Benjamin William Reed Jr., 88, of the Villages, FL passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, January 4, 2020. He was born June 2, 1931 to Pauline Henry Reed and Benjamin William Reed Sr in Dupo, Illinois.
He grew up in Decatur, Illinois and graduated from Decatur High School. He went to James Millikin University in Decatur before transferring to Purdue University in Indiana. He graduated from Purdue University with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering in 1955 and began his career with General Dynamics, Convair Division in San Diego, CA working on the F106. Since he wasn’t a farmer in Illinois growing corn, Illinois drafted him. He went through basic training at Great Lakes, IL and upon completion was selected to go to Officer’s Candidate School in Newport, RI. It was in Newport he met the love of his life, Patricia Smith. Graduating OCS in December 1956 he went to his first duty station, the Naval Air Test Facility in Patuxent River, MD. As an Aeronautical engineer he was assigned to Flight Test. He graduated from the Test Pilot School at Patuxent in the academic portion where he worked alongside test pilots who later went on to become the first astronauts. Some of his other assignments were the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, a tour aboard the Kitty Hawk Aircraft Carrier, the Navy Flight Safety Center in Norfolk, VA, and the Turbine Test Station in Trenton, NJ. He and Patricia were married in Providence, RI in June 1959. He left the Navy as a Lieutenant Commander to finish his retirement in the Reserves. They settled in Fairport, NY to raise their five children. He went to work for Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, NY and retired in 1996. An avid camper, they belonged to many clubs in NY, the Fingerlakers, Niagara Frontier Travelers as well as the Villages RV club. They travelled extensively in their motor home. They settled in the Villages in 2004. Ben belonged to many clubs, the Irish American Club, the Classical Music Club, Purdue Club and was an early member on the Guild for the Philharmonic.
He leaves behind his loving wife of 60 years, Patricia as well as his five children, Michael (Debbie) VA, Timothy (Sharon) TN, Sharon (Pamela) NY, Kevin (Kelly) MI, Colin (Gretchen) OK. Eleven grandchildren, Brittany and Christopher Reed, Trevor, Sean and Eric Reed, Connor and Owen Reed, Hannah and Eric Reed, Colin and Evan Andridge and two great grandchildren, James and Grayson Andridge. His brother, Patrick (Carol) Reed of St Louis MO, and many more nieces and nephews and wonderful friends. Ben was predeceased by his parents and by his sister, Ruth Reed.
A mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Timothy’s Church in the Villages at 8:30am on Monday, January 27, 2020. He will be interred at the Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, FL at 1:30pm that afternoon. All are invited.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your favorite Charity.