*This article appeared in Oct/Nov ’17 issue of Owensboro Living.
Charles Reid, known by those who loved him as “Chubby,” was nothing short of a hardworking and humble man.
Reid, like many of his peers of that day, had a childhood that was rich in love, not money. Charles grew up with little means, and like many young men and women, he dreamed of going to college, but faced the reality of cost and the inability to afford an education. To see his dream come to fruition, he joined the Navy. This afforded him the GI Bill, which is an education benefit earned by members of Active Duty, Selected Reserve and National Guard Armed Forces and their families. It covered costs associated with getting his education. Charles made the ultimate sacrifice for his education that became an important mission to him.
After returning home he soon met his wife, Marjorie (Mitzi). He attended Brescia College where he obtained a degree and thereafter began his banking career. He later went on to purchase Farmers & Merchants Bank in Livermore, Ky., and Providence State Bank in Providence, Ky. His hard work and business sense later culminated into Independence Bank.
He traveled many places during the Korean War and had great unforgettable life experiences during his service. On their final leg home, Charles’ ship stopped in the Bikini Atoll Islands where hydrogen bombs were tested. The wind shifted, and their ship was in the fallout where the sailors were exposed to high levels of radiation.. Over 95 percent of the men on that ship died of cancer; some very soon after the event, but Mr. Reid felt blessed to live a prosperous 67 years of life.
He and Mitzi were the proud parents of seven children who were encouraged throughout their youth to save money to invest in a college education because it was a privilege to be the benefactor of a great education that could build upon their God-given talents. He continued to learn while encouraging his family and employees to grow in the same way.
Reid invested his time in helping people achieve their dreams, just as he had fulfilled his. He believed in giving back and set the bar high providing endless hours of volunteer work to local charitable organizations.
His final wish to his family was to create educational opportunities for students seeking a college education through scholarships. Before he passed away, in the fall of 2001, he awarded the first Charles A. Reid Scholarship. His desire was that those willing to put in the hard word would reap a reward of the “American Dream,” just as he had. Since that time, the scholarship fund has awarded over $800,000 in scholarships in honor of his passion and love for higher education within the 12-county footprint they serve. His love of education and community continues through a $1 million gift to Brescia University for the Charles A. Reid School of Business. The generous gift is a fitting tribute to his alma mater.
The award to the community was announced appropriately on July 12, 2017, Chubby’s birthday, where the entire family attended. In a very fitting tribute, they sang and had cake to continue celebrating the life of a man who possessed an amazing attitude of gratitude.
The scholarships benefit students locally and in surrounding communities where they will receive a top notch education in a state of the art building with the best technology.
When building begins in 2018, it will add another trademark building to our community, and further enhance the Brescia campus. It will further help the university to entice our local students to stay in Owensboro for their education and seek careers in their hometown, while attracting other students to come to our community for their college education and make Owensboro their permanent home.
Having a positive attitude was so important to Charles that he had framed and posted, in all Independence Bank locations the poem “Attitude” by Charles Swindoll. His focus, in the poem, was especially in the last line, “I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me, and 90 percent how I choose to react to it.” Lauren Reid says her grandfather imparted these words of wisdom upon everyone, “Work hard and do the right thing.”
He loved time with his family and grandkids more than anything and shared his love for them and his community by leaving an attitude of gratitude in downtown Owensboro for years to come.