Lititz legend: Mourning the loss of Ron Reedy

By on November 22, 2016

“Lititz is the finest community in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

This was the proud sentiment that occupied the mind of Ron Reedy when he was chauffeured through the streets of his hometown as grand marshal of the 2007 Fourth of July parade. It was something his father, former Mayor Raymond Reedy, often said, and it was a sincere belief that shaped Ron’s life and earned him the title of “Mr. Lititz.”

Lititz lost one of its most ardent champions Nov. 16 when Ron succumbed to a brief illness. Hundreds lined up to pay respect during a Monday night gathering at Trinity E.C. Church, and hundreds more were expected to attend the Tuesday morning funeral.

Ronald Reedy, 77, was a member of Warwick High School’s first graduating class in 1957. He also graduated from the National College of the Judiciary and served in the United States Naval Reserve. He was the first district court administrator for Lancaster County, a member of Congressman Edwin Eshleman’s staff, and retired as general manager of Blue Ridge Communications.

His volunteer service to the Lititz community is unparalleled. He was a board president for the Lititz Community Center, public relations coordinator for the Lititz Rotary Club, Venture Lititz board member, chairman of the Lititz Springs Park Fourth of July for 10 years, and chairman of Lititz’s year-long 250th anniversary celebration in 2006. He was a Lititz Springs Park historian, local author, and regular contributor to the Lititz Record Express. He was instrumental in the creation of many of the park’s current attractions, including the reconstructed train station/welcome center, the refurbished Reading Railroad caboose, the lion statue that rests above J. Augustus Beck’s 1859 carving at the springhead, and the Wall of Remembrance along the park walkway.

He was an active member of Trinity E.C. and was involved in the church’s recent expansion projects. And he was a dedicated husband, father, and grandfather.

“As I was being driven along the parade route, I was thinking of my father, who loved Lititz,” Ron shared in an interview following the 2007 Fourth of July. “As we turned onto Broad Street and crossed the railroad tracks, I thought of his early days of working in the freight office of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad. We passed the Square, where he was involved with the Lititz Salvage Drive during World War II, and then the borough offices, where he served as mayor for 12 years. We passed old Kauffman’s Grocery Store, where he would sit as tax collector; then on to South Cedar Street and Trinity Evangelical Congregational Church, where he served as a lay leader. Then past Lititz Elementary School, the site of the 1916 Lititz Public School where he played basketball and was part of the first baseball team. We turned onto East Main Street and passed the post office, where he served as postmaster. Directly across the street was the Reedy Building, where he had an appliance and toy store. Looking down East Main, I was thinking about the Lititz Community (Farm) Show, in which he served as treasurer. We went past where Ed Stroble had his barbershop, where my father got his hair cut and many of the world’s problems would be solved. And then past the General Sutter Inn, where he became the first president of the Lititz Lions Club in 1941.

“Yes, my father was extremely inspirational to me,” Ron said while revisiting those fond memories, “always instilling the importance of involvement in your church and your community, but never forgetting your family.”

Like his father before him, Ron has inspired the community he loved. This week, many of Lititz’s current leaders are sharing their memories of Ron and his endearing commitment to tradition and growth in the name of Lititz prosperity.

Barry Miller, Lititz Rotary

“It is so sad to know that Ron is no longer with us. We will miss him deeply. He was a friend and fellow Rotarian, and in many ways a mentor. I think everyone knows that Ron loved his community and had a strong personal commitment prompting our culture here in Lititz. It was easy to admire Ron for his deep conviction and love for everything in his life. He couldn’t have been more proud of his family, and he had a special love for his wife, Brenda, especially as he cared for her in recent times. Whether it was his work as a court administrator, putting together photo shows of youth sports, promoting Lititz history, Lititz Springs Park, or being a Rotarian, Ron did everything with enthusiasm and perfection. We all depended on Ron for so many things. No matter what the project, it was second nature for those doing the planning to say, ‘Let’s ask Ron Reedy.’”

Cory Van Brookhoven, Lititz Historical Foundation

“Ron Reedy was a true Lititz historian, and deeply cared about this community and its rich heritage. He knew more about the Lititz Springs Park and its history than any other person I knew. While his death is a huge loss for Lititz, I take comfort in knowing that he left us with countless photographs as well as many years of documented history of this great town.”

Pastor John Bucher, Trinity E.C. Church

“Ron Reedy had the unique gift of not losing site of the past, being able to shift gears to the present, and then to create a vision for the future. Ron and his leadership skills will be greatly missed by all at Trinity E.C. Church, and especially by all who served with him on the various church committees.”

Kelly Withum, Venture Lititz

“Ron Reedy served on the Venture Lititz Board of Directors for three years. He embodied our beliefs of a strong community, He did more than just preserve our historical assets, he made them come alive with facts, stories and antidotes. He helped preserve our collective memory.”

Bill Dussinger, Graphic artist and Fourth of July volunteer

“Thirty years ago, Ron was instrumental in getting me to help out with the Fourth of July celebrations in Lititz Springs Park. We did a book together for the 175th celebration. We’ve been working together on projects and events ever since then.

“If it wasn’t for Ron, we wouldn’t have had the amazing year of events for the Lititz 250th anniversary. He corrected the history of the naming of our town. He called together an amazing committee of people to make that year-long event memorable. He initiated our sister city recognition with the Czech Republic.

“Over the years, we’ve done three books together. When he died, he was working on a new history of Lititz Springs Park for the big 200th celebration in 2017. He was always my go-to-guy for photos and historical information for projects I was working on.

“Ron was one who cared. He cared about his wife and family. He cared about his friends. He cared about his church. He cared about his town. He cared about Lititz Springs Park. He cared about history, so we would not forget were we all came from, and he cared to get it correct. He cared about our local cable TV station when he was the GM. He worked on town projects like the train station, the clock in front of the park, the Wall of Remembrance, fundraising for the playground, and many more park and town-wide projects.

“There may be many people who are community-minded and love their town, but there are not many with more drive and reverence for Lititz and the park than Ron Reedy.

“I was born in Lititz, but spent most of my childhood growing up in Warwick Township. I always liked Lititz a lot, but I think my knowing Ron Reedy, and him giving me the opportunity to work on great events and projects for the town, made me love Lititz more and more every year.”

Read Ron’s full obituary here.

 

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