A Salmon Arm man who passed suddenly while on a trip to New Zealand is being fondly remembered as a successful businessman, a world traveller and a role model and mentor to many young people.
Ralph Reid passed away of a sudden and massive heart attack on March 21, leaving behind his wife of 38 years, Debbie, a devoted family and a large group of friends.
A collection of Reid’s family’s impressions and memories of him, compiled by his daughter-in-law Candice, speak of a devoted husband, father, grandfather and pet owner who could be relied upon for anything.
Among the closest of Reid’s friends is Dave Barnard who said he has 45 years worth of memories to draw upon when thinking about his departed friend.
Barnard played and coached baseball with Reid. He said Reid took time to mentor the young players on the teams he coached, inspiring the toughness needed to bring out the best in them with a favourite phrase of his: “There’s no crying in baseball.”
The mentorship of young people didn’t stop on the baseball diamond. Both Barnard and Reid’s family spoke highly of the way he opened his home to his sons’ friends offering a place to stay when they needed it.
Reid was a skilled athlete particularly at golf which Barnard jokingly described as his first love.
“If he played something it was going to be played as hard as he could play it,” Barnard said.
Barnard described his friend’s diligent work ethic.
“I could phone Ralph at 5:30 in the morning and I’d never fear him not being up,” Barnard said
Reid’s family also recalled him as a constantly early-riser who did a lot of his best thinking while drinking coffee and driving around town very early in the morning.
The work ethic translated into a successful business, General Assembly Excavating, which he started with his business partner Garth Jackson when they were in their mid 20s and ran for 35 years.
“Ralph was a huge part of my life in many aspects, all of which I was very fortunate to be a part of,” Jackson said.
Reid is remembered by all for his sharp wit and his personable nature which allowed him to quickly befriend the locals on his extensive travels in foreign countries.
“His respect for others made him a well-respected member of our small community,” a statement from Reid’s family reads.
“The family has been overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity and support the community has shown since Ralph’s passing and is so grateful.”
A celebration of life will be held at the Walters’ farm in Notch Hill on April 27 with an open house from 4 to 7 p.m.
Speaking to the number of lives Reid touched, Barnard said between 500 and 800 people are expected.