SIDNEY — Joann “Jody” Reed, age 69 of Sidney, passed away Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at 7:45 AM at Kettering Medical Center. The following are Jody’s words:
I was born May 19, 1949, at Piqua Memorial Hospital in Piqua, Ohio, the only child of the late Jack and Mildred “Midge” (Tyson) Wilson. As a part-time writer, member of the Grammar Police, and control freak, I chose to write my own obituary.
From an early age, I was in love with animals. My Wilson grandparents lived across the street as I was growing up in Piqua and my grandfather, Ray, read me a book entitled Beautiful Joe by Marshall Saunders. Written circa 1896 in the vein of Black Beauty, this story was narrated by a mistreated mongrel pup named Joe who was rescued by Miss Laura, a young woman devoted to the care and rescue of orphaned, injured, or mistreated animals. Little did I know at age 5 that I would morph into Miss Laura as an adult. I was a founding member of the Shelby County Humane Society in 1975 and spent over 20 years with that organization, holding every office with the exception of treasurer. I became a vegetarian in 1986 when I could no longer justify eating one species of animal while nursing another species back to health. Even after my departure from SCHC in 1995, I continued to assist any animal needing help who crossed my path and there where many! Like-minded members such as Sandy Boecker, Jan Bruns, Doreen Rose, Kay Barlow, and the late Jean Rogers became lifelong friends.
Also from an early age, my father taught me the rules of football, baseball, basketball, and most other sports…not because he had hoped for a son but because it was his “nature to explain” everything and in great detail! I attended my first home Ohio State football game at age 5 and on Sundays made my friends go home so I could watch the Cleveland Browns on TV. Even though my dad had graduated from UCLA, he easily purchased OSU football tickets in the early 1950’s for $4.00 each. I knew from age 5 that someday I would be a student and graduate of The Ohio State University and that eventually happened in 1971. My freshman year roommate, Lynn Gale Martin, was matron of honor in our wedding and has remained a close friend over the years.
As a junior at Piqua High School in 1966, I was chosen as a delegate, along with 250 other US teens, to attend the YMCA World Youth Conference in Stavanger, Norway. My favorite toy as a child was a globe and I had already established pen pals in Australia, China, Japan, Guyana, Scotland, and East Germany so I was delighted to have been selected. For the 10 days of conference, and four weeks afterwards, we toured Norway, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Denmark…a very heady experience for a 17 year old. Friendships were forged then with people all across this country and the world that remain to this day: Pris Peterson Wood from Indiana, Sally Draper Zoll from California, Polly Hamilton Hilsabeck from North Carolina, and Bob and the late Carol Taylor from Colorado.
High school summer days were spent at Tecumseh Woods Swim Club in Piqua and nights at Fountain Park for Piqua Legion Post 184 baseball games. My mother was the swim team coach and I was always one of the last ones in the cold water of the pool for early morning practices. My favorite and best stroke was the butterfly; I was terrible at the breast stroke. I also had my eye on the All-Ohio second baseman on the Legion team, Gary Reed. On August 8, 1970 we were married and then lived in Columbus as I finished my senior year at OSU and Gary started his 40 year career in education at Reynoldsburg Junior High School.
We moved to Sidney in the fall of 1971 and started our family soon after. Daughter Amy arrived in November 1972 and son Ryan in June 1974. They are our best and most amazing accomplishments as they have become responsible, caring, and considerate adults. I love you two and am so proud to have been your mom.
We lived in various neighborhoods but soon made lifelong friends on Aldrin Drive where our kids could play outside safely all day long and we could send them off to Deam Park with one grown-up in charge. Cheryl Biggs, Pat Burmeister, and I have stayed close friends since those early days.
I enjoyed the time I spent with Charity League, the OSU Alumni Club of Shelby County, Sidney Cooperative Nursery School, Sidney Presbyterian Church, and Sidney City Schools. In college, I was a French major with no plans of becoming a teacher. I was sure I would become a lifeguard on a cruise ship, warbling French, swimming, and getting a marvelous tan. Plan A did not work out so Plan B was a re-train in the field of special education where I spent 30-plus years teaching middle school students in Sidney as either a saint or an idiot, depending upon whom you talked to! My co-teachers have been amazing, dedicated people and I have enjoyed working with all of them, especially my first mentor, Christy Johnson, now in Iowa, and then Kathie Fields and Troy Freytag.
Living long enough to have grandchildren has been a special blessing. Mason and Zoey Simindinger, children of Scott and Amy Reed Simindinger, and Hayden Robert Wilson Reed, son of Ryan and Kristin Reed, have been the light of my spirit, my heart and soul, and my window to the future. They need to know that in addition to all the good Reed, Wilson, Heitzman, Reid, Bowersox, and Simindinger genes, they are descended from hardy Hungarian immigrants, Ferencz and Anna Mehn Borbely, who immigrated to the US from Budapest in the early 1900’s to start a new life for their family. Anna, at age 19, traveled in steerage aboard the ship Francesca departing from the port of Trieste, France, with her 6 month old daughter (my grandmother) to join her newly emigrated husband in Philadelphia, learn the language and customs of a new land, and become a part of the great American melting pot. Mason, Zoey, and Hayden, you have inherited quite a legacy but I have complete faith that you will do it proud. You have received and will continue to receive the love, support, and guidance of your emotionally strong and well-grounded parents for which I can take at least partial credit. You are all marvelous individuals and I love you with all my heart.
No one could have asked for a better life partner than my husband and best friend, Gary. He is the kindest and fairest man I have ever known. He has indulged my passion for animals and bowed to my taste when it came to decorating. He has always been complimentary, thoughtful, and empathetic. He has an optimistic, sunny soul and always sees the best in any individual. He has given generously of his time and talents to the community of Sidney and Sidney is better for it. But his most outstanding accomplishments are as a husband, father, and grandfather. No one could ever have done it better and words can never express my love and thanks.
I do not have room to name all the other wonderful people who have touched my life but I am a better person for it. And I truly hope I am now in a place populated with the souls of furry four-footed creatures who, in this life, enhanced my existence a thousand fold. If you choose to remember me, please do it by planting a tree, enjoying a sunrise or sunset, appreciating the intricacy of a delicate spider web or a majesty of an old oak, feeling the sand between your toes, listening to the chuffing of dolphins or the gentle patter of a spring rain, and showing exceptional kindness to all living creatures. I will end with my life’s mantra, borrowed from Aesop: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” I love you all. Thank you and good-bye.
A Celebration of Jody’s Life will be held Friday, March 15, 2019 at 3 PM at Cromes-Edwards Funeral Home, 302 S. Main Ave, Sidney. Committal will be at Graceland Cemetery at a later date. The family will receive friends on Friday from 1 PM until the hour of service.
Memorials may be made to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Angel Canyon, Kanab, Utah, the Ohio State University College of Education, and SCARF.
Condolences may be expressed to the Reed family at our website, www.cromesfh.com