I spent many hours at Rehl’s reading his Mad magazines. And also smelling the pipe tobacco in glass jars.

Rehl's - a 6th Street fixture since 1914. Rehl's looked like this in 1955. That's Jack Rehl looking out the window at the left.
Racine Journal Times, Sunday, Oct. 12, 1975, from Rip Holly
from Dennis Tully

Cheryl Ackerman Thomson: Todd, my boyfriend now husband used to turn in his money at Journal Times, then over to Kewpees for a burger and on to Rehl’s to look at the mags and buy another Mad Magazine. He just had to show his allegiance to Alfred E. Newman!

Cheryl Ackerman Thomson: I loved smelling the tobacco when I would go with my grandpa to get his pipe tobacco! We got our snakes at Nelson’s in West Racine!

Suzann Brau: I played piano for the dance studio that use to be upstairs. When I was done for the day, I would go into Rehls and “snoop” at everything while waiting for my bus, to go home. I remember the smell of the tobacco. There were lots of unique things in that store. I usually bought my True Story magazine there.

Jack LeRose: Best mag rack in town and OB always had a crack for ya. Kewpees and Mad or Cracked made a great afternoon at the Y that much better!

Kathryn A. Strege: The solid wood built in cabinets were beautiful

Gerry Grzyb: Often popped in there before taking the bus home after a day of learning at St. Mary’s.

Paul Doebereiner: Loved Jack’s dry sense of humor. Was in there many times over 22 years of working downtown

Steve Schneider: Back in the Twenties they sponsored a semi-pro football team. My father and Rell Barrett’s father was on it. They won three Wisconsin State Championships in a row.

Jim Windsor: Note that the picture was taken by Art Haas. He was one of the JT’s great photographers from that era. Always had a unique style and warmth to his pictures.

Steve Tajnai: Went there to read, buy a magazine, buy a cigar and then off to Kewpees.

Helen Cline: Use to catch the bus to go hone from downtown right across the street from there. Memories

Chris Kongstvedt Lieberman: Wasn’t there a room connected that sold used books?

Jan Sheppard: We would stop in there on the way home from St. Mary’s school. We took the bus, white line, Kinzie Av. Big brother, big sister and me.

Marge Stacey: Yes. They would let us stay inside from the weather while my brother and I waited for for the blue line to Washington Park neighborhood. I remember the owner always smoking a cigar while he tended the cash register.

Kathy Morgenson: I worked downtown for many years. I’d go there several times a week. Had to get my Cosmo there! In the back were paperbacks. I still remember when I went in to buy the Playgirl issue with Burt Reynolds as the centerfold. Jack look at me over his glasses and shook his head. I told Playboy wasn’t my thing. He had to chuckle!

Alan Karls: My Saturday morning schedule was ride my bike to the Journal Building to pay for my paper route, to Kewpies for a double hamburger, fries, and root beer for breakfast, then to Rehl’s to page through girlie magazines until yelled at, then buy four science fiction paperbacks for the week.

Donald Piggins: Mad Magazine there or at Canteen Pharmacy — Tim, I remember well your dad working there — loved the fragrance of tobacco

Thom Petersen: Got all my Hot Rod Magazines there!

Sam Rogers: Rehl’s Cigar Store, I loved the aroma in there and the wooden floors and decor!

Sally Sorenson: Sat at the counter on stools drinking cherry cokes waiting for the Green or White Bus line to go home.

Rehl's Book Fair
Baseball Fans ... Read
VEEK -- as in Wreck
Wonderful Wisconsin
Racine Journal Times, March 27, 1963
Rehl’s Pipe Special, Racine Journal Times, February 21, 1960

CBS spotlights Racine couple
Racine Journal Times, Jun 15, 1995

Jack and Mary Rehl interviewed about soldier killed during WWII

by joseph a. scolaro

photo by Charles S. Vallone

cutline: Former cigar store owner Jack Rehl and his wife, Mary, are interviews by CBS correspondent Wyatt Andrews at Rehl’s home at 2005 Chatham St. The segment will air a week form today on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.

A CBS television news team swept into a Racine home Wednesday, the logistics similar to a military excursion.

First came two technicians driving from the south, with bags of wires, cameras, lights, microphones and video monitors.

Then, from the east, a producer and reporter flew in, directing the operation and asking questions.

A Racine couple’s living room turned into a makeshift studio, with furniture shoved in strategic positions, wires crisscrossed on the floor and lights placed overhead.

With the mission accomplished, they left as quickly as they came. The producer boarded a jet at Batten Field, bound for Washington D.C. The reporter raced to O’Hare International Airport to catch a flight to Los Angeles. The technicians drove back to their regional base in Chicago.

Their vehicles were plain colored, with no large CBS markings.

“The enormity of the thing was overwhelming,” said Jack Rehl, whose home at 2006 Chatham St. became the makeshift studio about 11 a.m. “They came in with all this equipment.”

Wyatt Andrews, a correspondent for the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, interviewed Rehl and his wife, Mary, about a U.S. soldier killed 50 years ago in Okinawa during World War II.

Parts of the interview are expected to appear during the 5:30 p.m. CBS Evening News broadcast a week from today.

