In early September, Paragon Water’s George Lutich and David Swain issued a joint statement about the loss of their colleague, Steve Reif: “It is with great sorrow that we have to say goodbye to not only a co-worker, but a dear friend. Steve has been a part of the Paragon family since 2011. His contributions to Paragon go far deeper than his work. Steve was a devout Christian and his family was his life. We have all been touched by him and our lives are better for knowing him. Steve will be missed beyond what any words can express. He helped guide everyone’s moral compass here at Paragon, as a mentor and a pillar of strength that will always be remembered.”
oct2016_reif_obit-2Steve Carl Reif, born in Dallas, TX on March 23, 1960 to William and LuraLee Reif, left our world on August 20. An avid sportsman from an early age, he spent most of his childhood in Westchester, IL, where he played Little League baseball, ran track and played football for Proviso West High School. Reif chose Valparaiso University to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering and also play football. After two years, he dropped football to spend more time on his degree and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in mechanical engineering.
oct2016_reif_obit-1Reif’s first job was at Spraying Systems in Naperville, IL and he later accepted the position of Director of Engineering at Culligan in Northbrook. In January 2011, Reif joined Florida-based Paragon Water Systems as VP of Engineering and Regulatory Compliance, responsible for engineering design and product certification. An active industry member for many years, he took part in several industry compliance task groups and was appointed to the Water Quality Association’s Water Sciences Committee. Reif also served on the NSF Drinking Water Treatment Unit Joint Committee as a voting representative for the industry.
oct2016_reif_obit-5Tributes to this well-known and deeply respected industry specialist arrived quickly.
“I had the distinct pleasure of working with Steve on numerous committees and working groups for many years. A calm, rational thinker, he was always prepared and ready to contribute to the task at hand. Steve’s contributions to the betterment of the water treatment industry will be greatly missed, as will his ready smile and keen sense of humor. The suddeness of his passing was a shock to all and the ripples will continue to be felt by those who have known and worked with Steve.”
—Steve ver Strat, Amway
oct2016_reif_obit-3“It is a great loss to lose someone of the caliber of Steve Reif. He was a hands-on engineer with great problem solving and innovation skills. Devoted to his family, friends and his job. Always caring and giving. It was a blessing to have been able to work with Steve.”—Frank A. Brigano, PhD, VP, Research & Development, KX Technologies
“Steve was an invaluable member of the water filtration community. He served as a member of the Drinking Water Treatment Unit Joint Committee for six years with Paragon Water, helping enhance the NSF/ANSI Drinking Water Treatment Units standards. In addition, Steve recently completed his tenure as the Chair of the NSF Industry Forum. We will always be grateful for his contributions to the drinking water industry and are deeply saddened to hear of his passing.”
—Stefan Buck, Business Unit Manager-Global Water Programs Filtration Division, NSF International
oct2016_reif_obit-4“I have had the privilege of knowing and working with Steve for over 10 years. He was old school, a consummate professional, completely dependable, hugely knowledgeable and more often than not, right in the advice he gave. As both a business colleague and supplier, Steve was the ‘go-to’ man. He never denied a request and would always give you a straight answer, even if he knew you might not like the news. I never heard Steve be angry or unreasonable; communication would be with a smile and, if you were lucky, a small dose of acerbic wit. My thoughts go to his family at this time. I am sure they sorely miss such a caring partner and a great father. Steve, your family, work colleagues, business acquaintances and our industry have lost, as they say in England, a diamond geezer.” —John Courtney, Managing Director, Pureflo Ltd.
“Steve was a consummate professional and an extension of our organization. In addition to being a subject-matter expert, Steve was a generous man with a good heart. He will be missed by all of us at Aquasana.” —Jay Martin, COO of Aquasana
“The contributions Steve made in the water treatment industry will be etched in his legacy for many years to come. He brought a wealth of knowledge driven through a lens of high morals and ethics that I admire and aspire to replicate in my professional and personal life.” —Don Avent, Culligan
Reif is survived by wife, Sharon, son David, twin daughters Kristen and Jennifer, brother Mike and sister Debbie. Donations may be made in his name to any of these charities: Cancer Research Institute (Web Donation, One Exchange Plaza, 55 Broadway, Suite 1802, New York, NY 10006; donation form at; Cure Alzheimer’s Fund (34 Washington Street, Suite 200, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481, donation form at or Hope United Methodist Church (2200 Little Road, Trinity, FL 34655-4413).


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