Jason G. Reed, 39, of Oakwood, left this life very unexpectedly after suffering a heart attack while attending a wrestling meet in Pontiac.
Jason was born Nov. 5, 1973, in Danville. He was the son of Allen and Connie Dines Reed.
He married Kristal Newell on April 22, 1995, in Georgetown. She survives.
Also surviving are his parents, of Danville; three daughters, Cierra, Allyson and Payton; and a son, Gage, all at home in Oakwood. Siblings include a sister, Jodi Reed of Danville; two brothers, Justin “Bear” (Carmen) Reed of Peoria, and Jerrad (Tashia Spillman) Reed of Danville; a paternal grandmother, Evelyn Starks of Danville; seven nieces and nephews, Brytney, Ashylee, Mackenzie, Camron, Cristofer, Broc and Lillian. He also had so many dear friends who were so close to him and a special select few that you know who you are as you read this. Also surviving are brothers-in-law and many numerous extended family members.
Jason attended Danville High School, graduating in 1991, and then attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he received his associate’s degree in mortuary science, graduating in 1993.
After graduation, he served his funeral director’s apprenticeship under Kent Leasure at Houghton-Leasure Funeral Home in Georgetown. He stayed on at Houghton-Leasure Funeral Home after the Darby Family purchased it, and he moved to Sunset Funeral Home in Danville in 1998. Jason had a passion for Sunset Memorial Park. His passion for the cemetery was so great that in 2000 he quit directing funerals to help serve families in the cemetery.
Being a guy who was always looking toward the future, he saw an opportunity to work in one of the Darby’s national companies, Trigard Bronze, where he worked his way up to national sales manager. As he traveled nationally, he seized yet again another opportunity by becoming sales manager at Citadel Management in North Carolina.
Still seeking that job opportunity that satisfied his burning desire to be the best in the funeral industry, he landed in Tulsa, Okla., and found himself in partnership with Ray Francisco, where they co-founded Cremation Safeguard, a company that provides a full circle of protection for funeral homes, crematories and the families they serve. Jason was such a vital key in the success of Cremation Safeguard that he caught the attention of Phillip Short at Legacy Touch, a company that provides identity assurance services via real-time biometric technology. Legacy Touch purchased Cremation Safeguard in 2012, and Jason was named its chief operating officer.
Jason was a true entrepreneur who always strived for success. It is such a shame that he was taken so young because he had finally achieved his professional benchmark, yet he had so much passion and desire bottled up inside of him to make the funeral industry a better place for everyone.
If anyone knew Jason, they knew he was always playing with another deal or business on the side. He got his feet wet in business ownership by starting a baseball card shop in Georgetown in 1994. He loved collecting sports cards and memorabilia. Always having a love for computer gaming, he saw another opportunity and purchased Fortress PC at the Village Mall in 2010 with three other business partners.
How do you describe Jason Reed’s personal life? That’s easy … he was a sports nut! Not only did he have a passion for sports himself, but he shared that passion with kids in the community by coaching soccer, softball and wrestling from Danville to Oakwood to Mahomet. Jason had an infectious personality, and the kids naturally took a liking to him.
Jason was a die-hard Cubs fan. (Don’t worry, Jason, there is always going to be next year). He loved the North Carolina Tar Heels, the Kansas City Chiefs and was a huge Tony Stewart fan. Jason was a total cut up, prankster and kept everyone in stitches at all times. Whether he was imitating Mr. Rogers at a Christmas party or playing an April fool’s joke, you just never knew if he was joking or not. He was a true optimist and always looked on the bright side of things.
Jason’s professional life had him on the road constantly. That did not stop him from being a huge part in the life of his children. His kids were his world, and he would drop anything to be there for them.
A celebration of Jason’s life will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 7, at Sunset Funeral Home and Cremation Center. Officiating: Pastor Jim Blue. Entombment will be at Sunset’s Swan Court Chapel mausoleum. Visitation will be from 3-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at the funeral home. If Jason touched your life by coaching, please, wear your jersey, uniform or favorite sports team’s T-shirt to visitation.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made in Kristal Reed’s name to be utilized for the college education of Jason’s children.