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SHSU among colleges benefiting
from Rev. Reed's retirement

Few people in the Huntsville area will remember The Reverend James D. Reed. Many of his old friends, like Earnest Grover, are gone now, and on July 11 Rev. Reed will celebrate his 90th birthday.

He was born in the Dodge area of Walker County, went to elementary school at Dodge, graduated from high school in Huntsville, and pastored his first church on Riverside Road.

He got his theological training from Baylor University and in March retired after 42 years as pastor of the Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery. While he never attended college in Huntsville, his retirement request included Sam Houston State University.

Instead of accepting a lavish gift from his congregation, he asked that they mark his retirement with donations to higher education. They responded with $1,000 each for Sam Houston State University, Texas Southern University, Prairie View A&M, and Huston-Tillotson.

While the Sam Houston State gift came from the congregation as a whole, Rev. Reed's wife, Ruby, provided the gifts to Texas Southern and Prairie View A&M, schools she had attended, and Mrs. Rebecca Simonton of Montgomery provided the one for her alma mater, Huston-Tillotson. Mrs. Reed and Mrs. Simonton are both retired teachers.

"Huntsville is my home," explained Rev. Reed. "Several of our young people have gone to Sam Houston State and have graduated from that school, and they're doing so well."

Gary A. Bouse, executive director of University Advancement at Sam Houston State, accepted the Mount Sinai contribution, thanking them for thinking of Sam Houston State and for encouraging their young people to pursue higher education. It is something that Reverend Reed has done for many years.

"One of my main goals was to teach kids about education," he said.

Gifts we sometimes take for granted, like reading and writing, are God-given, he believes.

"God is intelligence," he said. "He inspired people to write as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. He didn't intend for you to memorize everything. He meant for you to learn for yourself from books."

When Rev. Reed talks about the value of education, the youngsters in his audience should listen. He worked as a laborer for 20 years in Pasadena, cleaning the huge drums used in the oil and chemical processing industry and then for 30 years as chemical department foreman for the Sinclair Oil Company.

He and his wife live in the Acreage Homes area off Little York Road in Northwest Houston, traveling on weekends to the church in Montgomery. Church secretary Lola Adams said that despite Rev. Reed's official retirement, he has promised to return often.

"He is retiring from duty," said Adams," but he'll still be there with us when he can."

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SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
April 19, 1999
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