Benjamin Franklin Reed, Sr. (85), of San Francisco, California, passed away Christmas Eve, Wednesday, December 24, 2013, at the San Francisco Veteran’s Administration Hospice. He was born February 27, 1928, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to William and Nettie Reed, originally of North Carolina. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, I. Lee Murphy-Reed, his son Benjamin F. Reid, III, of San Francisco, and Verlee Reed (sister), of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A celebration of life service will be held at 11:00 am, Thursday, January 9, 2014 at Bryant Funeral Home, 635 Fulton Street, San Francisco, California. Pastor Daniel Solberg of St. Paulus Lutheran Church will officiate the service. Friends may view from 10:00am-11:00 am the day of the service. Additional viewing from 5:00pm until 7:00pm. Charitable gifts will be accepted at the funeral home on behalf of the Wounded Warriors Association of San Francisco.
Benjamin F. Reed, Sr. was an extraordinary man who loved his family and Country more than anything else life had to offer. He joined the United States Air Force to serve his Country pursue his passion for aviation and to obtain an Engineering degree. Spanning a career over thirty years, he a Tuskegee Airman, Atomic and Civil Engineer, Missile Man, Business man and philanthropist.
Special assignment to Vandenberg AFB, (Cook AFS) after Sputnik (recognized as a pioneer), Ben became a member of the Thor, Atlas, Minuteman and Titan II Missile Maintenance Teams, where he redesigned the Atlas Launch Pad. Special assignment to Japan, also assignments to Sandia and Kirkland, AFB in Albuquerque, New Mexico, National Bureau of Standards in Boulder, CO, and the 99th Air Force Squadron, under the command of General B.O. Davis, Ben flew 99 missions, (25 missions were customary), during his Air Force career. Ben was very stoic regarding some of his near death experiences while executing his orders. While flying a mission in the South Pacific, his plane crashed on an atoll near Guam leaving him blind in both eyes. Experimental surgery restored his sight in one eye and he regained partial sight in the other albeit temporary.
Ben lived his life with honor, courage and valor, without demanding preferential treatment due to his disabilities. Also, he is known by all to be an extremely generous and thoughtful man: anonymously dropping off a dozen turkeys to various charities during the holidays or walking around downtown handing out money to those with a greater need. A devoted and loving husband and father, Benjamin F. Reed, Sr. is an American Hero.