John Noble Reid Jr. passed away Sunday, August 11, 2013, surrounded by loved ones. His death was an end to a 32-year struggle with Parkinson's disease, from which he can now rest. The void left by his passing will never be whole again, but family, friends, and the community can find some comfort in remembering his beautiful life.
John was born to Dr. John and Ann Reid in Portland, Ore. March 15, 1946. He was followed in birth by brother Tom and sister Laurie. When John was 10, the Reid family made Ashland their permanent home. He graduated from Ashland High School in 1964, and joined the U.S. Navy the following year. During his four-year service he operated as a radar-man on a guided missile destroyer. Following his service, he returned to Ashland and enrolled in school at Southern Oregon College. During his time there, he met and married Karen Newton on September 19, 1970. The young couple soon had a son, John, III on February 1, 1972. After finishing his bachelor's degree in humanities, John took a position as a reporter with the Ashland Daily Tidings, which was the beginning of a brilliant career in journalism. After moving to Klamath Falls and taking another reporting position with the Klamath Falls Herald & News, the family moved to Medford in 1977. Here John started his nearly 30-year career with the Medford Mail Tribune, where he eventually became editor. John and Karen had their first daughter, Erin, on November 16, 1981. Around this time John was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, which would shape, but not define, most of his remaining years. Much to everyone's surprise, the couple had another daughter, Megan, on March 10, 1988. John opted to have deep brain stimulation surgery to prolong his mobility in 2001. Despite the obstacles, he continued to fill various editor roles at the Tribune until his retirement in 2008.
John was a truly creative soul. He wrote many hundreds of poems, many of which were published. Some of his favorites were featured in a cycle of poems written with friends, "A Path Through Stone", 1995. John also had a wonderful sense of humor, and was known to play the air-guitar to Beatles songs, and insist that Jeff Bridges was in every movie ever made. He had a love of sweets matched only by Santa Claus. John enjoyed the beauty of Southern Oregon, and while still able was an avid outdoorsman who especially enjoyed fishing. He was also involved in the community, and was a member of Medford Rotary for many years. He touched the lives of many, especially those of his children. All three inherited various facets of his personality; from his passion for writing, to his penchant for sarcasm. Though Parkinson's slowly robbed him of his ability to do many of the things he loved most, anyone who knew him would say he remained a very vibrant and funny individual. Even in his later years, when he appeared to be napping, he would awake suddenly to correct his daughters' grammar.
John is survived by his brother, Tom; sister, Laurie Carlson; son, John; daughters, Erin Englehart and Megan Blaylock; and granddaughters, Montana, Ireland, Rowan, and Elizabeth. He was preceded in death by his father, John; mother, Ann; and wife, Karen.
In honor of John's battle against Parkinson's and in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation at www.pd.org/ or by calling (800)456-6676 or by mail to 1359 Broadway, Suite 1509, New York, NY 10018. A memorial service will be held at 6:00 p.m. Monday, August 26, 2013 at the First Presbyterian Church of Ashland, corner of Siskiyou Blvd. and Walker Ave., with reception to follow for all who wish to attend.