South Bend community celebrates the life of local hero, Jack Reed

NOW: South Bend community celebrates the life of local hero, Jack Reed

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The South Bend community came together to celebrate the life of Ernest “Jack” Reed.

A community steward and role model, he left a big impact on the city when he passed away in April at the age of 88.

“Giving closure to so many people that care,” says his wife, Mary Reed.

A trailblazer, caring, and compassionate are words used to describe him and his 47 years of public service for the city. 

To many, he was an extraordinary father, uncle, cousin, and brother. 

“When I was about seven years old, Jack at the time would take me everywhere he went,” remembers Rafael Morton, nephew of Jack Reed and Saint Joseph County Councilman.

Mary says it’s uplifting to hear how many people’s hearts he touched in his life. 

“There are days that are, when you lose someone, you have those down days,” she admits. “To hear all of this was very helpful.” 

Reed will especially be remembered for overcoming adversity; becoming the first African American Battalion Chief for the South Bend Fire Department and working in the mayor's office under former mayors Joe Kernan and Steve Luecke where he served as deputy mayor. 

At the bottom of his success and accomplishments was his heart, which everyone that knew him said was so full for those in his life and his career. 

“I just saw him as a humanitarian with a big heart,” Reed says.

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