Richard Rehberg died on Friday, March 3 at Wilson Memorial Hospital, after having suffered a stroke two days earlier. Richard had received a heart transplant which gave him 13 good years of added life. However, the combination of age and the many different anti-rejection medications finally took their toll. Richard died surrounded by his wife Aurora, his two daughters Heather and Kim, and his grandson Jeremy. Richard (Dick) Alan Rehberg was born on October 13th 1938 to Ida Mae and Louie Rehberg, on Long Island, NY. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business at Drexel Institute of Technology in1960, a Doctorate in Sociology at Pennsylvania State University, 1965, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Oregon in 1966. Upon completion of his post-doctoral research, Dick took a job at what was then Harpur College, which brought him to Binghamton NY. Over 30 years and two university name changes later, he retired from Binghamton University. While at Drexel, Dick met and married Patricia McLeister. The couple had two daughters, Heather and Kim. After a divorce in 1984, and a brief marriage to Julie Shaw, in 1991 Dick married Aurora Tansiokhian, his partner for the rest of his life. In addition to a full time teaching career, Dick worked on numerous grants and contracts, as well as being active in the community. He consulted for groups as varied as The Institute of Man and Science, and New York State Electric and Gas. He took leadership roles in fundraisers, charities, and was a frequent speaker at local events. Dick loved photography, ham radio and travel, but his greatest passion was his love of the environment. He was a fierce proponent of the theory of anthropogenic causes of climate change, and devoted considerable energy to reading, speaking, and working in an effort to raise community awareness and encourage people to change their behavior to show greater respect for our Mother Earth. Dick is preceded in death by both of his parents, Louie and Ida Mae Rehberg, and his sister, Lois Beamer. He is survived by Aurora Tansiokhian,and Patricia Rehberg, his daughters Heather Vonderfecht and Kim Grace, two sons-in-law, Brian Vonderfecht and Greg Grace, his 2 stepchildren Mary Dawn and John Patrick Co, 4 grandchildren, Jeremy Vonderfecht, Holly, Heidi, and Peter Grace, and his brother-in-law Jack Beamer and 3 nephews, Kevin, Glenn, and Michael Beamer.
A memorial service will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 183 Riverside Drive in Binghamton, on Saturday March 18th at 2 pm. All friends are welcome to attend. Donations can be made to Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, or National Public Radio.