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Fred Riehle, 91, dies Monday at Eagan, Minn.

Fred Riehle had many friends and acquaintances in River Falls but his closest pal late in life was probably his dog, Betsy. The two were often seen strolling the town. Phil Pfuehler photo

Fred Riehle, familiar to some as the former owner of the River Falls Motel, later as the blade sharpener at Lund's Hardware, book repairman at the public library, deliverer of Meals on Wheels and class reader at Greenwood Elementary School, died Monday, April 19 at Caring Bridges of Eagan following a short illness. He was 91.

Riehle moved from River Falls to an assisted living facility in Oakdale, Minn., in August, 2007. His family moved him to Eagan about a year ago when he began to experience memory loss and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, according to his son, Joe. He still recognized family members however and even enjoyed a visit with his dog, Daisy, on Sunday.

Riehle lived in the same house at Third and Pine streets for 34 years. He and his late wife, Bernadette, moved here upon purchasing the River Falls Motel on South Main Street by Ramer Field.

In 2006, Riehle was named Volunteer of the Year at Greenwood School.

"It wasn't that he had the most volunteer hours, but because of the impact he had...Here was this elderly gentleman with no connection to Greenwood who walked to the school every day after lunch, even in winter, with (his dog) Betsy. The dog would sit outside our building while Fred was in class," said Michelle Swenson, volunteer coordinator.

"The kids were so glad to see him -- he was always friendly and just didn't act his age. He would give me a hug everyday for a greeting. Later I would say, 'See you tomorrow,' and he would say, 'Yep, I hope so.' "

Mass of Christian Burial is at 7 p.m., Friday, April 23, at Church of Saint Matthew (Hall Ave & Robie St., St. Paul) with visitation at the church starting at 4 p.m.

An obituary for Mr. Riehle appears in this week's River Falls Journal.