Highland News Leader

Know Your Neighbor: Lee and Angie Rinderer

Although America is viewed as a Christian country, God was removed from schools nation-wide June 25, 1962. Some have stated if Bibles had a place in schools, they would not be needed in prisons.

Lee and Angie Rinderer, staunch Catholics, have done and continue to do as much as two people can to perpetuate belief in and education about God through being supportive of Catholic schools.

Lee was born Jan. 13, 1964, in Highland to Henry and Norma Rinderer, when he became a little brother to first-born Boid. Their dad was a retired U.S. Navy veteran and their parents owned Hugs Men and Boys Clothing in the same building where Lee now owns Lee’s Loans, Jewelry &More.

Lee has many fond memories of, when age 7, he assisted his dad by cleaning floors and stocking shelves in their clothing store. He also remembers his strong Catholic upbringing and helping his parents decorate the town square for the Christmas holidays.

He played football at and graduated from Highland High School in 1982. He then became employed by B-Line Steel Manufacturers and was a volunteer fireman and emergency medical technician. He later joined his parents as they opened up a new clothing store. In 1986, Lee’s father passed away and the clothing store was closed. His mother began working for Ford Hotel Supplies in St. Louis.

Angie made her debut May 4, 1965, in St. Louis, but grew up in Bethalto. She was the second of five children born to Ed and Audrey Friedel; her siblings are Joe, Rene, Sue and Nick. Among her favorite memories is picking strawberries in the country with her dad and then sitting on their porch talking with him. She remains afraid on canines to this day due to a dog who regularly nipped at her feet as she rode her bicycle to town.

She attended Our Lady Queen of Peace Grade School and graduated from Civic Memorial High School in 1983. Angie earned a degree in business management and was ultimately hired by the same company where Lee’s mother was employed.

Because of the work connection, Angie and Lee met each other through company get-togethers and a romance blossomed.

‘I could tell he liked me’

“I could tell he liked me because he would always wait on me during picnics and social gatherings,” recalled Angie. “But he doesn’t do that any more,” she affectionately quipped.

After having dated for two years, they married June 17, 1989, in Bethalto.

They purchased a home in Highland and Angie spent four years with McDonald Douglas and later became a rating specialist for the U.S. government and has remained with them the last 29 years. Lee became a courier for jewelers for the next 13 years. During this time their family increased by two — a son, Adam, and a daughter, Alexa.

In 2002, the same building his father owned became available. It had been a pawn shop, but Lee transformed the nostalgic edifice into a fine jewelry store, which also offers loans. While Angie was working in St. Louis, Lee became “Mr. Mom,” and brought their children to work with him just as his dad had done many years before.

But that is not the only family tradition the Rinderers have perpetuated. They have willingly given their time, money, energy and emotions into contributing to a community which they believe reveres and promotes God and the Bible.

Giving back to community

They are openly pro-life and regularly participate in and promote the Pregnancy Care Center, the food pantry, St. Paul Catholic Church, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for the needy, Knights of Columbus, Jaycees, Rotary, Mater Dei Catholic School, Steward of Hope International, Highland Chamber of Commerce, Night at the Races, Newman Catholic Community, Optimists Club, and absolutely any charitable endeavor from a resident with cancer to a victim of a car wreck. Lee is also a police commissioner.

Why do the Rinderers give so much of themselves?

“We both grew up in families of modest means,” said Lee. “But we’ve been very blessed and believe in paying it forward. We want to contribute to making and keeping Highland the best place to live, work and play.”

Both reflected how they have seen the detrimental results of society “taking God out of everything.”

And they are especially concerned children now have to grow up in public schools where God and prayer has been removed.

Putting the Bible, prayer, back in public schools

William Jones, a professor at California State College, spoke at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., about putting the Bible and prayer back into U.S. public schools. Education expert William Jeyne said there was a correlation between the decline of U.S. public schools and the U.S. Supreme Court’s, USSC, 1962 and 1963 decision school-sponsored Bible reading was unconstitutional.

The USSC decided in Engle v. Vitale a prayer approved by the New York Board of Regents for use in schools violated the First Amendment because it represented establishment of religion. In 1963, in Abington School District v. Schempp, the court decided against Bible readings in public schools along the same lines.

Since 1963, Jeyne said there have been five negative developments in the nations public schools. They are:

  • Academic achievement has plummeted, including SAT scores;
  • Increased rate of out-of-wedlock births;
  • Increase in illegal drug use;
  • Increase in juvenile crime; and
  • Deterioration of school behavior.

“So we need to realize that these actions do have consequences,” said Jeynes. “When we remove that moral fiber, that moral emphasis, this is what can result.“

Jeynes propounded a thought-provoking query: “Now the question is, given that there is a movement to put the Bible as literature back in the public schools, can we recapture the moral fiber, the foundation that used to exist among many of our youth?”

Highland residents can be certain the Rinderers will not be shirking what they obviously believe is their God-given duty to promote His word and will wherever and whenever they can.