Archive for Monday, January 4, 1993


January 4, 1993


Longtime Kansas newspaperman Clyde M. Reed Jr., 78, regarded as one of the state's fieriest editorial writers, died Sunday evening at Brandon Woods Retirement Community.

Reed, who had been in poor health in recent years, had lived in Lawrence since 1982, when he sold his interest in the Parsons Sun. The newspaper had been in his family since his father bought it in 1914.

Best remembered for his provocative editorials on political and social issues, Reed became editor of the paper in 1942 and editor and publisher in 1949.

Calder Pickett, Kansas University professor emeritus of journalism and a longtime friend of Reed's, remembered him as one of the state's premier editors.

"Clyde Reed lamented the fact in many conversations with me, that the new generation of editors had `no fire in their bellies.' He had fire in his belly," Pickett said.

"He was one of the greatest editors in the history of Kansas, a man of honesty, toughness and a wonderful ability to express himself in the language he loved."

Del Brinkman, former dean of the KU journalism school and now vice chancellor for academic affairs at KU, said Reed wielded considerable influence over the state from the Sun's editorial page.

``HE HAD an editorial voice people listened to,'' Brinkman said. ``Many of the editors in the state looked at the Parsons Sun every day just to see what Clyde Reed was saying about issues. I know government officials and others would do the same. He kind of shaped the thinking about many issues in the state.''

Reed, whose father Clyde M. Reed Sr. was Kansas governor from 1929 to 1931 and U.S. senator from 1939 to 1949, also was a force in Kansas Republican politics. He won the 1958 Republican gubernatorial nomination, winning 104 of the state's 105 counties in the primary, but was defeated in the general election by incumbent Gov. George Docking.

"I've always said that every editor ought to run for office at least once, and preferably be defeated," Reed said in a 1989 interview. "I ran for governor in '58 and I learned a lot about the state of Kansas, and its people, that you could get in no other way."

He was an active supporter of Kansas University, where he graduated in 1937 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Reed and his wife, Betty, established a legacy in KU's journalism school, beginning with the Clyde and Betty Reed Scholarship Fund in 1955, and followed by the Clyde M. Reed Distinguished Professorship in 1984 and the Clyde and Betty Reed Teaching Professorship in 1987.

REED CONTINUED to contribute editorials to the Sun for several years after his retirement and taught editorial and interpretive writing in the School of Journalism from 1982 to 1986.

Reed received the Fred Ellsworth Medallion, KU's highest award for service to the university in 1980, and the Distinguished Service Citation in 1968.

Reed was a member of the Kansas Board of Regents from 1961 to 1965 and served as its chairman from 1964 to 1965.

He was appointed in 1976 by President Ford to a six-year term on the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and was named in 1954 by President Eisenhower as U.S. representative and chairman of the Canadian River Commission, a post he held until 1971.

Reed was elected in 1956 as president of the KU Alumni Association. He was a trustee of the KU Endowment Association.

He was a past president of the Kansas Press Assn. and the William Allen White Foundation, and a past state chairman of the Associated Press.

Reed was cited as an outstanding Kansas editor by the William Allen White Foundation in 1963, and in 1973 was the first Kansan to be named an outstanding publisher by the Kappa Tau Alpha national journalism scholarship society.

DURING HIS years in Parsons, Reed was an organizer and first president in 1957 of Mid-America Inc., a 10-county southeast Kansas economic development organization. From 1968 to 1973, Reed was chairman of the Parsons Urban Renewal Agency, which carried out a $20 million, 35-block downtown revitalization project.

Reed was a past president of several organizations in Parsons, the Rotary Club, Parsons Chamber of Commerce and Parsons United Fund-Community Chest.

He was a former member and elder in the First Presbyterian Church in Parsons. In Lawrence, Reed was a member of Plymouth Congregational Church.

He was born May 14, 1914, at Parsons, the son of Clyde and Minnie Hart Reed. On Sept. 10, 1938, at Hutchinson, he married the former Elizabeth Ann "Betty" Walker, who survives of the home in Lawrence.

Other survivors include two children, Clyde III, Denver, and Carolyn Ann, New York.

Services will be in Parsons with burial in Memorial Lawn Cemetery in Parsons. Arrangements are pending at Burris-Carson-Wall Funeral Home in Parsons. Warren-McElwain Funeral Home is handling local arrangements.

The family suggests memorial contributions to the KU School of Journalism, in care of the KU Endowment Association, or to the Labette County Community College Foundation, Parsons 67357.

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