James Edward Thomas Reed, 88, better known as “Eddie” was the fourth of six children of Jimmy and Grace Reed and their only son.
Adored and spoiled by his five sisters, he had a charmed life. Born on May 26, 1933 in Jay, Maine, he learned to speak French before English and whizzed through school, skipping two grades. He graduated from Livermore Falls High School in 1950 and then attended college at a Military Academy, Norwich University in Norwich, Vermont. At Norwich he was a member of the Theta Chi Fraternity, Alpha Chapter, he played several sports and made many lifelong friends. After graduation from Norwich in 1954, he joined the Army and served as a First Lieutenant. He was stationed at Fort Drum in Watertown, New York where he met his first true love, a petite, shy, little Italian girl, Nancy DeCilles. They were married on September 7, 1959. After getting stuck in the snow one too many times, Eddie said, “That’s it, I’m moving to California!” So they did and the journey began.
Starting in 1960, they had three children in a row, Dannie, Jimmy, and Bobby and then in 1969 Michelle came along to complete the family… all born in California. As he built his career as a business executive, he worked at Fairchild, the first business in what would later become the Silicon Valley. The 70’s would take him back to the East Coast in the great state of Florida where he worked for General Electric and settled in the beautiful town of Keystone Heights. After nearly a decade in Florida and faced with the prospect of having three kids in college at once he took on a new and more prosperous position with The Allen Group as a Vice President of Operations and once again moved the family, this time to Dalton, Ohio in the heart of Amish Country. He was most proud of the fact that all four children were able to graduate from the same high school. In the late 80’s, more changes were to come; A transfer to Connecticut and an early retirement to Pawleys Island, South Carolina.
By this time Dannie, his oldest daughter had moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, married Eric Eiler and was starting her family. In 1988, his first grandchild, Travis Eiler was welcomed into the world. Quickly following were Jim’s marriage to Robin Hagen and Bob’s marriage to Maureen Hogan. By 1993, he and Nancy had five grandchildren, Dannie with 3 boys, Jimmy with their first and only granddaughter and Bobby with the first grandson to carry on the family name. But as life would have it, tragedy struck when Nancy suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. The next four years were tough and lonely until he met Sharron Davis. She brought him back to life and they spent the last 24 years together. It was truly a blessing that he was able to find love again. They spent almost 20 years in Clearwater, Florida until he had a stroke and at that time they made the decision to move back to Myrtle Beach where Michelle had also settled with her husband James Smith. In 2011, his family had another tragedy when his oldest grandchild, Travis was killed while serving as a missionary in Kazakhstan at the young age of 23. Eddie’s last five years in Myrtle Beach were a blessing to all, as many wonderful family get togethers and memories were made.
He is survived by his four children, Danielle Eiler (Eric) of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, James K. Reed (Robin) of Akron, Ohio, Robert Reed (Maureen) of Wallingford, Connecticut and Michelle Smith (James) of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina and his bonus daughter, Terri Smokovich (George) of Ambridge, Pennsylvania. He was known as Pepere (pronounced PePay) which is French for Grandpa and will be greatly missed by his 16 grandchildren, some with spouses, Corbin Eiler (Brandie), Austin Eiler (Renee), Jenna Horner (Adam), Jaclyn Reed (Tyler), & James Edward Reed II, Brendan, Connor, Katie & Keera Reed, Heather Price (Jonathan), Brittany Vaughan (Kat), Kyndell & Kasey Smith, Adam & Noah Smokovich, 5 great grandchildren, Cameron, Cooper & Carson Eiler and Abigail & Makenna Eiler that will all cherish their memories with him. In addition, he is survived by one sister, Jeanine Wilkins (Hersey), of Turner, Maine, and two sisters-in-law Rosetta DeCilles of Dexter, New York, and Sharon DeCilles Van de Wiele (Leon) of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, and numerous nieces and nephews all across the country.
Eddie was very involved in life and he never met a stranger! He was a lifelong Catholic, a Veteran and a diehard Boston Red Sox fan. He traveled the world, became an avid golfer, served on the Petaluma, California Library Board and the Dalton City Council. He coached his boys in baseball, was President of many organizations such as the Petaluma Jaycees, the Keystone Country Club, the VFW, and many other groups.
A funeral service was held Sunday, April 24th at Burroughs Funeral Home in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. Burial will be in the Dalton Cemetery in Dalton, Ohio on June 4th at 11 a.m. with military honors and as requested by Eddie himself, a party to celebrate his life will be held at The Pines Country Club in Orrville Ohio on June 4th at 5 pm. All are invited! In lieu of flowers, a donation in memory of his grandson can be made to The Travis Eiler Scholarship Fund at Conway National Bank, 3591 Northgate Road, Myrtle Beach, SC 29588. Online obituary and guest registry are available at www.zakmonbarrenfh.com