5016 US Route 11
| Homer, NY 13077
Tel: 1-607-749-2134
Welcome to the memorial page for

Ronald William Reed

July 24, 1955 ~ September 22, 2016 (age 61) 61 Years Old

Ronald William Reed, 61, of DaVinci Drive, Cortland, died unexpectedly on September 22, 2016. Born on July 24, 1955, Ron grew up in the tiny hamlet of Newton Falls, NY. His small-town boyhood in the Adirondacks shaped his love of the outdoors, passion for conservation, skills in athletics, and commitment to service. Growing up as a Boy Scout, altar boy, paper boy and multi-sport athlete, Ron excelled at nearly everything he tried. He attended the State University of New York at Oswego, where he received a BA in zoology, studied nursing at Jefferson Community College, then found his calling and received his teaching certification in biology and chemistry at St. Lawrence University. He received his MS in education with honors from the State University of New York at Cortland, and completed additional graduate work at St. Lawrence, Boston University, and the State University of New York at Potsdam. He was married to Donna M. Fish, Ph.D., on July 12, 1986, after a nearly decade-long courtship.

A highly respected and award-winning educator, Ron taught biology, environmental science, chemistry, earth science, writing, life science, and math, and was a six-sport coach over a 33-year career in five NYS school districts, including Williamson, Homer, Canton, Potsdam, and Cortland junior high and high schools. He also taught science methods and was a guest lecturer at a variety of universities, including SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Cortland, St. Lawrence University, Cornell University, and Hobart & William Smith Colleges. The recipient of numerous grants, Ron was recognized nationally as a leader in science education. A master teacher, Ron was selected for the Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers, the Crossing Boundaries project of Cornell University and Hobart & William Smith Colleges, Cornell’s Leading Initiative in Medicine and Biochemical Engineering (CLIMB) program, and the Geospatial Information Technologies (GIT Ahead) program, among many others, to develop integrative approaches to science education. Ron shaped generations of new student teachers through the years. He also greatly influenced his fellow veteran teachers who were inspired by his innovative teaching methods and integration of research and writing across the curriculum. He conducted research in the areas of invertebrates, ichthyology, limnology, student motivation, and science education. Most recently he directed the Hobart & William Smith Environmental Studies Summer Youth Institute (ESSYI) with students from around the world.

An active volunteer all of his life, Ron served on numerous boards to support a wide variety of community efforts. He served as president of the board of Indian Creek Nature Center, the trail maintenance coordinator for the Adirondack Mountain Club, volunteered extensively and taught nature courses at Lime Hollow Nature Center, and was a Brother of the Knights of Columbus, among many other community activities. He was a life-long athlete and enjoyed marathons, triathlons, Tae Kwon Do, hiking and most especially marathon canoe racing. He participated annually in the 90-miler canoe race in the Adirondacks and could be found on a river or in the woods nearly every day of his adult life.

Ron’s most important life accomplishments centered on his love of and dedication to his family. He was the son of the late Sandra Hodge Reed, Richard H. Miller and Weldon H. Reed. He is survived by his wife and partner of 40 years, Donna Fish; daughter, Lauren M. F. Reed of Cambridge, MA; step-mother, Meg Miller of Lake Clear, NY; twin brother Rick Reed (Shelly) of DeKalb Junction, NY; sister Melanie Uncle of Baldwinsville, NY; sister Barbara Kopec (Ted) of Niceville, FL; sister Lynne Littlefield (Dan) of Sodus, NY; sister Valerie Miner (David) of North Bennington, VT.; brother Daniel Miller (Barbara) of Williamsport, PA; brother Thomas Miller of Haiku, HI; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial mass and celebration of life will be held on Saturday, December 3 at St. Mary’s Church, 59 N. Main St., Cortland, NY.  The mass will be from 1:00-2:30, followed by a reception in the Parish Hall where guests will be invited to offer reflections on Ron’s life. The family is endowing a scholarship in his name to support teacher and environmental education and welcomes contributions in his memory.



 Service Information

Memorial Mass
December 3, 2016

1:00 PM
St. Mary's Church
59 North Main Street
Cortland, NY 13045

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