PR legend John M. Reed died this week at the age of 82. Those of us who knew John are aware of his sincere passion for PR. For those who didn’t know him, I wanted to share a few of the numerous highlights from his extraordinary career.
One of the early counselors in international PR counselors, John founded Consultants in Public Relations, SA, in 1970. He began his career as copy boy for the former Washington Times-Herald, and went on to hold senior PR positions at Control Data Corporation, Deere & Company and Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation.
John’s first professional overseas assignment was with the United States Information Agency in Seoul, Korea in 1949. Following the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, he worked for USIA in Tokyo, Japan and Manila, Philippines. In 1952, he joined the Committee for Free Asia (later, the Asia Foundation) in San Francisco, California. During the time of his work for that organization it was a secretly financed arm of the U.S. Government dedicated to helping stop the on-rush of communism in Asia. He subsequently lived and worked in New York City; Moline, Illinois; Geneva, Switzerland; Minnetonka, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C.
John was well known for his writing skills and for the fact he always found time to mentor young professionals. He received numerous awards, including the Gold Anvil from PRSA. He was a founding member of PRSA’s International Section.
Five years ago, Reed received the Arthur W. Page Society’s Distinguished Service Award. I listened to John’s acceptance remarks and will never forget his comments about his love for the PR profession.
“The real secret in my life is that it was, and is still, fun,” John said. “If my bosses and clients had only known, I would have paid them to allow me the pleasure of working in assorted parts of the globe. Happily for my family’s sake, I did get paid.”