By Jim Newell
Shocked. Devastated.Those were the overwhelming emotions that flooded through many people who knew Anthony Reighard, family and friends who shared those sentiments when they heard on social media on Saturday that he has passed away.
Anthony Robert Reighard, beloved husband, father and son; Lake Orion businessman, philanthropist, civil servant and friend to many died unexpectedly Jan. 23 of a massive heart attack. He was 43-years-old.
He is survived by his wife, Christina, daughter Hailey, and mother and father, Donna and Rob Reighard.
And while the shock and grief that pervaded all those who knew Anthony and his family persisted – with hundreds of people offering condolences and support to the family – people also remembered Anthony’s love of his family, his love of the community – sharing found memories and photos and stories of his kindness and support.
Now, to celebrate his life, friends of Anthony’s have planned a public memorial service beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday in Children’s Park (between Anderson and Broadway streets) in downtown Lake Orion.
“It’s a big loss for this community. I want his daughter to see how much of an impact he had on this community. I want his family to see that this was a loss for everybody,” said Matt Pfeiffer, a close friend and colleague who is helping organize the memorial service.
Organizers ask that guests wear masks and observe social distancing guidelines during the memorial service. Pastor John Ball will lead a prayer and a DJ will play some songs that meant something to Anthony and the family.
“Then a handful of us are going to speak about Anthony and what he meant to this community,” Pfeiffer said. There will then be a moment of silence and closing comments.
“He was like my kid brother. I didn’t have a brother, but I would want him to be like Anthony if I did,” said Bill Kokenos, a friend of the family.
Both Reighard and Kokenos had a love of Detroit sports and Kokenos described Reighard’s impact on the community with an analogy: “If Orion had a Hall of Fame, Anthony would be right there.”
Kokenos said he was always impressed with how close the Reighard family was: “They’re such a tight-knit family. They need everyone’s thoughts and prayers, and a hug if you see them, and to respect their privacy while they mourn.”
Anthony Reighard was a mainstay in the Orion community for more than 20 years. He, along with his family, owned M&B Graphics in downtown Lake Orion and supported many area groups: from the Lake Orion Marching Band to the Lake Orion Lions Club Christmas for Everyone, the Orion Lighted Parade, the Veterans Memorial 5k, the Lake Orion Police Department Shop with a Hero and much more.
Pfeiffer worked with Anthony in the Orion Area Chamber of Commerce, but also received Anthony’s support on several charitable efforts, like The Real Men of Orion breast cancer fundraiser events and Design for a Difference.
“Literally everything we did he supported. If we ever needed anything, Anthony would always jump all in. He was just an incredible guy to work with,” Pfeiffer said. “He ran at a very high level.”
Anthony Reighard was the 2019 Orion Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business Person of the Year, an award he humbly received during the chamber’s annual Impact Awards ceremony.
“He has taken a business and made it, not only a business, but a community business. When you walk through the door, he makes you feel like you’re number one,” said Kokenos. “He will do anything he can to help the community.”
Reighard also served on the Lake Orion Downtown Development Authority Board of Directors from March 28, 2016 through Nov. 9, 2020. In 2018, he was elected board treasurer and then in 2019 until he resigned, he served as vice-chair of the DDA.
“My heart is heavy today. I am still in shock over my community’s loss of a beautiful human, Anthony Reighard. He loved his family, his home, and his friends happily and generously. He had the beautiful combination of being a learner, a thinker and a do-er. I will miss him. My heart breaks for Chris, Hailey, Donna, and Robert, his family who he loved and enjoyed so much,” said Molly LaLone, executive director of the Lake Orion DDA.
In 2018, for the LOPD Shop with a Hero, M&B Graphics created a special Shop with a Hero t-shirt. The first 100 people who walked into the LOPD office and donated $50 or more received the blue t-shirt with superhero graphics and slogan that read, “I am a hero’s hero.”
Reighard donated the shirts and printing to the program, said former Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh.
It was typical of Anthony and his family to support community groups, yet just enjoy the events without seeking recognition.
At the Miracle League Field opening on Aug. 9, 2019 in Friendship Park, the Reighard family sat comfortably in lawn chairs, perched atop the hill behind Homeplate, enjoying the game.
The Reighard’s were among the many locals who supported the development of the field, with M&B Graphics donating the lettering on the players’ jerseys and hats and four banners.