Kenneth Ray ReedFayetteville, AR, 1940 - 2020
Kenneth Ray Reed, 79, of Fayetteville, Ark., passed away on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Born November 27, 1940, to the late William Glen and Clara Maude Hicks Reed, he was raised in the Hicks Community SE of Fayetteville. After graduating from Elkins High School in 1958, his first "real paying job" was working construction for Babe Miner, for whom he held much respect. Memories of 10 a.m. watermelon breaks brought smiles. He said he asked the Lord to forgive him for how those watermelons were obtained because he was just a kid. At the age of 13, he accepted Christ as his savior during a revival at Sulphur City Baptist Church. As a young adult, Dr. H.D. McCarty baptized Kenneth at University Baptist Church where he was a member for many years. Kenneth always had an American flag flying in his yard as a display of his pride in his country and his service in the 142nd Arkansas National Guard from 1961 to 1965.
A 34-year career at SWEPCO began in 1964 when Kenneth was hired by Jack Taylor to work at the Fayetteville office as a clerk. In 1980, he transferred to the Springdale office as the office manager. He was appreciative of a job which afforded him the opportunity to meet and help so many people. He belonged to Masonic Lodge #1 of Fayetteville and was given a lifetime membership to the Springdale Kiwanis Club.
Kenneth lived his life in the service of others. With a tender, hospitable heart, he generously gave of his time to lend a helping hand or shoulder to lean on, shared the bounty of his garden, and provided sage advice based on grace and experience. He used his natural gift of gab and incredible memory for names and dates to make connections with people. Upon meeting someone, he more likely than not recognized a person's last name, and after a few questions, he made connections of some kind – friends, family history, or where a person worked and lived. He was a walking resource for information about people and places in the Fayetteville area because "he knew somebody who knew somebody."
Simple pleasures were his favorites. He found great joy in gathering with friends and family to share good food and fellowship. He was known to pull a few pranks now and then and was always ready for a laugh. A good day including visiting with friends, beginning at Hardee's for coffee and a 3-minute biscuit prepared just for him. He then headed to Trinity Rehab for physical therapy; he was known to deliver goodies to share. After therapy, he met up with his friends from Charlie Cassat's upholstery shop for lunch at Grub's, where the crew had its regular table, was known by all, and received special treatment.
A natural story teller, Kenneth, could talk for hours. Conversations were never short, and one story led to another. His big smile and infectious laugh brought smiles to many. Family vacations were treasured; he strategically planned routes and sites to see. He had a great appreciation for our country and loved "seeing the countryside." In his later years, he enjoyed reminiscing about those trips recalling the routes taken, camping locations, and events. Spring and summer were his favorite seasons of the year because he had more daylight to be outside working in the garden or yard. He loved being on the tractor where he did some of his best thinking. For many years, he spent weekends at Beaver Lake. He never tired of working with new skiers and relished the cookouts shared after a long day of skiing and playing on the water.
Kenneth was a genuine man. He loved his family, and he took responsibility for its safety. During his wife's 37-year career at J.C. Penney's, she worked late and was required to close the store at least once a week. Each night she worked late, Kenneth was there helping to close up and make sure all of the female employees made it to their cars safely. During snowstorms, employees found their windows clear when ready to leave. He valued hard work, a person's word, and a firm handshake. His business card states how he tried to live his life…every day is a gift.
Kenneth was preceded in death by his parents, and one brother, Bill G. Reed. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Juanita Gabbard Reed of the home; a daughter, Jerri Foster (Dean) of Bella Vista; one son, Kevin Reed (Dwan) of Bentonville; five granddaughters, Emily Foster of Fayetteville, Erin and Elexis Foster of Bella Vista, and Avalyn and Abby Reed of Bentonville; one grandson, William Griffin Reed of Bentonville; and several nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, Kenneth requested memorials be made to Arkansas Children's Hospital Northwest P.O. Box 2207, Lowell, Ark. 72745 or The Parkinson's Disease online at firstname.lastname@example.org. A graveside service will be held Tuesday, August 4, 2020, at Fairview Memorial Gardens at 10 a.m. A celebration-of-life event will be held at a later date. Online condolences may be made to www.beardsfuneralchapel.com
Published August 1, 2020
OBITUARY SUBMITTED BY:
Beards Funeral Chapel
855 S. Happy Hollow Road, Fayetteville, AR