Andrews said CBS is producing a news story about the 50th anniversary of the battle at Okinawa.

“We want this piece to focus on the men who gave their lives,” Andrews said.

CBS is profiling several soldiers who were killed, one being George Murphy, who was Mary Rehl’s first husband and Jack Rehl’s friend.

The CBS team used four 20-minute video tapes during their interview with the Rehls.

Jack Rehl said Andrews was nice, courteous and professional. At times, the television correspondent was very persistent, he added.

“He would ask the same questions over and over,” Rehl said. “He was looking for something and he kept asking, hoping he would get it. It was emotional at times.”

Rehl said Andrews kept asking what he thought Murphy would be doing today, had he not been killed in the war. He also asked what type of person Murphy was.

Murphy was quiet, unassuming, reliable, unique, with a high sense of morals, Rehl said, noting he was unsure if his repeated responses satisfied Andrews. And as to what Murphy would be doing today, Jack and Mary Rehl said they had no idea, other than maybe being a football coach.

Mary Rehl married Murphy in 1942. Both grew up in West Bend, Ind. Murphy studied at Notre Dame, where he became a captain on the football team.

Jack Rehl, then a student at Marquette University, met Murphy in March 1943 on a train to a U.S. Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. They later both trained at the Marine officers school in Quantico, Va.

During that time, Rehl and Murphy became friends. They were split up, however, with Rehl going to Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Murphy going to Camp Le Jeune, N.C.

Rehl never saw Murphy again.

Murphy, 24, a combat officer in the 6th Marine Corps Division, 29th Regiment, was killed May 15, 1945, by mortar fire during the U.S. Marine and Army assault against the Japanese at Okinawa.

Rehl, a Racine native, served in the 5th Marine Corps Division, 2nd Armored Amphibious Battalion, and fought on the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima.

After the war, Jack Rehl visited Mary in South Bend, Ind., to pay his respects for Murphy. They ended up going to several Notre Dame football games.

They married Dec. 27, 1947, and Mary moved to Racine to live with Jack who, after graduating from Marquette Law School, owned and operated Rehl’s Cigar Store. He has since sold the store, which is now called Eastside Emporium, at 300 Sixth St.

CBS News researched the whereabouts of Murphy’s survivors at Notre Dame, where they discovered Mary Rehl’s name and Racine address.

Looking back
Racine Journal Times, Sep 17, 1994

It was probably in the early 1930s when Virgil Standiford, a clerk at Rehl’s Cigar Store on the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Wisconsin Avenue posed for this photo. Rehl’s, which sold magazines and newspapers as well as pipes and tobacco products was a longtime Downtown Racine fixture and is still the site of a cigar store and newsstand. It was opened in 1914 by Joseph Rehl. His son Jack ran the business from 1952 until 1984. Initially the store included a pool room in the back with five tables. Eventually, the number of pool tables was cut to three until they were taken out in 1961 and the area turned into a paperback book store. In the mid 1920s, a soda fountain was added, but it was removed later. The photo was submitted by Patricia Jordan of 2200 Washington Ave., Standiford’s stepdaughter.

Published in Racine Journal Times from June 19 to June 22, 2006

RACINE – Mary K. Rehl, 85, with her devoted husband, Jack, by her side, passed away peacefully Saturday evening, June 17, 2006, at Ridgewood Care Center. She was born in Plymouth, Ind. October 8, 1920, daughter of the late Ralph and Grace (nee: Bohlman) Miles. On December 27, 1947, at South Bend, Ind., she was united in marriage to John M. ‘Jack’ Rehl. Together they owned and operated Rehl’s in Downtown until retiring in 1984. She was a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church and the Altar Society. Mary enjoyed gardening and golfing with the Women’s Golf Clubs at Johnson and Shoop Parks. Above all, she was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. She will be dearly missed. Surviving are her husband, Jack; three grandchildren, John (Emily) Steele of Downingtown, Pa., Theresa (Timothy) Butts of Exton, Pa., Matthew (Wendy) Steele of Charlestown, W.Va.; six grandchildren; special friends, John and Dolores Duffy; other relatives and dear friends. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, George Murphy, who was killed while serving his country with the United States Marine Corps in the Battle of Sugar Loaf Hill on Okinawa during World War II. She was also preceded in death by her daughter, Mary Grace Steele on December 1, 2000. A Mass of Christian Burial will celebrated Saturday, June 24, 2006, 11 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 1100 Erie Street, with Rev. Ricardo Martin officiating assisted by Deacon Russell Missureli. Relatives and friends may meet Saturday at the church 10 a.m. until time of Mass. Memorials to the Alzheimers Association have been suggested. A special a thank you to Hospice Alliance for their loving and compassionate care. MARESH-MEREDITH AND ACKLAM FUNERAL HOME 803 Main Street 634-7888

It was probably in the early 1930s when Virgil Standiford, a clerk at Rehl's Cigar Store on the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Wisconsin Avenue posed for this photo.
It was probably in the early 1930s when Virgil Standiford, a clerk at Rehl’s Cigar Store on the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Wisconsin Avenue posed for this photo.

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