In Memory of




Obituary for Fred Douglas Reed

Fred Douglas Reed was born to Reverend Charles Henry and Ethel Hayes Reed
in McIntosh, Alabama on July 1, 1920. Raised by God-fearing parents, this
young man grew up with 3 brothers: Henry, Hiram, and Allen; and a sister:
Lucille, who all had a great work-ethic and love for each other. They received
their Christian education in the home and at Lang’s Chapel African Methodist
Episcopal Church. With his father dying when Fred was 12 years of age, Fred
stopped his education in the 6th grade to work to help to support the family.
However, being an avid reader, he passed the G.E.D. exam with such a high
score until the examiner thought that he had cheated. Taking after his mother,
Fred pursued a career in tailoring.
With World War II at hand, he enlisted in the US Army. But before departing
for India, he proposed to the love of his life, Lelia Beatrice Roberts, on Hill’s
Alley off Davis Avenue. They married; and after serving 2 years in the Army,
Fred was honorably discharged. The young couple moved Down the Bay and
they united with Saint Joseph Missionary Baptist Church. After 5 years of
marriage, the children started coming.
During the time of raising a family, the pastor of the church asked Fred to learn
to play the piano. He started taking lessons from Delia Brown. Thus was the
beginning of a long career as a pianist and church musician! During his time as a
musician, he founded a group called the Gospel All Stars. He also played for the
Azalea Singers. He and his 3 year old daughter, Yvonne, started performing
together in churches in and beyond the state of Alabama. They were called
Deacon Reed and Little Yvonne. Later, his wife and younger daughter, Hazel,
joined them and they started performing as the Reed Family. He was a musician
for the Interdenominational Men’s Singing Aggregation from a young adult up
into his late 80’s. In his senior years, he founded the Reed Harmonizers, a group
of seasoned quartet singers and his son, Lamont, who loved blending their
talents and performing in churches and at various events. His other children,
Jimmie and Vernon, are musically inclined as well. He sang, along with his
sons, Vernon and Lamont, with the Saint Union Male Chorus.
His career with the United States Government as a Civil Service employee
spanned over many decades; however, he said after working from the age of 12,
50 years of being on the clock for someone else was enough. So he retired to
work again. He and his lovely wife started their own cardboard collecting
business. He worked this job until he was almost 90 years old.
Fred took his role as deacon very seriously, having served in this capacity at
Saint Joseph, Boston Street Baptist Church of Memphis, Tennessee, and finally
at Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church. He served faithfully as a musician in
Mount Sinai until the Lord called him home. He and his lovely bride have been
married since April 12, 1943. His life has been woven in the church community
for many years. His uncle, Reverend Charles Hayes, was a former pastor of
Stone Street Baptist Church. This same uncle was the founder of Cedar Grove
He leaves a legacy that will be carried on by his loving wife, Lelia; his children:
Jim & Regina Reed, Vernon Reed, Lamont Sr. & Marsha Reed, Yvonne &
Carlton Matthews, and Hazel & William Andrew Thomas; his “plus-three”
children who were entrusted to his care: Charles & Pauline Burno (1st cousin),
Sabrina Smith, and Wanda & Paul Piepho; grandchildren: Gaius Bolling, Justin
Reed, TeVernon Witherspoon, Christopher & Vonetta Kimble, Matthew Kimble,
Lucille & Dominic Foster, Vernon J. Reed III, Lamont Jr. & Nerissa Reed,
Robin & Cory McCampbell, Sonya Williams, Henry Clay Scott, L. Yvette &
Quintin Hillery I, Clyde Suggs, Bishop-Elect Antonio & Marketa Jackson, Pastor
Russell Jr. & LaToya McCutcheon, Jason & Kenisha McCutcheon, Jasmine
McCutcheon, Tremayne & Enjoli Fields, and Michael Fields; Charles Burno Jr.,
Randall Burno, and Demetrius Bruno; great-grands; great-great-grands; nieces
and nephews; great-nieces and nephews; great-great-nieces and nephews;
1st cousins, Laura Alice Norwood who is also his godsister and Doris Dicks;
godchildren: Connie Pugh and her children-Condie Jr., Ebonie, Melody, Kristen,
and Daphnie; Lavanda Taylor and her child, Pamela Bonita Farris; McKinley
Berry; Lucille P. Glover; his former church family, Saint Joseph and his current
church family, Mount Sinai; the Hurtel & Prairie Streets community; his
Pinochle and Domino buddies; and a host of friends.
Deacon Fred Douglas Reed, a Church Music Legend of Mobile, Alabama, a
husband and father who loved and is still loved!! Two songs that he dearly loved
are reflections of his life: It’s In My Heart and I Am On the Battlefield For My