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Honorable Edward C. Reed Jr.

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Honorable Edward C. Reed Jr. Obituary
Honorable Edward C. Reed, Jr.

July 8, 1924

June 1, 2013

Senior U.S. District Judge Edward C. Reed Jr. (Ed) passed away Saturday, June 1, 2013 of natural causes. He was 88 years old and was a native Nevadan. Ed was born on July 8, 1924, in Mason, Nevada, near Yerington, to Edward C. Reed, Sr. and Evelyn Walker Reed. His mother was a third generation and native Nevadan and was born and grew up in Genoa. His father was originally from San Francisco and later Davis, California, and met his mother while they were both attending the University of Nevada in Reno. His father was a great athlete at the University of Nevada, starring in football in the early 1920's, and was one of the initial inductees into the University of Nevada Athletic Hall of Fame in 1973.

After the family moved to Reno in 1928 from Yerington when his father was appointed the Washoe County Extension Agent as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ed attended local Reno schools, including Mount Rose Elementary School, Billinghurst Junior High School, and then Reno High School. His brother, Marshall, was born in 1928 and attended the same schools. Ed was a natural athlete, and at 6'3", he was an all-state basketball player at Reno High School, playing center on a team that went to the State Championship game in 1942 against White Pine High School. Ed graduated in 1942 from Reno High School at the top of his class academically.

Ed entered the University of Nevada in the fall of 1942 and played basketball one year at the University of Nevada. He played on the team that defeated nationally ranked St. John's University at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and when the team arrived back in Reno they received a hero's welcome.

Ed enlisted in the United States Army in the spring of 1943 at the age of 18, having been able to only complete one semester at Nevada. In the Army he was given the opportunity to go to Officer's Candidate School and become an officer, but he turned it down so that he could get to the action in the war as soon as possible. Ed was in the 86th Infantry Division, the "Black Hawk" Division. The division was sent to the European Theater of War in the winter of 1944-1945. Near the end of the war he was captured by the Germans near the front lines along with several other soldiers, and was a prisoner of war for a short time. He was rescued by approaching U.S. troops. After the war ended in Europe in 1945, his division was sent to the Philippines to aid in the liberation of the Philippines. He was a staff sergeant when he was discharged from the Army in early 1946 after 3 years of service. After the war he learned that his division was slated to be one of the first divisions ashore if the United States had to attack the Japanese mainland.

After leaving the military, Ed re-enrolled at the University of Nevada. He was a proud member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and received an award his senior year as the top ATO in the country. He also served as a teacher at Northside Junior High and Reno High School from 1948-1949. At Reno High he served as the JV Basketball coach and the Reno High School Tennis Coach. He graduated at the top of his class at Nevada in 1949, and entered Harvard Law School in the fall of 1949. In 1951, while at Harvard, he fell madly in love with the love of his life, Sally Torrance from Jamestown, New York, who was attending Wellesley College at the time, and the two were married on June 14, 1952 in Jamestown, with Sally's parents and family in attendance. Ed's parents were unable to make the long trip out to New York State from Nevada by train to attend the wedding.

After Ed graduated from Harvard in 1952, he and Sally packed up their car, the "little red ford," and headed out west on the Lincoln Highway to Reno, for Sally to meet Ed's parents for the first time. This was Sally's first trip out west. When she told her classmates at Wellesley that she and her new husband were heading to Reno, which at the time was the divorce capital of the world, she got some interesting comments. She soon grew to love Nevada as her home state. During the summer of 1952 Ed studied for the Nevada Bar exam in San Francisco, and Sally took a job there to support them that summer. In the fall of 1952 Ed and Sally headed back to Boston for Sally to complete her final year at Wellesley, and Ed worked at Arthur Andersen.

Right after Sally graduated from Wellesley in June of 1953, their first child, Ned, was born in Boston. Ed and Sally then headed back to Reno with the new baby, and Ed found a job as an associate at a small law firm, Kearney and Adams, which was to be Ed's home for the next 26 years. Over the years, along with original partner Bob Adams, the law firm grew to add partners Bruce Bowen, Jack Hoffman, Harold Swafford and Louis Test, among others. Norma Tiffany was Ed's outstanding and trusted legal assistant for his many years as a practicing attorney and for many years after he became a judge. Ed was considered a nationally known water rights litigator during his career as an attorney in Reno. He served as Special Deputy Attorney General representing the State of Nevada in important water rights litigation in the 1970's. He was also a championship tennis player in Nevada and won the Reno City Singles Championship in 1951, 1958, and 1959.

Ed was first elected to the Washoe County School Board of Trustees in 1956 and served four terms, retiring in 1972. After Ned was born in 1953, Ed and Sally were blessed with additional children. Bill was born in 1954; John was born in 1957; and Mary was born in 1961.

In 1979 Ed was nominated by Senator Howard Cannon and then appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve as a United States District Judge for the District of Nevada. He served with great distinction since then including his tenure as the Chief Judge of the District of Nevada from 1986-1992. Past President of the Washoe County Bar Association Gayle Kern described her clerkship with Judge Reed this way: "I had the privilege of being Judge Reed's first female law clerk and treasure my two years with him as being the most intellectually stimulating and rewarding of my career. He is a great man."

Edward C. Reed High School in Sparks, Nevada was named for him in 1972 because of his many distinguished years serving as a president and a member of the Washoe County School Board. In 2011, he was awarded the Distinguished Nevadan Award by the University of Nevada because of his remarkable contribution to the lives of Nevadans. U.S. District Court Judge Larry Hicks considered Judge Reed to be one of the finest judges and persons he had ever known. He described Judge Reed as one of the brightest and most hardworking judges on the bench. In 2011, Judge Hicks was quoted as saying: "What this man has given to our community, our state, and our government in the way of selfless and effective public service has to be a source of unlimited inspiration and pride for every Nevadan."

His friends describe Judge Reed as one of the most gracious, generous and thoughtful individuals they had ever known. He had an amazing intellect and a wonderful sense of humor. His son Ned, a practicing lawyer in Reno, describes him as a walking encyclopedia of legal knowledge, who would always take time out to try to help him with a legal question, no matter how busy he was. He will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. Lawyers and other Judges knew him to be extremely hardworking, putting in long hours to insure that everything was done right.

Ed was also a 33rd degree Mason. He was a member of Reno Lodge 13, the Scottish Rite and the Kerak Shrine Temple.

Ed was predeceased by his parents Edward C. Reed, Sr. and Evelyn Walker Reed, his wife of 55 years, Sally Torrance Reed in 2007, as well as by his son Lieutenant Colonel William W. "Bill" Reed, in 2000. He is survived by his brother Dr. Marshall Reed of Palo Alto California, his son Edward T. "Ned" Reed (married to daughter-in-law Na Shi), his son John Reed and his daughter Mary Reed Leon (married to son-in-law Jose), daughters-in-law Carol Reed and Cleo Reed, as well as grandchildren Elizabeth Reed, Ryan Reed, Jason Doty, Alvina Leon, Eddy Leon, Joey Leon, and Carmen Ji.

In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to Reed High School for the Evelyn W. Reed and Edward C. Reed, Sr. Scholarship or the Sally T. Reed Scholarship.

Services will be held at Reed High School at 1350 Baring Blvd, Sparks, NV 89434 on Saturday, June 15 at 11 a.m.

Arrangements are under the direction of Walton Funeral Home in Reno.


Published in Reno Gazette-Journal from June 5 to June 9, 2013
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