Henry Edward “Hank” Reed passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at his home on Father’s Day, June 16, 2013. He entered Heaven and into the awaiting arms of His Creator and his beloved wife, Mary. There, he will be warmly received, but he will be genuinely missed and fondly remembered in so many ways by all of us who knew him.
Dad/Grampa began his journey in life on Sept. 21, 1927, born the youngest of four children (and only boy) to Hazel and Henry Reed in Trenton, N.J. After graduating high school and serving a stint in the Army, Hank (in his own words), “somehow got into Williams College” in Massachusetts, where he studied geology. Fresh with his geology degree and his Studebaker, Hank headed west, eventually ending up here in Billings, where he met the one and only love of his life, Mary Hischier. Thirteen days later, he proposed and they were married soon thereafter — nearly 61 years later, they were still married! And now they’re united again.
Dad was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved wife, Mary; his sisters, Doris and Miriam; and his son Tom (Margaret Roach). He leaves behind his two sons, John Reed and Jim Reed (Sue Maronick); his daughter, Polly (Bryan) Kovash; his sister, Carol Vickers; many other relatives and eight wonderful and cherished grandchildren.
Dad was very passionate about everything he did. His humor was infectious, his competitive nature fierce, but he always treated others fairly and with respect. He loved his golf, his golfing buddies and his golf course: the Yellowstone C.C. He was more than happy to buy anybody a drink, but never got the chance to buy the required round as a result of the elusive hole-in-one that he never got. He was a regular at the YMCA, and was a highly accomplished handball player in his day. His sons learned to excel at other sports besides handball! Hank was also a very skilled and dangerous bridge player, and along with our mom, they made up a formidable team.
Dad loved his church life and his church home, Faith Chapel, and was an amazing and gifted prayer warrior. If one needed counsel, Dad was brilliant in seeing the big picture in life. He was always there for you with love, and with grace and fair-mindedness.
Family was everything to Dad, and he would go to any length to take care of us! He was so proud of all of his wife’s, kids’ and grandkids’ accomplishments, and he rarely missed any event or activity, whether it was a dance recital, graduation or ball game of any kind. Hank also never missed an opportunity to crack a joke, tell a funny story, or just flat out entertain everyone around him.
Even at age 85, Dad never actually retired from work – he worked for Great Northern R.R., then Burlington Northern and Meridian Minerals for 35 years, retiring as a vice-president. He had an unparalleled and current knowledge of geology, and kept a lively consulting business until the day he died. He was often asked to comment on local geologic events on the KTVQ news, stake a claim, evaluate and testify on deposits, and volunteer at schools. He never passed up the opportunity to give a geology lesson (or two or three), regardless of the setting or the audience. And he did so with such knowledge, passion and zeal! He always told us God had stumped him on some of the formations, and that he was hoping to see the video in Heaven as to how the earth was made. His many questions will be answered now.
So the next time you gaze upon an interesting rock formation, or get that elusive hole-in-one (which gets you a ticket out of Hank’s will, by the way, because Hank never got one and his two boys did), or you go out of your way to help somebody else, think of Hank — that’s what he was all about.
We love you, our old dear fossil, but geologically you’re still young in our hearts. We will miss you, Dad, “D,” Grandpa, Pops, Hankster the Prankster, and last but not least – Big “D.” Goodbye for now and rest in peace, IDIGROX and #1322.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, June 21, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave. Services will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at Word of Life Church, 1737 King Ave. W. Burial will follow in Yellowstone Valley Memorial Park.