December 20, 2012

Feature obituary: Stuart Reed, 75, honored as ‘ambassador’ for Portland

By Melanie Creamer mcreamer@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Stuart Reed worked for Portland’s Downtown District for more than 10 years and was an active member of the First Free Methodist Church and a dedicated volunteer at the Root Cellar.

Stuart Reed was honored in 2007 for his work with Portland's Downtown District.

Family photo

PASSAGES

Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person’s family and friends in lasting ways.

Mr. Reed, who was honored by Portland city officials in 2007 for his service as a “true goodwill ambassador for our community,” died on Nov. 23 after a short battle with cancer. He was 75.

Mr. Reed was a fixture in the Old Port for many years. He worked as a summer guide for Portland’s Downtown District and in 2002 he was promoted to supervisor of its guide program.

Jan Beitzer, executive director of the organization, said Reed would often escort tourists to historical landmarks, giving them a guided tour of the city. He also served as a mentor to younger guides.

“Stuart was such an ambassador for everything Portland,” Beitzer said. “He cared deeply about Portland and was proud to show the city off to visitors and tourists. He always went the extra mile.”

Mr. Reed retired in 2007. Soon after, city officials issued a proclamation honoring Reed as “Mr. Downtown” and for “promoting all things Portland.”

The Rev. Dan Ruiz at First Free Methodist on Munjoy Hill said Wednesday that Mr. Reed held numerous positions at the church, such as steward, trustee and secretary.

He said Mr. Reed was the “go-to guy” for members of the congregation who needed help accessing city services such as health care and housing.

“He was a friend to all,” Ruiz said. “He was right at the forefront for a lot of the first occasions of Africans coming here. People got to know him well. He became a part of their lives.”

Mr. Reed, a transplant from New York, spent his career in the hospitality industry.

He was general manager of the Hotel Margaret in Brooklyn, N.Y. He worked there for 25 years before moving to Portland.

In his early years in Maine, he worked at the Eastland Dunfey Hotel in Portland, then at the Quality Inn in South Portland.

In 1982, Mr. Reed became a doorman at the Portland House and retired as building manager in 1988.

He was married to the late Susanne Reed. He is survived by his daughter, Donna Reed, and her son, Ryan Reed Nichols, of Cornish.

He was remembered by his daughter on Wednesday as a kind and compassionate person who had a big heart and a gruff exterior.

“He was a great grandfather to my son,” she said. “He really loved his grandson and would take him places. I loved the fact that he embraced that role.”

Mr. Reed died of cancer the day after Thanksgiving. His daughter said she waited until this week to submit his obituary to the newspaper because she wanted to hold his memorial service on Dec. 29 – his 76th birthday.

“He liked a good party,” she said. “I wanted a celebration of him and his life.”

Mr. Reed’s obituary will appear in Friday’s newspaper.

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

mcreamer@pressherald.com

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