On Saturday, September 17, 2022 at 12:35 AM Mitchell “Mitch” Dae Reed, loving husband, father, stepfather, grandfather, and dear friend passed away at age 80 comfortably in his home in Olpe Kansas.
Mitch was born on September 29, 1941 in Batavia New York to Leslie Mitchell Reed and Aileen Marie Emmert-Reed.
He was inducted into the United States Navy as an aviation machinist mate third class on May 16, 1963 and honorably discharged as an aircraft engine mechanic on May 3, 1966. During his naval time he fathered two daughters Michelle A. Reed of TX and Mary Smith- Castro (Orlando)of Ca. After a brief marriage to his daughter’s mother Madonna Krassner, Mitch, known as Skip to his siblings and later The T-Bird man around the world, went on to complete a course in radio repair and technology in Ohio and then move to California.
In California he worked as a mechanic for the California Highway Patrol and later went to work at Lockheed Electronics in Commerce, California where he met and later married his late wife, of 42 years, Billie Jeane Reed (Bruce-Cook) He then became stepfather to Bonnie Klumpe (Daryl) Emporia, KS and the late Ann Bosch Strong City, KS.
He later went on to own his own full-service gas station where he worked on his first early bird (55-57 Ford Thunderbird) and found his love, passion, and his future. For the rest of his life he would be the owner of Mitch’s T-Birds originating out of Downey California. Over the remaining years of his life he would hone his knowledge and skills until he was recognized throughout the Thunderbird industry and the world as a master of his craft in the art of restoring the 55 to 57 Thunderbirds. Many in his field including Amos Minter, Rick Harbaugh (owner of Prestige Thunderbirds), Larry Everson, Don Simpkins, Jim Weatherly, Gary Vukovic and Don Hyde, and many others, all highly recognized and respected in the early Thunderbird community, acknowledged Mitch as a man skilled in his field and recognized and respected for his skill, knowledge, honesty, and integrity. His willingness to share his time, skill, and knowledge made him a mentor to many younger mechanics and car enthusiasts over the years that have gone on to be recognized themselves in their fields, such as a Flint Hills Community Colleges mechanics instructor Robert Seiberns who is quoted as saying “Mitch was a true mentor to so many young people and taught without talking to us or correcting us as children, he respected us as adults and shared his knowledge in a way that one appreciated and was grateful for”.
He gave tirelessly of his time, energy, and knowledge to his customers, friends, colleagues and club members and to the promotion and education of the love of classic cars most often through his behind-the-scenes work at car shows across the country such as the fabulous Ford show at Knotts Berry Farm in California and many club shows for car clubs such as CTCI (Classic Thunderbird Club International), Kansas City Thunderbird club, Wichita Kansas Thunderbird Club, Early Birds of Southern California, The Crown Victoria Association and the Emporia Flatland Cruisers, all clubs he was a member of (some for more than 40 years). He participated in and hosted many car shows for charity and community fundraisers such as Olpe Down Home Days.
He encouraged new shows and supported them such as the annual car show in Cottonwood Falls, KS to help preserve a local school as a part of history.
One of his greatest joys was introducing young people to the love of the classic cars and often did so by allowing young men and women to drive cars of his own collection to their high school proms, giving them memories of a lifetime and instilling an interest in the classic cars built before their time and often even before their parents time. Mitch was a humble and quiet man that many loved and will be truly missed!
He retired from California,(did he really know what retirement meant?), to Kansas and shortly thereafter suffered the devastating loss of his loving wife of 42 years, Billie Jeane Reed in 2013. He later suffered the heartbreak of losing his companion and dear friend Theresa Coble.
They say time heals all wounds and in 2016 he met Suzan Stroup-Reed, who he married in 2018, and began a new chapter in his life that would last till the end of it.
Mitch was preceded in death by his parents Leslie and Aileen Reed, his brother Raymond Reed, sisters Marian and Judy, stepdaughter Ann Bosch as well as a dear and special friend and mentor Eugene Johnson (Mary) Valley Center, KS.
Mitch leaves behind his beloved baby sister “Cookie” Carol Bresnahan OH, a dear heart brother John Gagnon (Anna)AZ.
His loving wife of the home Suzan “Lynn” Stroup-Reed, his daughters Michelle Reed TX and Mary Smith-Castro (Orlando)CA, stepdaughters Bonnie Klumpe (Daryl) KS, Heather Jackson (Andrew) TN, Mari Beilfuss TN, heart-daughter Darla Watson (Randy) of IN, Heart sons Billy Moll and Robert Seiberns(Allison) of Olpe KS and John Smith of Kansas City MO.
His grandchildren, Aaron Reed, Matthew Reed(Luisa)TX, Austin Reed- Gonzalez CA, Hanna England (Mark), Isaiah Smith TX, Karen Greene (Matthew)KS, David Bell (Tina) CA, Justin Bosch (Jennifer) KS, Jamie Bailes (James) KS, Jesse Ritton (Josh) MO, Tyler Jackson, Bradley Jackson, Samuel Jackson, Wyatt Jackson, Marvin “Trey” Beilfuss III, Gabriel Beilfuss TN, Jessica Jackson-Johnson (Dez), Austin Jackson, Hope Jackson MI, Aimee Stroup-Tubbs (Derrick) and Gavin E Wilcox IN, and 12 great grand-children; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Along with many friends, customers, colleagues, and mentors that helped him along the way that he appreciated greatly and loved dearly.
To all that loved him, In the last words Mitch shared he reminded us that Christ WAS his Savior and he WOULD see us again!
With the assistance of Midwest Cremation of Topeka KS and the Brown-Bennett-Alexander Funeral Home of Cottonwood Falls, KS there will be a Celebration of Life/Visitation on Sunday, September 25, 2022 at the Reed Family Home (730 South Hwy 99) in Olpe, KS from 12:00-8:00 with Military Honors being presented at 4:00pm.
At a later date arraignments are being made to return his remains to California for the scattering of his ashes as he requested.
In lieu of flowers the family is requesting that donations be sent to Brown-Bennett-Alexander Funeral Home PO Box 220, Cottonwood Falls, Kansas 66845, for the Mitch Reed Memorial Fund for Aaron Reed. In order to help meet the medical/ dental needs and challenges faced by his beloved grandson Aaron Reed in the future.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mitchell D. Reed, please visit our floral store.