James Lee REESE
1964 - 2014
REESE, James Lee

James Lee Reese, 50, of Austin, TX, passed away peacefully February 27, 2014, at home surrounded by family. He was born January 20, 1964 in Lubbock, TX. Jim was a life-long amateur radio operator who worked as an engineer for a local radio station during high school in Nacogdoches, TX. He attended the University of Texas at Austin to study electrical engineering and worked for a number of radio stations in his career, culminating in a dream job at FlexRadio Systems working on cutting edge radio equipment. He was a self-motivated learner and voracious reader interested in politics, economics, and history. He believed in social justice and that ALL men and women are created equal. He loved time with his family and friends, music, and travel. He was a founding director and pivotal leader of the Armadillo Intertie Inc statewide emergency communications network. Jim is survived by his wife of 16 years, Jennifer; daughters Audrey and Jamie; sister Sallie Reese Goach, her husband Ken, and their sons Trey and Andrew of Pflugerville, TX; cousin Tobin Wells of Lufkin, TX; and friends too numerous to list. He was preceded in death by his parents, James Verdo Reese and Shirley Martin Reese. The family would like to thank Dr. Laurence Tokaz and the staff at Texas Oncology; employer FlexRadio Systems; families and faculties at The Girls School of Austin and ACE Academy; and family and friends who were so supportive during Jim's battle with cancer. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to www.thegirlsschool.org or www.austingifted.org. In keeping with Jim's wishes, no funeral will be held - he hated the things. He would prefer people remember him as he was and the difference he made in their lives.
Published by Austin American-Statesman from Mar. 2 to Mar. 3, 2014.
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Jim had a knack for breaking down complex problems into manageable pieces, and could impart his logic without intimidating us "lesser-beings." When he'd come across a particularly vexing challenge, he'd lean back in his chair and smirk, "It's not very intuitive." Jim set up my first e-mail account, took me to the rooftops of downtown skyscrapers to inspect broadcast antennas, and introduced our Radio station to this new-fangled thing called "the Inter-net." He was a brilliant man, a patient teacher, and a true friend. The world is a little less "intuitive" with his passing.
Brent Clanton
March 5, 2014
I first met Lee when I began dating his sister, Sallie (now my wife) back in 1988. From the first time I met him, he accepted me completely, and we were great friends ever since. You hear a lot of people complain about their in-laws, but I was fortunate that Sallie's family treated me as one of their own from the start. You couldn't have asked for better relatives all around. I will miss him terribly, just as I do his and Sallie's parents. He was very much the brother I always wanted.

Lee was literally the most brilliant person I've ever known. He was what I call "Mr. Spock smart." He was a terrific electrical engineer and worked in the radio industry for many years. He could fix pretty much anything - I can't count the times he repaired my amps or other gear, or explained how to fix something. He studied and understood so many areas of science, especially radio, computers, telecommunication, physics, scientific theories... He was geek cool before being a geek was cool and had the brains to back it up.

A lot of times really brilliant people are not very personable, but he was not that way at all. He had a quick wit and loved to laugh. He was a loving husband and father. He was interested in more than just science - he read voraciously about history, politics, economics, and other topics in an attempt to understand "how the world works" and what motivates people. He was an unabashed progressive. He truly believed in social justice and that "ALL men are created equal," no matter their race, religion, gender, or orientation. He liked science fiction and a good pint of beer, although Myers's Rum was his drink of choice. He introduced us to so many out-of-the way places that he discovered in his travels - he'd take us to a BBQ or seafood place in the middle of nowhere.

Some of my fondest memories of Lee are going to see The Eagles in Austin and R.E.M. in Houston, spending big family time at Lake Livingston, family vacations in Rockport and Port Aransas, and many, many great discussions about science, engineering, music, history, politics, and other topics. His technical support and advice over the decades was invaluable. I am so thankful for his friendship.

I always said that after the impending zombie apocalypse/natural disaster/alien invasion, I wanted Lee on my team. He'd have electricity, air conditioning, and internet back on in a week, tops.
Kenneth Goach
March 2, 2014
Thanks, Jim, for all the radio contacts through the years. RIP my friend. 73 de Milt, N5IA
Milt Jensen
March 2, 2014
It was a privilege to have known Jim "Lee" for so many years. He will be missed by all.
Chuck Adams
March 2, 2014
The joy of Lee's birth is one of my earliest memories. My family has always been intertwined with his family - since my elderly parents were in high school with his. The thing I will miss most about Lee is his example of how to be. I loved and was enchanted with his funny, quirky, little self as a boy, and I was in deep admiration of him as a teen and as a young man, because he was who he was no matter what. He never went through the awkward, overly aware of self stage that plagued the rest of us, and he was happy being himself, cheerful, kind, concerned about social injustice and about the oppressed, the vulnerable, the disenfranchised, deeply interested in ham radio, and what an example of focusing upon what matters. I did not see him much as an adult only at the major events, Sallie's wedding, at his parents funerals, but we stayed in touch via facebook, and it was obvious that he had remained true to himself throughout his life. THAT example, which from time to time I called upon to help keep me grounded during times of doubt, will be what I miss the most. I am so very sad. I share in your sorrow. I feel like I lost a family member, not a friend. I think that I have. I am sending you deep energies of peace and love.
Alison Sterken
March 2, 2014
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