Who was Bill Reed
Who was Bill Reed?
Updated September 2023
Howard E. "Bill" Reed
The majority of students, teachers and parents that are a part of Bill Reed Middle School have no idea how much of the school's namesake, Howard E. "Bill" Reed, affected the small community of Loveland, Colorado years ago. In fact the name "Bill Reed" is much more than a middle school on Fourth Street. It stands for a life full of achievement, success, and fame.
Howard E. "Bill" Reed was born on July 30, 1893, in Manteno, Illinois. He was the eldest of three sons of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Reed. Bill Reed's childhood was dominated by sports: basketball, baseball, football, track. He participated in every sport at Manteno High. For his senior year of high school, he transferred to Grand Prairie Academy at Onarga, Illinois. After graduating from high school, Reed enrolled at Monmouth College, also in Illinois.
With World War I brewing outside his home state, Bill Reed was drafted into the army for a year in France in 1918. In 1919, he returned to Monmouth to complete his senior year and later received a B. A. degree in social studies. Throughout his years at Monmouth, he earned a total of 12 varsity letters in sports.
Hearing of a job opening for a high school coach, Reed moved to Loveland, Colorado in 1920, where he resided the rest of his life, except times that the military called. Bill Reed coached all sports and taught social sciences at Loveland High School for years. He was a wonderful coach, and his athletes and students respected him and even considered him a hero. Throughout all his coaching years, his football team won six Northern Conference championships, were runners-up in state playoffs three times, and won the state championships in 1937 and 1940.
During this time Reed also met Alma, whom he married and had a child who was also named Bill. In the early fall of 1940, the National Guard was called to service, and Captain Reed resumed a military career. Due to World War II, Reed went on active duty with the Selective Service and became the Colorado Director in 1943. While he was staying in Denver, he still participated in coaching and coached football at a nearby high school. In 1946, Colonel Reed returned to his coaching career at LHS, but only for a year. The following year, the coach became the Superintendent of Schools.
In 1948, Governor Lee Knous called Reed to set up a new Selective Service, which had vanished after Word War II. Reed later said that his career as the director was "not pleasant," and he didn't enjoy seeing boys' schooling interrupted by war. Then due to the buildup prior to the Korean War, Reed went back into the service in 1950 as a full time Colonel, juggling both jobs as Colonel and Selective Service Director until 1968 at the age of 75, at which time he was promoted to Brigadier General.
Title and honors crowded in on the life of Bill Reed throughout his time in Loveland. He was president or chairman of over ten organizations and was active with many others. Honors include the BPOE of Loveland "Man of the Year," The Pioneer Award by the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, the National Award of War Mothers by the mothers of servicemen, The Distinguished Alumnus Citation from Monmouth College, the naming of Reed Field, and, of course, The naming of Bill Reed Junior High now Bill Reed Middle School in 1972.
The list of well-known students Bill Reed taught and had on teams is endless. From the list, one can easily see that Bill Reed was truly the first Loveland hero. Both Walt Clark and Conrad Ball were on Reed's basketball team; in fact, the basketball team of 1925-26 had Bill Reed as coach, and Walt Clark and Conrad Ball as players. Other well-known names in Loveland coached and taught by Reed include Ray Peterson and John Ferguson, and some successful businessmen such as Bill Warnock (founder of Prudential Realty) and William E. "Bud" Davis, president of the University of Mexico.
Bill Reed died September 7, 1975 at Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in Denver at the age of 82. It seemed only fitting that the funeral was under dark cloudy skies. He was buried with military honors, and honorary escorts included Conrad Ball, Harfield Chilson, John Ferguson, B. F. Kitchen, Ray Patterson, R. W. Truscott, and Bill Warnock. Reverend Donald R. Mitchell noted at the ceremony, "From time to time, there are those who touch a whole community yet walk in humility. That's our Bill." "He was everybody's friend," said Ray Patterson. Lovelanders can say they never knew a man or woman who didn't like Bill Reed. General Howard E. "Bill" Reed truly made an impact on many lives in Loveland. William E. "Bud" Davis said, "In life one is lucky to meet a few great men, and Bill Reed certainly fit that category in every way."