The tributes paid to Robin Reed in the months before and days after his death speak volumes about his positive impact on the community.
The London City Council member died July 11 following a battle with cancer. He was 51.
The show of support included a September 2007 golf scramble organized by Robin’s fellow employees at the Tri-County Jail, where he worked as a corrections officer.
“They raised the money for his medical expenses,” said Cathy Reed, Robin’s wife of 20 years. “He was so loved at the jail. He had to stop working in August, and his sick time ran out in October. His co-workers donated their vacation and sick time so that he never missed a paycheck.”
This spring, before a home game against Westfall, the London High School softball team honored Robin for his support. Robin always cheered on his daughter, Darcey, a senior leftfielder, from the third baseline. At the ceremony, the Westfall team lined up along the first baseline, and the Lady Raiders lined up along the third baseline and presented Robin with a team ball signed by all of the players.
The day after Robin passed away, another outpouring of support came at the Madison County Junior Fair livestock sale. A fellow exhibitor stood in for Darcey, who raised rabbits to show at the fair. Darcey’s market rabbit sold for $300 in the sale, after which a total of 45 other buyers chipped in an additional $2,835 for a total of $3,135.
“We were totally shocked and happy. It’s definitely going toward her college fund,” said Cathy. Darcey will attend Wilmington College this fall to study mass communications.
During calling hours and at Robin’s funeral on July 14, representatives of the Tri-County Jail and London Police Department stood at attention at the head and foot of his casket. Members of the London Fire Department also were on hand.
Robin had worked part-time as a police dispatcher and was an original member of the Madison County Squad. He joined the London Fire Department as an auxiliary fire fighter at age 16, then as a full-fledged volunteer fire fighter at age 18. He continued to volunteer until late 1999 or early 2000.
“My son, Dustin, would ride with him to fires when he was young and hold the emergency light for him,” said Cathy.
“Robin, as a volunteer for the City of London, had basically done our job for years for nothing,” said London Fire Chief Todd Eades, who was a volunteer and later a paid fire fighter while Robin was on the crew. “Fire fighting is like a huge family. Once somebody has joined that family, they’re pretty much always in that family. We like to honor them and show our support for their families.”
This year, Robin’s civic duties included city council. He was elected to the Ward 3 seat in November. As part of council, he sat on the public safety committee.
“He was very committed and eager to serve. He got to as many meetings as he could despite the cancer,” said Jim Canney, council president. Robin didn’t withdraw from society, he said, even after losing an eye to tumor surgery. “He enjoyed being around people…He certainly will be missed.”
According to Cathy, the week before Robin died, he was working on paperwork to submit to council to address cleaning up the community.
“When we first got married, he said he wanted to serve and bring life back to the south end of London,” she said. “When he got elected, even though he had started cancer treatments, he was still right there wanting to serve.”
Bill Beathard, a London councilman and longtime friend of the Reed family, added, “He was well on his way to being a longtime councilman. Unfortunately, he was stopped short.”
Robin was born in Urbana on April 14, 1957, the oldest of seven siblings. He and his family moved to London around 1968. He graduated from London High School in 1975.
In addition to the community service already mentioned, Robin was a London Area Baseball Council coach and past president and coach for the London Area T-Ball League. He also was a big fan of the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Browns, and Ohio State Buckeyes.
“He was a Browns fan, and I was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. We would play jokes on each other—take each others flags, that kind of thing,” said Robin’s brother, Doug.
“He was a good guy. He did everything for everybody no matter who they were,” he said.
Cathy described her husband as a “strong, hard-working man who never complained.”
“He took care of me. If something went wrong, he always said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.’ He was a great man, and we will really miss him,” she said, adding that Robin was very proud of his children, stepchildren and grandchildren.
Robin is survived by: his wife; three daughters, Michelle (Brian) Bates of London, Katherine Tuggle of London, and Darcey Reed at home; two stepsons, Darrin Sanders of Columbus and Dustin Sanders of London; two grandchildren, Kyle and Kennedy Bates; his mother, Dorothy Reed of London; three sisters, Rose Lewis, Cindy Reed and Regina Reed, all of London; and three brothers, Doug (Helen) Reed of London, Brian (Donna) Reed of Wilberforce, and Mike (Crystal) Reed of Richwood.