James M. Reid, writer
James M. Reid, a writer and store owner who embraced life’s adventures and its humor, an outdoorsman who skied, played tennis, ran marathons, and climbed mountains, died Oct. 11, 2016. His wife and sons were by his side at Applewood Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Winchester, NH, when he passed quietly, ending a three-year struggle with the consequences of a stroke. Jamie, as he was called by all who knew him, was 81. He and his wife, Pamela Tomkinson Reid, made their home in Vermont for 26 years. He lived in Ridgefield on Cooper Hill Road most of the 1970s and on Redding Ridge in the late 1960s, and also lived in New York City.
“He will be remembered for his sense of humor, his laugh, and his strong opinions on many topics,” said his wife.
Born July 10, 1935, in New York City, he was the son of James M. Reid Sr. and Helen Grace Carlisle. In his youth he lived in New York, in Stamford, and for a time in Landgrove, VT, where he attended a one-room schoolhouse. He fondly remembered working summers on a Vermont farm and driving a tractor when he was 12.
He graduated from Friends Academy in Locust Valley, NY, in 1954 and from Cornell University with a degree in psychology in 1958. He was drafted and served stateside in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1960.
He worked for the next 30 years as a writer, operating the James M. Reid Company, writing training materials and conducting training programs for corporate clients including banks and the American Banking Association. He was the author of books on writing: The Handbook of Basic English Skills, Better Business Letters and Effective Letters, which he was proud to note had been translated into Japanese in 1998.
In 1990 he and his wife purchased the Jamaica General Store in Jamaica, VT, which they owned and operated for 15 years, retiring to Brattleboro in 2005. In retirement he wrote many letters and opinion pieces for the Brattleboro Reformer, offering his views on topics that ranged from politics to medicine to animals.
He was a lifelong believer in working out and keeping in shape. A runner, he completed two New York City Marathons. He led family and friends on mountain hiking expeditions, reaching the summits of Mt. Marcy in the Adirondacks, Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, and Mt. Rainier in Washington State. In a similar spirit of extended family, he also organized canoe trips down the Housatonic River. He loved tennis, playing at the Sugar Hollow Racquet Club during his Ridgefield years, and winning some local tournaments in Londonderry, VT. He was an accomplished downhill skier, and also enjoyed cross country skiing. A voracious reader, he had wide-ranging tastes in both fiction and nonfiction, enjoying detective novels, high literary works, and books on science and evolution.
He married Pamela Tomkinson, who survives him, June 5, 1982. He also leaves sons, Jonathan Reid of Brattleboro, VT, and Jesse Reid and wife Lee Reid of Allen, TX, and two grandsons, Calvin and Jacob Reid, also of Texas. His eldest son, James ‘Bo’ Reid, died in 2013. In Ridgefield he leaves a brother, Macklin Reid, his wife, Betsy, and their son Grady. He also leaves a sister, Anne Reid Kessler of Westborough, MA, her husband Garry Kessler, and their daughters Eileen Sawyer of Milton, MA and Sharon Szentpetery Kessler of Berlin, Germany. Other survivors include his first wife, Martha, of Seattle, WA, and his sister-in-law Carol Reid of New York, and daughters in spirit Barbara Middlebrook of Denver, CO, and Liz Cates of New York. Two older brothers, Peter Reid and Chris Reid, died before he did.
Because he loved animals, donations to the Windham County Humane Society, PO Box 397, Brattleboro, VT 05302 would be appreciated by the family. A memorial service will be held at a later date.