William Franklin Reed was born on September 20, 1932 in San Antonio, TX to Olin C. and Emma Louise Reed, and died March 1, 2018 at home in Orange Park, Florida. He was preceded in death by his first wife Ann Reed and his second wife Margaret Mary Reed. He is survived by his son John C. Reed and daughter-in-law Susie Reed of Hazlehurst, GA, grandchildren Justin and Leslie Ates and their children J.W., Joey, and Ellie of Richmond Hill, GA. He is also survived by his son Michael F. Reed, daughter-in-law Christine Reed, and granddaughter Mary Reed of Orange Park, Florida, along with his brother-in-law and sister-in-law Bill and Barbara Borger of Stuart, FL and their children.
A Texan only briefly by chance, he moved frequently as a child of the Great Depression while his father (known as "L.F.") found work anywhere he could to support them. He spent most of his childhood in Birmingham, AL alongside family and friends - especially his closest confidant Albert "Sonny" Bowen. From sneaking into Legion Field to antics with a wandering mule they found in the street and tied to a neighbor's tree, these friends for life never felt poor despite their modest means. Circumstances later took him to Florida to live along with extended family, a place he dearly loved and where he vowed to return one day.
After high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force to broaden his life experience and secure a better future. As a radar instructor and fire control officer in a fledgling surface-to-air missile unit, he spent his most enjoyable time in the service in Florida at Patrick Air Force Base. Near Daytona Beach, he met his first wife, Ann Penney Reed. The G.I. Bill would then send him to college.
Back in Alabama at Huntingdon College, he pursued his love of the English language, concentrating on his two favorite American authors: Faulkner and Hemingway. He and Ann created their own "Movable Feast", spending months following Hemingway's path and touring the great cities of Europe by car. He began a Masters in English at Emory and considered becoming a teacher, although the economic reality of supporting a young family saw him leave graduate school to pursue another career.
He soon settled in Jacksonville, taking a job at the Prudential and meeting another good friend for life, Joe Ryan. Here his first son, John, was born in 1957. During this time, he nurtured a lifelong passion for the card game Bridge, playing duplicate competitively and joining the American Contract Bridge League. After trying different job roles, he found his true interest in mortgage banking. A series of jobs took him to North Carolina and Virginia. He then spent several great years in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he formed everlasting bonds to the island, especially with his good friend "Tio Nene" Joglar.
A new opportunity brought him back to the States, where he worked in commercial mortgage lending for Stockton, Whatley, Davin and Company (S.W.D.) in Fort Lauderdale. He met his second wife Margaret Mary (Maggie), who worked at a title company he visited often, and in 1974 his second son Michael was born. He loved this time at S.W.D., overseeing many successful commercial real estate deals and opening a new company branch in Boca Raton. In Boca, he nurtured his second family and helped care for his ailing mother-in-law Clara. He enjoyed South Florida and particularly the Florida Keys, where many family vacations were spent fishing and swimming on Islamorada.
Eventually his career would take him back to the place it began in Jacksonville, where the family lived in Arlington and then Orange Park on Johnson Slough (found through the help of good family friend and realtor Gayle Miller). After more than 20 proud years at S.W.D., acquisition and corporate upheaval forced him and many of his colleagues to change jobs late in life to support their families. Thus began another tour of Florida with Barnett Bank, first to New Port Richey, then to Miami (just in time for Hurricane Andrew). After retiring for good, his love of real estate and exploring new areas of Florida brought him back to Fort Lauderdale (at River Reach with friends Hobart Gary, Dick Bennett, Barry Wildman and more) , then Astor on the St. Johns River (where he met good friends Russ Moyer and realtor Nancy Brand), Glenwood, Palm City (near Maggie's sister and brother-in-law), and De Land, where the love of his life Maggie succumbed to lung cancer in 2006.
Having lived in every corner of the state, in 2007 he returned home for the last time to North Florida to live in Orange Park with his son Michael, daughter-in-law Christine, and granddaughter Mary (sometimes known to Grandpa as Maxwell). Despite numerous health setbacks, thanks to expert care at the Mayo Clinic he enjoyed 11 more good years. He lived along the banks of the St. Johns River on Doctors Lake, traveled when he could on the family boat, and enjoyed many vacations on Amelia Island. He found renewed passion for playing fiercely competitive Bridge with his partner and fellow movie buff Jeff Allstadt. He reconnected with his good friend and mentor Bob Holley and many old friends from his career at S.W.D., known fondly as the "Core Group". And he watched his granddaughter Mary become a beautiful young lady, honor roll student, and accomplished dancer, while she cared lovingly for Grandpa - by his side every day until his last.
Though congestive heart failure took him away, he will be missed and loved forever. He lives through his family who are ever thankful for the opportunities he gave us, informed through his love of language,reason, and humor, inspired by his determination and hard work, and never far from the water's edge and all the places in Florida he cared for so deeply. As he often said in parting, quoting the closing of the NPR program The Writer's Almanac, "Be well, do good work, and keep in touch."