On June 9th, 2014 Reed passed away at his home in Santa Rosa. He had been diagnosed with terminal cancer in April and was looking forward to joining his beloved wife of 67 years, Elaine, in heaven. Reed was 94 years old. Reed is survived by his four children Alan (Elaine), Lauren (Don), Gail (Ken), and Alison (Jim), eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild, as well as his sisters-in-law Dene and Alyce and their families. He was predeceased by his wife, Elaine, his parents Howell and Adelaide (Betty) and two brothers, Chet and Gordon as well as his nephew Mark and granddaughter Amy McCann. Reed and Elaine met at Thornton Fractional High School in Lansing, Illinois. Their first date was a tennis match, won by Elaine! They were married shortly after their college graduations, he from the University of Chicago and she from Illinois State. Reed served in the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war, he obtained his Master's degree from the University of Chicago. After teaching for a few years in Chicago, he accepted a position as the Dean of Instruction at what later became Diablo Valley College in Martinez, CA. During this time, Reed also earned his Ed.D. from Stanford University. In 1961, Reed became the Superintendent of the South County Community College District and President of the newly-created Chabot College in Hayward, a position he would hold for 20 years. Reed was a staunch advocate of the community college concept. The building of Chabot College and the quality of its faculty and programs were some of the things of which Reed was most proud. During this time, he was also President of the California Junior College Association, Chairman of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community Colleges, Member of the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges, and on the board of the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges. In 2010, the Visual and Performing Arts Center at Chabot College was renamed the Reed L. Buffington Visual and Performing Arts Center. At that time, a resolution was introduced into the California State Assembly commending Reed for his accomplishments in the area of education and a tribute to him was read into the United States Congressional record. In 1981, Reed retired from Chabot College and went to work for Lucky Stores as Senior Vice President of Administration. He also served on the company's Board of Directors for fourteen years. Upon retiring from Lucky, Reed and Elaine, along with his brother Chet and sister-in-law Dene (who is also Elaine's identical twin!), built their dream home in Kenwood. The two families had one house designed to accommodate both families and called their new home "Twin Cedars" in honor of the beautiful trees that adorned the property and the twins that inhabited it. The Buffingtons became involved in many community activities. Reed became a driver for the Volunteer Wheels program operated by the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County. He spent 12 years driving and 19 years on the Board of Directors of the Volunteer Center. In addition to volunteering, Reed also enjoyed travelling, listening to classical music and reading. He had a lifelong love of learning, and kept his mind active by taking video courses through the Great Courses program. Above all, it was the joy of family and friends and the love that they gave that Reed cherished most. In his memoirs, Reed stated, "It is for others to judge us but whatever else we may say, we have been honorable, honest, and responsible". Reed wished to thank his caregivers and staff at Oakmont Gardens Senior Living, Heartland Hospice, and Senior Resources at Home for the loving care that they gave to him during his final months. A celebration of Reed's life will be held on Sunday, June 29th at 1:00 p.m. at Daniels Chapel of the Roses, 1225 Sonoma Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA. Donations in remembrance of Reed may be made to the Redwood Empire Food Bank or the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County.
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Daniels Chapel of the Roses
1225 Sonoma Avenue Santa Rosa, CA 95402
Published Online in the Press Democrat from June 24 to June 29, 2014