Lester Martin Reed was born in Edmond, Okla., on October 4, 1926 to Martin Luther Reed and Daisy Randolph Reed. He passed peacefully from this life on July 14, 2016 at age 89.
Lester was raised by a strong and loving mother along with a large and loving family. After high school, he graduated from Oklahoma A&M College (now OSU) before honorably serving his country in Korea in 1951-52. Lester returned home to Edmond to complete his Masters degree at Central State College (UCO) and to begin his long career in education that included principal at Edmond Russell Dougherty Elementary, principal at both Jefferson Junior High and Northeast High School in Oklahoma City, and finally moving on to superintendent of Norman Public Schools (1964-1976).
He garnered high respect with his leadership, and his most proud accomplishments include opening various new schools including some with the new open classroom concept, the continued nourishment of Norman's outstanding music programs including the establishment of a new orchestra program under uniquely visionary leaders, and guiding Norman schools successfully through the turbulent times during the Vietnam War. He hired many gifted faculty members during this time who shared his vision of creating the best and most inspiring environment for critical thinking.
Lester later moved on to a successful career in the insurance industry helping many families achieve a financially secure retirement. His unique ability to form long lasting bonds with most people produced his legacy of a most beloved person. Many have called him the smartest and most honest person they had ever known. He was always a voracious reader of many subjects and his interests included everything political, the study of governments and of great leaders, all types of classical music, all sports but especially baseball and golf, and a passion for poetry.
Lester leaves a loving wife, JoAn, of 35 years; daughters Julie Reed of Seattle (children Zachary, Luke and Daisy); Lisa Reed of Portland Ore. (husband John Orr and children Clarke and Jacob), and son Larry of Norman (wife Lisa Harvey-Reed and children Jennifer Sanders and her husband Lance, Kristen, Sara, and Hayley.)Lester is survived as well by Joan Reed who was a good friend and mother of their children. He is also survived by stepchildren Robin Madden (husband Jeff and children Crystal with her husband Jeremy, and Corey); Randy Rachal (fiancée Denise Hopper and his children Ryan, Dustin and Cole); Pam Hooper (husband Randy and children Logan, Clayton and Shannon) and stepdaughter-in-law Janice Long (children T.J. and Shane), and many loving great-grandchildren.
Lester was predeceased by his parents and stepfather Haygood Bingham, his son David Reed, brother Fred Reed and sister Frances Smith, his nephew Steven Redd, as well as stepsons Terry Dean Long and Ricky Rachal.
It was very important to Lester that his body be donated to medical research. A memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, August 10, at the First Christian Church of Norman.
Published on August 1, 2016