John Richard Reed, D.O. age 73 years of Niles, Michigan, friend, physician, and world-renowned daffodil hybridizer died peacefully at 12:11 p.m. on Sunday, November 22, 2020 at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana following a brief illness.
He was born on December 3, 1946 in South Bend, Indiana to Milton Omer and Gertrude M. (Rough) Reed, and was graduated from high school in Waukegan, Illinois. He continued his education at Indiana University South Bend (IUSB), and earned his doctorate from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in Downers Grove, Illinois. He practiced at the former Visitor’s Hospital in Buchanan, Michigan, maintained a private practice in Buchanan, and served as a staff physician at Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Reed served in the United States Army Reserve, and has lived in this area all of his life.
His greatest interest was growing and hybridizing daffodils. He owned and operated Oakwood Daffodils on West Bertrand Road in Niles with 30 acres of blooming bulbs. He began growing daffodils in 1971, and began hybridizing in 1976. He registered 437 new varieties, and published and distributed an annual catalogue for 37 years. He cultivated the largest collection of daffodil hybrids in the world, of thousands of unique varieties. One of his latest award-winning hybrids is ‘Godfather’ with large white petals framing an ornately ruffled, deep red cup. The scale and outcomes of John’s daffodil breeding was unrivaled: he created many new color breaks, including deep orange and red trumpets, lavender-pink cups, deep red cups, intensely green-eyed cups, and daffodils with pink, deep orange, and even red-shaded petals.
He has sponsored shows of the Saint Joseph Valley Daffodil Society at Fernwood Botanical Gardens and Nature Preserve in Niles, and has shown to daffodil societies in many countries. In 2019 he was awarded the prestigious Peter Barr Memorial Cup by the Royal Horticultural Society for his life’s achievements in daffodils, the highest award bestowed.
Within hours of the death of Dr. Reed, condolences were posted to daffodil special interest websites from growers around the world.
John was first married to Sue Travis. On August 27, 1988 in Niles he married the former Sandra Colleen Robbins with whom he celebrated the twenty-sixth anniversary of their wedding prior to her death on February 2, 2015. He was also preceded in death by his parents, Gertrude Marie Reed and Senior Chief Petty Officer M. Omar Reed, U.S. Navy, Retired.
Surviving family includes a cousin, Jim Barker of Ventura, California; step-daughters Carina, Pam (& son Logan), and Michelle; and an “extra” daughter, caregiver, and business partner, Julie (& Mitchell) Martin of Buchanan, and her daughter Christina Wagoner and grandchildren Maci, Addi, Oliver, and Huxley.
The life of Dr. John Reed will be honored privately at his graveside and memories shared. Contributions in memory of Dr. Reed may be made to Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve, 13988 Range Line Road, Niles, Michigan, 49120, https://www.fernwoodbotanical.org/. Online condolences may be left at:
John Reed had a wonderful fascination with creation, studying and treating the human body so that it might heal, and studying and treating daffodils so that they might produce remarkable new varieties. His mind, hands, and life have made the world both more healthy and more beautiful.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John R. Reed, D.O., please visit our floral store.
Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve
13988 Range Line Road, Niles MI 49120