Rash's Surname Index


Notes for John Shedd REED

Lake Forester John Shedd Reed was the driving force behind the Oceanarium, which brought the first whales and dolphins to an inland aquarium.
He was also the dear friend and long-time bicyclist who hand-delivered brown eggs from his family's chickens, biking them over on his 1938 Hercules bicycle regularly to a Lake Forest friend.
A lifelong love of trains fueled a career in the railroad industry. Reed was chairman and chief executive officer of Santa Fe Industries for 11 years.
A recognized and well-regarded frequent presence at the John G. Shedd Aquarium, named for his grandfather who founded it, and a regular at the Lake Forest Library, which his mother, Helen Shedd Reed, and her sister built in memory of his father, Kersey, Reed died peacefully in Lake Forest Sunday surrounded by his family. He was 90.
Born in Chicago in 1917 to Kersey Coates and Helen Shedd Reed (later Keith), John Reed became a part-time Lake Forester at the age of one, spending summers with his parents and sister at a lakeside home.
He was a railroader from that early age, he told the Lake Forester in 1998. From that young age on, his career was never in doubt. It began on spring vacation cross-country train trips on the Santa Fe Railway to visit his grandfather, John G. Shedd, in Pasadena.

Parade locomotive

Reed owned several small locomotives as a child and teenager, built for him by his grandfather's chauffeur. They became legendary in Lake Forest. In 1926, 9-year-old Reed and his cousin, John Schweppe, drove one of the miniature locomotives in the Lake Forest Day Parade.
By the time he was 15, Reed and the chauffeur built a rubber-tired steam locomotive on the chassis of an old Stanley Steamer automobile. It was equipped with air brakes, carried a 600-pound boiler pressure, and could make 60 mph.
Long-time friend Bob Stuart of Lake Forest recalls racing the Chicago Northwestern train with Reed in the homemade locomotive.
"We raced the regular trains all the way up to Great Lakes," Stuart recalled with a laugh. "The engineers wouldn't believe what they were seeing."
One year, Reed made a round-trip in the engine to Kansas City, but mostly he drove it around Lake Forest.
"We used to drive around town and wave at girls," Stuart said.
Stuart met Reed as a youngster when both summered in Lake Forest. Though educated at one point at different schools -- Reed attended the Chicago Latin School -- both attended Los Alamos Ranch School in New Mexico, where their lifelong friendship strengthened.

Indian caves

"Ranch school was a great spot," Stuart said. "We were the only mounted Boy Scout troop in the country. We'd go off on different trips to see the Pueblo Indian caves, the mountains" and other spots.
In later years, Reed traded horses for bicycles. Stuart said most Lake Foresters probably encountered Reed regularly, as he took daily treks to the Lake Forest Library.
"He rode everywhere on his bike," said Stuart. "You'd see him most on Green Bay Road and Laurel."
Reed and his wife, Marjorie, married for 61 years, biked in France every summer for a quarter century.
"People knew all about my parents' bicycle trips in Europe," daughter Ginevra Reed Ralph said. "They took 400-to-800 mile trips up until two years ago," even carrying their own luggage on their bikes, Ralph said.
Ralph said Lake Foresters also will remember her father as "a very earnest golfer" who hauled out "an amazing chip shot on the 9th hole during the Pro-Am," she said.
Most people in Lake Forest who knew her father will remember him for his laughter, Ralph said.
"He had a wry sense of humor," Ralph said. When her father chuckled, his shoulders shook -- a sure sign that he thought something was funny.
"John had a down-to-earth humor," said Stuart, his lifelong friend. "He never took himself or anyone else seriously. He loved to tease and kid people."
Ted Beattie, president and CEO of the Shedd Aquarium, also said Reed had a "wonderful sense of humor," for which he will be missed by everyone at the Aquarium.
"Everybody knows John Reed. He was beloved by everybody on the Shedd staff," Beattie said.
A frequent visitor at the Aquarium, Reed particularly loved the galleries and their backlight tanks and displays.
But it is the Oceanarium -- where 35 million people have visited since it opened 17 years ago -- that will be his lasting legacy.
"That would not have happened if it wasn't for John Reed," said Beattie. "He led the major fund-raising effort for the Oceanarium."

Fiscal management

Beattie said Reed also will be remembered for "his strong and conservative fiscal management of the Aquarium. He always wanted to be sure the Aquarium was well-run and fulfilling its education and conservation message."
It was not uncommon, Beattie said, for Reed to "just show up for lunch." He remained "very active in the board of trustees all the way till the day he died," Beattie said. "He leaves behind a very strong institution that fulfills many of his desires about education and conservation. He always felt very strongly about the hundred of thousands of kids who visit the Aquarium every year. That was very important to him."
Reed was honored as the first Life Trustee of the Aquarium.
Reed earned his bachelor of science in industrial administration at Yale in 1939. After graduation, he worked for the Atchinson Topeka and Santa Fe railway in the test department, making performance tests of steam and diesel locomotives.
World War II and Navy service interrupted his railway career. He enlisted as an apprentice seaman in August, 1940 at Great Lakes. After attending the U.S. Naval Academy, Reed rose from ensign to lieutenant commander and served four years in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean aboard the destroyer, USS Niblack. He was discharged in 1946 and married Marjorie Lindsay one month later.
Reed resumed a railroad career, stationed over the next seven years in Chicago, Texas, Colorado and, finally, Missouri. In 1954, the Reeds came back to Chicago and Lake Forest when he became a vice president's assistant. He rose from financial vice president and executive vice president to president. In 1973, Reed was named chairman and CEO.
Reed served on many corporate and civic boards, including Kraft Inc., Premark, The Northern Trust Co., Lake Forest Library, The Hotchkiss School, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Alliance Franšaise.
He was a member of the Chicago Club, along with Onwentsia, Shoreacres, Old Elm and Cypress Point clubs.

A sister, Mary Reed Bent, preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife Marjorie Lindsay Reed, children Ginevra Reed Ralph, Lindsay Keith Reed, Helen Shedd Reed, Peter Shedd Reed, and John Shedd Reed Jr.; seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. April 5 at The First Presbyterian Church, 700 North Sheridan Road, Lake Forest. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to The Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605; or The First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest.
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