Robert C. Reed

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Robert C. Reed, age 76, of Spirit Lake, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011, at his home in Spirit Lake. He was born on March 3, 1934, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Richard and Jane Reed (who died in childbirth). He was raised by his father and mother, Catherine Reed, in Mentor, Ohio, where he graduated from Mentor High School in 1951.

In 1955, Bob graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a BS in Business Administration. While at Miami, he was a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity and served as president. As a member of the ROTC, he then entered the US Air Force and served for two years, attaining the rank of First Lieutenant. He met Genie Elliott while attending Miami University and they were united in marriage on June 9, 1956, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

After working in sales for US Plywood Corporation for five years, he accepted a management position with Masonite Corporation in Cincinnati and later in Elizabeth, N.J. Bob moved his family to Spirit Lake, Ia. in 1968, after purchasing Stylecraft Furniture in Milford with his partner, Jim Tollefson. At the time of the purchase, Stylecraft employed eight people. Upon the death of his partner in 1972, he became president and general manager until 1988, when he sold the business to Klaussner Industries. He continued on as president until his retirement in 1994. At that time, Stylecraft employed over 800 wonderful people which later peaked at 1200.

After his retirement from the furniture industry, he began putting more time and energy into developing Okoboji Wines, the wine distributorship he started and owned with his son, Mark. Bob enjoyed spending his days working with his son, daughter-in-law, Sheila and daughter, Becky. He worked in the business up until a few months before his death. At this stage of his life, he was able to do a lot of traveling with Genie, his family and many of their good friends.

Throughout his years in the community, Bob served as Chairman of the Okoboji Foundation, board member of the Humane Society of NW Iowa, Lakes Art Center and Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, president of the IGL Area Chamber of Commerce, member of Rotary, YPO (Young Presidents Organization), Friends of the Okoboji Summer Theater, Indian Athletic Booster Club and supporter of the Oaxaca Street Children Grassroots through which they sponsor a child, Memo. Bob and Genie were honored to be selected U of O Winter Games Cheerleaders in 2001. In 1978, Bob was named NW Iowa Small Businessman of the Year and in 1984 he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Association of Business and Industry (ABI).

Bob enjoyed spending his spare time playing tennis, mountain jeeping in Colorado, wine tasting, skiing and traveling. He watched many sports, especially enjoying tennis and baseball, and followed all sports and activities that his children and grandchildren participated in. He also had many dear friends that he enjoyed spending time with. Over the past 30 years, Bob and Genie opened their home to exchange students from all over the world: Kenya, Brazil, South Africa, Sweden, Australia, Mexico...most of whom have become very much a part of their family.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Genie Reed of Spirit Lake; son, Mark (Sheila) Reed of Spirit Lake; daughter, Becky Stoll of Spirit Lake; son, Dick (Jucymara) Reed of Spirit Lake; daughter, Robbi (Bruce) Fujan of Byron, Minn.; Kirunda Kiruthi of Kenya; mother, Catherine Reed, of Willoughby, Ohio; three brothers: Jim (Cynthia) Reed of Ridgewood, N.J., John (Bonnie) Reed of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and Doug Reed of Mentor, Ohio; aunt, Rev. Janet Miller, of Fargo, N.D.; 12 grandchildren and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

He was preceded in death by his birth mother, Jane Markell Reed; father, J. Richard Reed; father-in-law, Walter Elliott; mother-in-law, Frances Elliott; sister-in-law, Patty Elliott Paul; aunt and uncle, Winifred and Bill Kunkel; and son-in-law, Ted Stoll.

A Celebration of Life will be held in honor of Bob on Saturday, May 21, at the Pavilion in Arnolds Park. (Time will be announced at a later date). A Memorial Fund has been set up in Bob's name at Bank Midwest. Memorial proceeds will go to numerous local charities that Bob was passionate about (Humane Society of NW IA, Okoboji Foundation, Oaxaca Street Children, Pearson Lakes Art Center, CAASA, OST and Orphaned & Injured Wildlife).

Bob's family wishes to thank Iowa Hospice for their loving care and support in Bob's final days.

The Schuchert Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.