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Obituaries

Dr. James Richard Reeder, a longtime Westinghouse electrical engineer and Loyola University Maryland computer science teacher, dies

Dr. James Richard Reeder is in the Department of Computer Science’s hall of fame.

Dr. James Richard Reeder, a retired electrical engineer and computer science teacher who taught at Loyola University Maryland for decades, died of organ failure at Stella Maris Rehabilitation in Timonium. He was 89.

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Born in Greenbrier, Tennessee, he was the son of James Cleveland Reeder, a Louisville and Nashville Railroad worker, and Edna Cole, a homemaker.

Dr. Reeder grew up as the third of six children raised on a small tobacco farm north of Nashville.

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He worked the fields and was an amateur photographer with his own darkroom at home. He earned his tuition for Vanderbilt University, where he majored in electrical engineering.

“One of his school English teachers encouraged and recommended him to someone at Vanderbilt,” said his wife, Martha Tuttle Reeder.

While in school, the nearby Grand Ole Opry attracted him to become a part-time sound engineer at WSM-AM Radio.

“He saw the stars of country music and even the holes of the stage floor. He and his family were fans of the music and knew the performers and where their homes were,” his wife said.

After graduating from Vanderbilt with honors in 1955, he was recruited to the Westinghouse motor division in Lima, Ohio. He received a co-patent award for the design of an electrical system for Boeing and other aircraft.

Dr. Reeder initially moved to Baltimore to attend the Johns Hopkins University, where he earned a doctorate in electric engineering. He moved to Baltimore permanently in 1969.

He met his future wife in 1966 through a friend who lived on North Calvert Street in Charles Village.

“He appeared and seemed to be coming back more often,” his wife said. “He also had a wonderful sense of humor.”

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Dr. Reeder remained at Westinghouse for 41 years. After its sale to Northrop Grumman, he was listed on its honor role of inventors.

“Jim’s special pleasure came from a parallel career as an adjunct professor in the Master of Computer Science Program at Loyola University,” his wife said. “He always wanted to teach. He was quick to notice talents and accomplishments in others.”

Dr. Reeder taught until he was 80.

“He liked teaching and interacting with students, many of whom were employees from local industries,” his wife said. “It had always been his goal.”

He was inducted into the Loyola University Department of Computer Science’s hall of fame in 2009. He was cited for “significant contributions to the technical world and our smaller world at Loyola.”

“He was patient and made his students work hard. He was fair, and after hours, he liked chatting with his students. He was an academic adviser,” his wife said.

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Dr. Reeder often assisted family and friends who were learning to use computers. He also enjoyed spending time at his Loyola office conversing with students and faculty members.

“He was really not athletic, except bowling, but he liked to visit national parks, both in the U.S. and Canada,” his wife said. “He was an amateur photographer and captured mountains and lakes.”

As part of his work and service within the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers International, he was hosted at banquets by overseas governments.

He visited Europe for the group’s events and spent time in Paris; Bruges, Belgium; Munich; and Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Martha Tuttle Reeder, a retired Baltimore County art teacher; two sons, James Michael Reeder of Catonsville and Dr. George David Reeder of Mardela Springs; a sister, Jenny Reeder Hackney of Greenbrier; and two grandchildren.

No funeral is planned.


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