MANSFIELD — Though they lived in different centuries, Washington Irving was certainly describing Bob Reed when the essayist and biographer penned: “A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.”
A smile was certain, when greeting Bob Reed; by his simple presence, rooms brightened, and the gladness in his heart was infectious.
Always positive and thankful for the Lord’s many blessings, Bob was blessed again, enduring only a short illness, before going home to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Monday afternoon, Jan. 3, 2011. He was 92.
Born Robert Leroy Reed on Jan. 24, 1918, in Richland County, he was the third child and first son of Ray and Mazie (Teeter) Reed, who in 1926 bought his first car — a Model T Ford — for $6, and traded up from there. Hence began a lifelong appreciation of the automobile, treating them with great care.
Bob left the farm to work 15 years with the Tappan Stove Co., and thereafter bought his own milk route with Page Dairy. He returned to manufacturing in 1957, working in the press shop at Therm-O-Disc, and later as a senior inspector. In 1973, he moved to Aiken, S.C., and served as quality supervisor for Therm-O-Disc’s Aiken division until his retirement in 1980.
An avid golfer, Bob had holes-in-one on Bellville’s Little Apple golf course. His first was in 1980, and another in 1984. Bob played golf right up until last year, and every year looked forward to The Masters tournament.
There was much more to Bob than cars and golf and manufacturing: He was a man of deep devotion to God, and also to his own family. In 1939, he began attending Ankenytown Grace Brethren Church while dating Lois M. Bechtel. He and Lois were married there on Jan. 25, 1941. Dedicated not just to the Lord, but also to the local congregation, Bob served the rural church seven decades through visitation ministry — well after his wife’s death. He also served the church as Sunday school teacher, Sunday school superintendent, deacon, and just about every other position available at one time or another. While living in Aiken, Bob was instrumental in the founding of Aiken Grace Brethren Church.
As Lois grew frail, Bob doted and cared for her — always patient, always kind with never a harsh word. So respected for his integrity, no one didn’t like Bob Reed!
A gifted storyteller, every morning Bob would drive his latest car — “Goldie” a Chevrolet Impala — to meet with his coffee friends at Meijer’s to swap jokes and anecdotes.
He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and James Rosser of Mansfield; a granddaughter and her husband, Bethany and Philip Calendine of Mansfield; great-grandchildren Paige, Phoebe, Skyler, Dawson and Walker Calendine; brothers and sisters-in-law, Chalmer and Gerri Reed of Fredericktown, Duane and Mary Reed of The Villages, Fla., Marcy Reed of Mount Vernon; a sister, Inez Hershner of Mansfield; sister-in-law, Doris Bechtel of Mansfield; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 64 years, Lois, in 2005; and also by a brother, Galen Reed; and sisters, Irene Ruhl and Estella Randall.
His family will receive friends Wednesday, Jan. 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Lexington Avenue Snyder Funeral Home, Mansfield, and continue Thursday morning, Jan. 6, in Ankenytown Grace Brethren Church from 10 a.m. until time of his funeral service at 11 a.m. His pastor Dr. Gary Kochheiser will officiate, and burial will follow in Ankenytown Cemetery.
Contributions in his memory to the Ankenytown Grace Brethren Church may be made at the funeral home.
Snyder Funeral Home is honored to serve Bob’s family, and private condolences to them may be made online at www.snyderfuneralhomes.com.