitted ?? Pictured is the late Delbert Reitz eating one of his favorite treats, a Klondike bar. In his memory, his family will be giving out free Klondike bars at the Groundhog Little League game Friday.
Photo submitted Pictured is the late Delbert Reitz eating one of his favorite treats, a Klondike bar. In his memory, his family will be giving out free Klondike bars at the Groundhog Little League game Friday.

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