By Lynda Jones
Homegoing services were held on Saturday, April 14 for Larry Reed, Sr., one of Milwaukee’s longtime leaders who made his mark in the arena of athletics, business and church during his lifetime. Family and friends paid their last respects and celebrated the life of Reed, Sr. last weekend during visitation and repast services held at Hampton Avenue Church of Christ, and funeral and burial held at Wisconsin Memorial Park.
Larry was born in Indianapolis, Indiana to Odessa Avery. He later moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he attended 4th Street School, Palmer Elementary School and was a proud alumnus of Lincoln High School in 1957. Larry served honorably in the Air Force in Great Falls, Montana. Afterwards, he attended the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee where he received a Master’s Degree in social work in 1969. Larry was a four-year star on the Men’s basketball team. A fixture in UWM record books, with records still unbroken, he received a special honor on January 28, 2000 as he was inducted into UWM’s Hall of Fame.
“Larry was a great friend of our program and a great friend of mine,” UWM coach Rob Jeter said of Reed, “He was around a lot of practices and games and just helped us out and supported us in so many ways. He was also a great player and a pioneer for basketball and African Americans in Wisconsin.”
Reed was also a member of the All-Decade Team for the 1960s at UWM and is second on the school’s all-time scoring list (1,693). He also tallied a school record 1,529 rebounds in his career, making him the only player in school history to have over 1,500 points and 1,500 rebounds in his career.
He later became the first Black assistant basketball coach in Wisconsin when he was hired by UWM in 1967. He later became the first African American assistant basketball coach hired at UWMadison. Larry was the second African American to work as a NBA office administrator serving as the head scout for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Following a career in sports, he began a career in real estate and insurance with his wife, Sharon when they established Reed and Reed Realty. He later worked in the Milwaukee Public Schools Recreation Department, and served on the board at New Horizon Center Inc.
As he excelled in athletics and business, he also managed during the same time period to devote his life to his family and his faith.
Larry gave his life to Christ and was baptized at an early age at 35th and Cherry Street Church of Christ in Milwaukee. On July 15, 1961, the second most important event occurred in Larry’s life – he married his spiritual soul mate Sharon Lee Britton. A remarkable union of love intertwined with faith in God produced a dynamic couple that God used to make a difference in the lives of many people.
Through their union four children were born. Larry was an outstanding father who absolutely loved his children. He also loved his extended family and friends.
As a founding member of the Hampton Avenue Church of Christ, Larry taught bible class for more than 40 years, and as his children expressed their childhood was centered on going to church on Sunday mornings, beginning with bible classes, church service and break home for the sports game on television and dinner, and back to church for Sunday evening service. In addition to his four biological children, Brother Larry, as members called him was a father figure to the rest of the children at Church of Christ as well.
Daphne Moutry Allen, who is the first African American female forensic investigator for The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office has been a member of Hampton Avenue Church of Christ since childhood shared her feelings for Reed, Sr. “My brothers and I, along with the other children of the church looked at Larry as a father figure, and he treated us as if we were his children as well. When we were not behaving the way we should have, one look from him and the extension of his finger let us know, that we better straighten up. He also coached the boys in the church including my brother Tony with his sons in sports.” Allen felt such a connection to Reed that she chose him as the Godfather to her oldest daughter, Khyisha Moutry.
Reed’s two sons eulogized their father at his funeral. Larry Jr. spoke on how much he strived to be just like his dad his entire life, and how grateful he was to be the namesake of Larry Reed, Sr. He also shared how much his dad loved being a dad, grand-dad, and mentor to others. His second son, Daryl shared how he had received the news of his dad’s passing on Saturday the day before Easter, and the church where he pastors respectfully asked if he wanted to pass on giving the Easter Sermon. “I told them that it would be perfectly fitting for me to deliver the Easter Sermon, a holiday that celebrates the resurrection of my heavenly Father as my biological father enters heaven.”
Reed was also celebrated through remarks from his only daughter, Terri Ann and his cousin Michael Avery, who was more like a brother to Larry.
Not many men who have spent a mere 72 years on this earth can leave the type of foot prints that Reed has. His smile and his laugh were infectious, and he was known to give great big bear hugs. Larry will be greatly missed. He was preceded in death by his mother Odessa Harris and his son Damian Oyango Reed.
To cherish his memory he is survived by his adoring wife of 50 years, Sharon Lee Reed; father, Quiller Harris; son, Larry (Kim) Reed Jr.; son, Daryl (Charon) Reed; daughter, Terri Ann (Gerry) Turner; daughter in-law, Gail Reed; 11 Grandchildren, 3 Great Grandchildren, special cousin Michael Avery, God child Khyisha Moutry and a host of other relatives and friends.