Donna L. Reihl, dean of continuing education at CCBC
By By Frederick N. Rasmussen and The Baltimore Sun
Oct 13, 2011 at 4:03 PM
Donna L. Reihl, the dean of continuing education at the Community College of Baltimore County at Catonsville who had been named Woman of the Year by the Baltimore County Commission for Women, died Monday of colon cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson.
The Parkville resident had celebrated her 60th birthday this month.
A daughter of farmers, Donna Lee Ensor spent her early years on My Lady's Manor farm until moving with her family to White Hall.
After graduating from North Harford High School in 1969, she earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1973. In 1982, she earned a master's in recreation administration and supervision from Morgan State University.
In 1998, she earned a doctorate in business management from California Southern University in Santa Ana.
Dr. Reihl was a substitute teacher at North Harford High School in the early 1970s, until taking a job in 1976 in residential services at the Maryland School for the Blind. In 1980, she took over as director of recreation at the Northeast Baltimore school.
She began her career at the school as a senior house parent and then was promoted to supervisor of group living. From 1980 to 1990, she was supervisor of recreation and a resident program specialist.
Dr. Reihl later became therapeutic recreation coordinator, and from 1992 to 1993 took on an additional role as development specialist, writing foundation and grant proposals. Additional duties included donor cultivation, planned giving, capital campaigns and coordinating special events.
"I went to the school for an interview in 1980, and that's when I first met her, and then she hired me to work in residential services," said her husband of 29 years, Tim J. Reihl, director of support services for Creative Options Inc., a private nonprofit organization that offers support services to disabled Marylanders.
After leaving the Maryland School for the Blind in 1993, she was named director of the Richard E. Hoover Rehabilitation Services for Low Vision and Blindness at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.
Dr. Reihl joined the Community College of Baltimore County in 1997 as coordinator of Allied Health and Human Services and later was director of the Owings Mills and Hunt Valley satellite centers, with oversight for fall credit and noncredit courses.
She also developed long-term budgets for the centers that served more than 7,500 credit and noncredit students per year, and also supervised the teaching staff.
Since 2006, Dr. Reihl had been dean of community education and service.
For the last five years, Cherie Miller had been Dr. Reihl's assistant.
"Donna was an amazing person. I've never known anyone with such positive energy who always brightened rooms with her smile and laughter," Ms. Miller recalled Thursday.
"She was a move-forward person who was always encouraging her team here. She touched so many people, and she mentored people both in small and large ways," she said.
Terilynn R. Murray, a program specialist at CCBC in the 1990s, was a close friend.
"I worked with her at CCBC, and we've been friends for 30 years. She was a dynamic, forward-thinking idea person who had the necessary follow-through," said Ms. Murray. "She was a wonderful colleague, and there wasn't anything she wouldn't do to help others. Donna really was a phenomenal person."
In addition to her work at the college, Dr. Reihl had served on the boards of the Pikesville Chamber of Commerce and the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland.
In 2003, Dr. Reihl was named Woman of the Year by the Baltimore County Commission for Women, and her daughter, Sara C. Reihl, was named Young Woman of the Year. It marked the first time in the organization's 21-year history that a mother and daughter received the awards.
"I was stunned to receive this award. I was absolutely speechless, it was such an honor. If you do the things you believe in doing anyway, you never think you're going to get an award for it," Dr. Reihl told The Baltimore Sun at the time.
"I think I was even more excited about Sara winning. … It's just very special to see your daughter win something," she said.
Dr. Reihl was diagnosed in April with the cancer that would claim her life.
The Morning Sun Newsletter
Get your morning news in your e-mail inbox. Get all the top news and sports from the baltimoresun.com.