Frederick M. Reed | 1924 - 2012 | Obituary

Frederick M. Reed
Frederick M. Reed

July 28, 1924 - March 06, 2012

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Frederick M. Reed, of Vinalhaven, Maine, and Barre, Vermont (and formerly of Montpelier), died March 6, 2012 of presumed amiodarone lung toxicity.

Fred was born July 28, 1924, in Rutland, Vermont, to Reginald H. and Lucy Pratt Reed. The family moved to nearby Manchester, where Fred attended local schools, including Burr & Burton Seminary for high school. Upon graduation in 1942, he worked for a time in Springfield, Vermont, at a machine tool plant.

In February 1943, Fred enlisted in the Army. After months of training stateside, he volunteered for a hazardous mission that turned out to be replacement duty in Burma for members of the famed Merrill’s Marauders. Leading pack mules loaded with weapons and supplies, the troops traveled along mountain ridges parallel to the Burma Road, placing roadblocks on the Road to slow the retreating Japanese so that they could be engaged in combat by Chinese and British troops. While Fred did not talk much about his war service, it was very important to him, and he eventually wrote a memoir. He noted that after nine or ten months on the trail, when his regiment was leaving Burma for China, more than half the men had died, some from combat injuries but most from tropical diseases. After several months in China as acting regimental sergeant, Fred returned to the U.S. and officer candidate school, just as the war ended, and he was discharged in October 1945.

In January 1946 Fred enrolled at the University of Vermont. There he met Jacquelyn Laurel Hansen, known to family and friends as Laurel, and the couple married on May 24, 1946. After three years at UVM, with Army credits that allowed him to graduate early, Fred entered Albany Law School in New York, graduating first in his class in June 1950.

Fred and Laurel moved to Montpelier, where he joined a private law office. In January 1955, he was appointed Deputy Attorney General by Vermont Attorney General Robert Stafford. The next year Stafford ran for Lieutenant Governor and encouraged Fred to run for the vacant office. Fred and Laurel campaigned around the state, and he became Attorney General of Vermont in 1956 and was re-elected in 1958.

In 1960 he became general counsel for Rock of Ages Corporation in Barre, and by 1965 he also was vice-president of sales and marketing. He left in 1968 to become Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs for Governor Deane Davis, and he enjoyed working to help insure the passage of the new environmental protection law, Act 250, and Vermont’s new sales tax. During Governor Davis’s second term, Fred served as governor’s counsel, a part-time position that allowed him to practice law privately, first in Essex and then in Williston. Fred and Laurel built a new home in Williston and left Montpelier in 1971.

One of Fred’s major clients was Blodgett Oven Company, where he was general counsel and a director. In 1981 Blodgett purchased the Pitman Company in Concord, NH. Fred served as president of that company for the next five years, helping to solve quality and delivery problems and significantly increase the company’s profits.

Fred continued as Blodgett’s general counsel and vice-president until his retirement in 1992. By that time he and Laurel had purchased and redesigned a home on the island of Vinalhaven, Maine. Maine became their primary residence, and for many years they enjoyed summers in Maine and winters in Florida and later Hilton Head, SC. Wanting to be closer to family, they purchased a condominium in Barre in 2006, eventually spending winters there as Laurel’s health declined. She passed away two years ago, after 64 years of marriage. Grieved as he was, Fred continued to enjoy time with family and friends, and he was fully anticipating another summer at his beloved island home, where he would have tended to the blueberry bushes, vegetable gardens, and flower beds that he and Laurel established years ago.

Fred is survived and greatly missed by his three daughters, Luci Stephens, Martha Reed, and Dorothy Barrett and her husband, Russell Barrett, all of Vermont; grandsons David Stephens and his wife Deb, of Wisconsin, and Devlin Nicholls and Kyle Nicholls, both of Vermont; three great-grandsons, Mason, Mitchel and Mathew Stephens; sister-in-law Dorothy Eichorn and nephew Eric Eichorn, both of California; Laurel’s second cousin David Betts, of Florida; and dear family friends Kim Butler, JoAnn McKee, Jennifer Sweeney and Amy Thompson.

Interment will take place in Green Mountain Cemetery in Montpelier at the convenience of the family. A private family service will be held later at the home on Vinalhaven Island.

Arrangements are by Guare & Son Funeral Home in Montpelier.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Elephant Sanctuary, PO Box 393, Hohenwald, TN 38462; the Vinalhaven Land Trust, PO Box 268, Vinalhaven, ME 04863; or the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, VT, where Fred was a trustee for a number of years.

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