Willard Orlander (Orlando) Reed was born March 18, 1934 in Kansas City, Missouri and passed Monday, October 12, 2020 in his 86th year. As his time came that morning, his heart slowly stopped and he crossed peacefully to rest, leaving behind the burdens of this life. Dealing with many debilitating chronic conditions, he spent the last leg of his journey reunited with his California children and he fought with determination to see each day over the past five years. His fight was not easy and his incredible strength, determination, and stubborn will was evident and saw him through to the last.
He leaves behind his sons, Larry and Nurani Reed (of Sacramento); daughters, Willa Reed (of Sacramento) and Mary Webb; half-brother Floyd T. Reed, Jr. (of Texas); step-daughter, Aimee Norman (of Sacramento); niece Yvetta Hampton; sister-in-law Francine Reed; grandchildren, Zonya Brown, Larry Reed, Jr., Ciara Reed, Chenell Wren, Crystal Reed, Michael Lopez (of Sacramento), and Darryn Reed (of Sacramento); extended family including a host of nieces and nephews; and some surviving long-time friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Floyd T. Reed, Sr and Mildred O. Johnson Reed (Baby); brother, DeLeon Reed; and his son, Terry Reed.
He was born in Kansas City, Missouri where he spent his formative years and lived the majority of his life. His parents married young and separated early in his childhood. He looked undeniably like his beloved mother and he was known for his fierce love and protection of her throughout his teen years. He spent a good deal of his youth with his mother’s family and he dearly loved and was especially close to his Aunt Opal (Johnson); Opal’s children, his grandmother, Pearl (Price). He also loved his brother DeLeon (Leon) immensely, and never quite got over losing both his mother and his brother too early in his life.
He attended Garrison Elementary School and R.T. Coles High School through the tenth grade, when his ever-present life-long determination to do as he saw fit—not what others wanted—led him to leave school and make his own way in life. He trained as a Golden Gloves boxer in his youth and had a winning record. In fact, his boxing talents were well-respected in the streets of his hometown where it was known that he was not one to be crossed.
A short time after leaving high school, he enlisted in the US Navy and served during the Korean War on the USS Wedderburn DD 684 battleship, earning the rank of Seaman Apprentice. His war-time service earned the National Defense, Korean War, and United Nations Medals. Upon his discharge from the Navy, he eventually returned to Kansas City. In the years that followed, he had his eldest children, twins Larry and Terry Reed, with Clarice Holland. Subsequently, he was married for twelve years to Idell O’Leary, which brought to his life his step-daughter, Aimee, and two additional children, Willa and Nurani Reed. Before his divorce, he resided in both Minnesota and California, but he returned to Kansas City in the early 1980s shortly after his marriage ended. He had other love relationships in life as well and from one of those came his daughter, Mary Webb.
He loved bowling, dominos, food, sports, playing the dozens, and passing time with friends. He was loyal, generous, and loved hard. If you entered his heart, there was no exit and nothing he would not do for you if he could. He held those he loved close within, even when his path to being with them in person could not be found. He could often disarm people with his charm and was a good reader of people. He also had an uncanny sixth sense and knack for knowing things before they happened. He would often turn up unexpectedly in time of need for his people, just somehow sensing that his help was needed.
He was strong, dynamic, unconquerable in spirit, and a survivor to his core. His edges could sometimes be like steel, but those who knew him best, saw and felt that his heart was both wide and deep. To those who truly loved and cherished him, he and his memory will live on in our hearts forever.
Graveside service will be held Monday, November 16, 2020 1:30 pm at Leavenworth National Cemetery, visitation 11 am until 12:30 pm at Watkins Heritage Chapel.
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