Gift of Nature
"The display of flowers in the fall is pretty spectacular," says Reichert's son, William, a professor at Duke University, "goldenrod and different kinds of aster and all kinds of wildflowers." The preserve, Lackey adds, is also "a wonderful place for bird-watching."
Reichert, a retired cardiologist, played a major role in the expansion of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital; its main outpatient building is named in his honor. But Reichert, who turns ninety-two in June, gives all the credit for the preservation of "the farm" to his late wife, Sue. An amateur biologist, it was she who first suggested they donate the property. "They're saying 'Dr. Reichert did a nice thing,'" he says. "Mrs. Reichert did a nice thing!'"
With three of their four kids living out of state, donating the land made sense to both of them, he allows. Reichert recalls that apart from the physical activities the family loved--swimming, skating, horseback riding, hiking--the land offered him escape from his high-pressure job. "You go out in the country and put things in their place." The donation agreement allows Reichert to visit the property any time.