James R. Reisch, a former Buffalo News financial reporter and copy editor whose quest to uncover the story of his birth and adoption was detailed in the book "A Child Out There," died Saturday in Greenville, Mich. He was 81.
Born in Buffalo, Mr. Reisch spent most of his childhood in Eden, where he met Gloria-June F. Myers. They married in 1949 and lived in Hamburg for 49 years before moving to Michigan in 1998 to be with their children.
A 10-year Navy veteran, he served aboard a submarine tender in the South Pacific during World War II and later served during in the Korean War.
After graduating from George Washington University, where he studied foreign affairs and journalism, he joined The Buffalo Evening News as a dictation clerk in 1953.
As a general assignment reporter, he wrote neighborhood columns and military news -- an assignment that took him to many bases around the country. In 1959, he moved to The News Financial Department, where he covered the transportation industry.
Mr. Reisch became a financial copy editor in 1967 and transferred to the general copy desk in 1981. He retired in 1993. From 1965 to 1968, he was also on the staff of the weekly Hamburg Sun, where he wrote news stories, features, editorials and columns, took photographs, edited copy and made up pages.
The Reisches were active in Hamburg as Scout leaders, volunteers for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Hamburg Holidays, the Parent-Teacher Association, Hamburg Little Theater, SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Church and AIDS Community Services.
In retirement in Greenville, Mr. Reisch worked daily with pupils in Walnut Hills Elementary School who called him "Grandpa Jim." He and his wife formed the Reisch Family Fund for Children, which is managed by the Greenville Area Community Foundation.
The book about life as an adopted child was written with his half sister, Sandra Picone, whom he did not meet until he was 65. It told the stories of their biological mother, Lillian Corcoran, and of Marie Reisch, who raised Mr. Reisch.
Gloria Reisch died in 2003.
Surviving, besides Sandra Picone, are a daughter, Frances Schuleit, and a brother, Lawrence.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Thursday in St. Charles Catholic Church, Greenville.