John G. Reed Jr. died October 18, 2010, at the age of 80 at his home in Washington, D.C., from lymphoma.
Mr. Reed was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 15, 1930. His mother, Bessie T. Engley, and his stepfather, Roger W. Engley, raised him in West Tisbury on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. While a student at the University of Massachusetts, Mr. Reed met Dorothy C. Reed. They married on June 19, 1953, and their marriage lasted 53 years, until Dorothy’s death in 2006. Mr. Reed graduated from the University of Massachusetts cum laude, with a BA in English, in 1952. He received an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School in 1956.
Mr. Reed served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War as an operational intelligence officer in the Strategic Air Command. He entered the Reserves when he left active duty, retiring as a Major.
The Air Force posted him as an intelligence officer in Roswell, N.M., during the early 1950s, breeding great curiosity in his sons about the nature of his work. He confirmed there are no aliens, but was circumspect about revealing details of his service. He had a top secret security clearance, was a serious man, and was noted for his fidelity, honesty, and integrity.
Mr. Reed achieved great success in an international agribusiness career spanning more than 50 years. He began his career in Rocky Mount, N.C., as CEO of a small grain processing company. He later worked for Allied Mills in Chicago, Ill., which merged into Continental Grain in New York, N.Y., where he worked as a Senior Vice President from 1973 until 1982. He joined Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) in 1982, where he worked until he retired. A variety of positions and postings with ADM included Vice President and Chief Executive-Europe, based in London, U.K.
Mr. Reed was a member of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade (APAC), a Chairman of the National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA), a member of the President’s Advisory Committee of the International Association of Seed Crushers (IASC), a member of the Board of Directors of the Corn Refiners Association (CRA), a member of the National Commission for Agricultural Trade and Export Policy, and a Vice Chairman and member of the Board of Directors of the American Trade Consortium (ATC).
Mr. Reed frequently testified before committees of the United States Congress and advised and consulted with the United States Trade Representative. He met many heads of state, including President Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev. Business travel took him to five continents, dozens of countries, virtually all of the world’s great cities, and many international locations far off the beaten path.
Mr. Reed retired in 2006 at the age of 75. Retirement, however, failed to quell his voracious appetite for news, economic and agricultural developments, and international affairs. He consulted and participated in trade associations until immediately before his passing.
Mr. Reed was also an athlete and a sportsman throughout his life, from swimming on his college team, to tennis and downhill skiing into his seventies. He passed on to his children his love of these sports along with passions for sailing, boating, and fishing. He lived in many places but “home” was always Martha’s Vineyard, where he kept the family homestead, maintained friendships going back to childhood, and where family and friends were always welcome.
Mr. Reed met Laurie Landy in 2008, and they married in 2009. Together, they shared their devotion to opera, music, and the theater, and engaged in numerous activities with their friends and community at the Watergate in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Reed will be remembered for his compassionate good nature, his quiet charm and warmth, and his unflagging support of family. His professional colleagues embrace his memory as a man of who achieved great accomplishments without ever sacrificing his integrity or gracious support for others. His friends remember his warmth and good cheer. His sons aspire to carry in them his character, devotion to family, love of scholarship, drive for achievement, joy in the mountains and at sea, an unwillingness to place personal gain before compassion for others, and support of those they love.
Services will be held in connection with the interment of Mr. Reed’s remains at the cemetery in West Tisbury on Saturday, August 13, 2011, at 11 am. All are invited to pay their respects.
Mr. Reed is survived his wife, Laurie Landy, two sons, David J. Reed and Edward J. Reed, their wives Deborah and Susan, and his grandchildren Stephanie, Meghan, Charlotte, and Catherine.