John Reeder, 82, of Mount Ida, Ark., and a former resident of Blytheville, Ark., died Tuesday, Oct. 10, at the Montgomery County Nursing Home in Mount Ida. He was born on Feb. 12, 1924, in Blytheville. He graduated from Blytheville High School in 1941 and was accepted for work on war planes a the former Blytheville Air Force Base. In 1945 he decided to pursue a career in electrical engineering and graduated from the Capitol Radio Engineering Institute in Washington, DC in 1947.
Mr. Reeder returned to Kennett, where he and two other engineers began Kennett's first radio station. He would work there for the next 20 years with the stage name of "Johnny Mack," opening and closing his broadcasts with an instrumental rendition of "Sunset Serenade."
In May of 1967, ready to move on to television broadcasting, he accepted the position of news director for KARK, Channel 4, in Little Rock, Ark. He and his family moved to Little Rock, where they lived for the next 39 years. After 10 years with KARK, he accepted a news director position with Arkansas Radio Network. Five years later he received the offer of a lifetime dream, the opportunity to join the national news source, The Associated Press. He joined them as their southern regional agent and retired after 10 years.
Retirement did not last long for John. He learned of an "On Air" position with Channel 2, the Arkansas Educational Television Network in Conway, Ark. With AETN, he co-created and starred in a program called "The Arkansas Traveller." His contribution to the world of broadcasting journalism earned him numerous honors and awards, including president of Sigma Delta Chi, a journalism fraternity, where he served as president and secretary/treasurer over a 10 year span. He retired a second time from journalism in 1997 and pursued, full time, his second greatest love after his family, golf. He spent his days golfing and teaching senior citizens personal computer operations.
In May of 2006, John and his wife, Dottie, moved to Mount Ida, Where they have always loved the people and the beauty of the area.
Mr. Reeder leaves his wife of 58 years, Dorothy Jean Miller Reeder, of the home and formerly of Kennett; two daughters, Terri Ward, of Mount Ida and Connie Bode, of Kingfisher, Okla.; three grandchildren, William Shane Bode, of O'Keene, Okla., Erica Nicole Kolar, of Seattle, Wash., and Kellie Renae Bode, of Kingfisher and one great-grandchild, Kacee Lynn Bode, of O'Keene.
Graveside services will be held at 11:30 a.m., Friday, Oct. 13, in the Elmwood Cemetery at Blytheville with the Rev. David Ross officiating. There will be no visitation.
Cobb Funeral Home in Blytheville is in charge of arrangements.
Condolences may be emailed to cobbfuneralhome.net.