Paul V. Reichelderfer was born on Oct. 31, 1913 in Atlanta, Pickaway County, Ohio to James L. and Dora Florence (Valentine) Reichelderfer. He studied mathematics at Ohio State, obtaining a B.Sc. in 1935, an M.A. in 1937, and a Ph.D. in 1939. He wrote his thesis entitled "Some Properties Of Continuous Transformations In The Plane," under the direction of Tibor Radó.
He was then an instructor at Ohio State 1939-40, at Stanford 1940-41, and at Chicago 1941-42. After spending World War II in government service, he returned as instructor to Ohio State in 1946. In 1947 he was promoted to associate professor, and in 1948 to professor. For six months in 1949, he served as acting chairman of the department, succeeding Radó who had resigned the position after being appointed University Research Professor.
In 1968 he left Ohio State to accept a position as professor at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where he remained until his death.
He was married to Aino Keress.
He died in Athens, Ohio on February 15, 1996.
Reichelderfer's area of research was geometric measure theory. He was the author of 25 publications in this area, including the research monograph "Continuous Transformations in Analysis. With an Introduction to Algebraic Topology". in the Springer Verlag Grundlehren series, which he wrote jointly with Radó. He directed 18 Ph.D. students, 15 of them at Ohio State. He also served as chairman of the Ohio section of the Mathematical Association of America.