Municipal Judge Ron Reed, who was also Pacific police chief for 27 years, died suddenly April 12. He was 64.
The sudden death of the longtime community leader shocked the community.
When the 911 call went out that Judge Reed was unresponsive, a swarm of police cars converged at the Reed home and officers escorted the ambulance to the city limits. Reed was pronounced dead of a heart attack at St. Clare Health Center in Fenton.
Reed is credited with bringing the Pacific Police Department into the modern age with programs such as Neighborhood Watch, Police Explorers, Safe Schools Act, and the D.A.R.E. program in the Meramec Valley School District.
Reed also started the standard operational procedure for the department and was an active member of the Missouri Police Chiefs Association.
Born in Kirkwood on April 28, 1947, Reed attended Kirkwood High School.
He worked briefly as a security guard for a Texas firm but returned home to join the Pacific Police Department in 1977 and was elected chief in 1980.
Reed also made a lasting entry into community life by joining the new Eagles Aerie 3842, a charitable organization that operated out of rented space in the East Osage Plaza.
Reed was an active member of the Pacific Aerie, beginning in 1985, at a time when the aerie was struggling financially, socially and lacking leadership, according to Jerry Eversmeyer, treasurer.
“Under his leadership the aerie became financially sound, which truly reflects the characteristics of a well-run aerie,” Eversmeyer said.
Reed served a conductor, vice president and as worthy president of the Pacific Aerie in 1992 and 1997. He was elected trustee three consecutive times serving all nine years as chairman of the board of trustees and was serving as chaplain until his death.
As a past president he served as chairman of the tribunal committee since 1993 and had been appointed numerous times to serve on the bylaws committee. He was Missouri State Eagle of the Year in 2002.
From the beginning it was a family affair, according to Marigene his wife, who joined the auxiliary and worked in the kitchen and bingo games as the fledgling aerie bought property and built the building on West Congress where the visitation and funeral will take place.
“We just felt the crowd would be so big the funeral home would not be big enough,” Marigene said.
His longest political ally was Mayor Herb Adams. The pair served in municipal government together for more than 30 years.
“He and I were first elected the same year, 1980, he as police chief and I as municipal judge,” Adams said. “We started as strangers, became friends and in the end became the best of friends.”
Politically the pair shared some of the same ideas especially wanting to see Pacific take its rightful place in Franklin County.
“We both believed there should be a balance in how government plays a role with citizens and how citizens play their part in various civic groups,” Adams said. “We had great hopes for Pacific.
“Just last week we were talking about Bill Wiest (former mayor who built the current city hall),” Adams said. “What we are doing now was Bill Wiest’s vision. The building was downsized when he built it because of the political realities he faced.”
“We never thought we would see this day, the police department with this center, this equipment, this support from the community. We’ve grown from the good ole boy system to a professional police department,” Adams said.
The pair talked about the possibility of the next election.
“We thought we’d be on the ballot together one more time,” Adams said.
“People don’t realize the input he had on city government that went beyond being police chief,” Adams said. “He had an influence in all political issues.
“He played a major role in our decisions on annexation, incentives, growth, and supported every school bond issue,” Adams said. “People running for all offices wanted his support.”
“He had a discipline that started in private security work and carried into his role as a police officer, working his way up through the ranks to lieutenant and running for chief of police,” Adams said.
“In his last role as judge he did a remarkable job,” Adams said. “He shed the image of police chief and took on the mantel of judge very quickly.”
“His loss to the city will be more than many citizens will know,” Adams said.
An avid camper, Reed loved the big sky country of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming where his brother Clay lived.
“We made several trips up there and he loved it,” Marigene said.
Reed left two sons, Ron Jr. and Gary and two stepsons, Bill and Mike Lynn.
Visitation is set for Tuesday, April 17, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Funeral services will take place Wednesday, April 18, at 10 a.m. He will be buried at Sunset Cemetery on North Orr Street.