With heavy hearts, we dedicate this issue of his
beloved Re-ECHO to Bob Reiss. The following tribute was
written by Bob’s friend Don Swenson, just days after Bob’s
The founder and editor of the Re-ECHO, Bob Reiss, had
a talent for describing Park’s history in a concise,
interesting and often humorous way. He grew up at the
“turn-around” for the streetcar line (Lake Street, Walker
St. and Brownlow Ave.) where his parents operated a business
initially called “The Waiting Station.” During the 1930s
depression years, Bob and his three brothers helped their
dad and mom as they struggled through stages of being a
friendly tavern and then a café. By the 1960s, Bob’s
brothers Dick and Jim had developed the business into
Reiss’s, a well-known restaurant and supper club.
After Bob’s Navy service in World War II, he attended the
University of Minnesota and received a degree in electrical
engineering. In business he used his considerable talents
and outgoing personality in engineering sales. He didn’t
return to the family business, but he never lost track of
his St. Louis Park roots.
In the late 1990s, Bob joined a small but dedicated group
that was determined to promote the fledgling Historical
Society. He became active in the group’s functions, helped
to write the early history of St. Louis Park in the book
called Something in the Water, and promoted sales and
distribution of the publication. He came up with the idea
for the Re-ECHO newsletter and soon was in contact
with “old-timers” who were sending him comments that he
translated into interesting articles about early years in
Bob Reiss and Barbara Davis had a great deal in common. They
both grew up in The Park, they were members of Union
Congregational church, and both were widowed. Their marriage
was a fortunate event for the Historical Society. They spent
countless volunteer hours together as they helped to improve
the organization. With other board members they persisted in
supplementing the Depot location with a practical and more
visible spot at the Lenox Community Center.
With Bob’s passing we’ve lost a great historical resource.
His legacy, however, is a strengthened Historical Society -
to a large extent because he served with distinction as the
first editor of the Re-ECHO.