REED, Robert M., Media Executive, Age 79
Robert M. Reed, who had a long career as a leader in electronic and print media, died Saturday, September 17, at 7:10 p.m. in Winter Park, Florida. The cause of death was respiratory failure, according to the family.
Bob was born February 18, 1932, in Sheldon, Iowa. The third child of Carl and Hazel (Dockendorf) Reed, he grew up in nearby Marcus, Iowa, where his father was Station Master of the Illinois Central Railroad. He graduated from Marcus High School in 1949 and the Naval School of Music in Washington, D.C., in 1950. Bob’s enlistment in the Navy was extended during the Korean War and he served (as he put it) “3 years, 9 months, 14 hours, 10 minutes, and 17 seconds”; two years were spent in Korean waters in intelligence services.
After his discharge in 1953, he attended the University of South Dakota, then transferred to the University of Iowa where he received a B.A. in Speech (Radio/TV) in 1956. He worked his way through graduate school as the Assistant Film Director of the University of Michigan Television Center, receiving an M.A. from that institution in Speech (Radio/TV) in 1958.
Bob began a twenty-year career in educational (now public) television as Production Manager at WETV-TV (Atlanta) and moved to Director of Special Projects at WHA-TV and Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin in 1959. He founded the Hawaii Educational Television Network and served as its General Manager and Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii from 1962 to 1969.
He returned to the mainland and over the years served as Executive Director of the Syndication/Video Division for PBS at Indiana University and in Washington, D.C., and as General Manager at KUED-TV at the University of Utah. He left public television in 1978 to found the National Video Clearing House Inc., a publisher of program directories and trade magazines, in New York.
Bob retired in 1989 to write nonfiction, including the books Career Opportunities in Television, Cable, and Video (four editions), The Encyclopedia of Television, Cable, and Video, and The Dictionary of Television, Cable, and Video, all coauthored with his wife, Maxine (Max).
He then turned to writing fiction, specifically religious humor. Among his recent books are The Potluck Dinner That Went Astray, How to Survive Being a Presbyterian, The Choir That Couldn’t Sing, and a memoir of his fatherhood, They Were Only Here on Loan.
Music was a big part of Reed’s life. He played trombone in a Navy band and he led a Big Band dance band in his college days. He and his wife Max performed (with his banjo) in many venues and at private parties throughout their marriage. The duo was particularly popular entertaining at retirement communities after moving to Orlando in 2002.
He is survived by his wife of fifty-seven years, Max; their three children: Bob (Linda) of Winter Park, Fla.; Rick (Louise) of Alameda, Calif.; and Deri (Ira) of New York, N.Y.; as well as four grandchildren: Regina Reed, Reed Austen Saltz, and Connor and Kelsey Reed.
Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Reed Family, 8004 Woodfare Court, Orlando, FL 32817, and/or take the form of contributions in his name to the Reed Center-Box 321, Marcus Historical Society, Marcus, IA 51035.
A memorial service will be held at the Winter Park Presbyterian Church on Sunday, September 25, followed by a celebration of his life at the University Club of Winter Park. Burial will be in the family plot in Sheldon, Iowa. Loomis Funeral Home is handling arrangements.