ALAMOSA — The sun blazed bright shining down from a brilliant blue sky and the majestic mountains glistened in the background. The stadium filled with maroon and purple, young and old, tears and smiles— all with one thing in common— love for a humble man much bigger than he ever realized.
Robert “Jerry” Reed’s celebration of life Saturday at the Alamosa High School stadium brought hundreds to pay their respects. Among those in attendance were his family and his Alamosa community family who all rallied for the long-time educator. Officiated by AHS history teacher Shawn Cody, the ceremony was a reminder of the impact Reed has had on students and others through many generations.
Former student Jesse Bloom, class of 1997, began the tributes “No matter who you were or what kind of person you were, Jerry helped you become exactly who you really were. No matter what your walk was, he helped you become more of yourself. That’s called mastery, and Reedo was the master of love.”
Bloom spoke of Reed’s love of life and asked those in attendance to celebrate his life. “Let the tears flow and the stories roll. Can you imagine for a moment what the world would be like if we all committed to loving as fully, to living as completely alive as Reedo?” Bloom continued, telling how Reed believed in him when others did not; he was his first spiritual guide and will always be remembered as such.
Class of 1995 student body president Kanji Kawanabe spoke next, asking attendees to stand up and participate in a moment of communication. “Tell Mr. Reed out loud whatever you want to. Tell him thank you; tell him you miss him; tell him how he touched your life.” Reed’s catchphrase echoed through the stands, “you are loved.”
Following, Reed’s younger brother Kenny Reed came to the mic donning a Rockies Helton jersey given to him by Jerry. He read a writing that Jerry had penned a year earlier; “may you always find serenity and tranquility in a world you may not always understand. May the pain you have known and the conflict you have experienced give you the strength to walk through life facing each new situation with courage and optimism... May you always feel loved.”
The eulogy, by Jerry's sister Annie Medders, named Reed a leader, an adventurer, a seeker, a helper and a teacher. She spoke of Reed’s love of social media and his way of reaching out to so many at what seemed to be just the right moment when they needed a joke, words of encouragement or just a friend.
“I was so proud to see how loved and respected my brother was. He made this Valley his home and he was your Reedo.”
Medders closed stating that she’ll always be listening for that small voice that whispers, “you are loved.” A standing ovation and roars from the stands followed.
AHS 2011 graduate and current AHS math/science teacher Consuelo Reyes sang “Amazing Grace” and “It's a Wonderful World,” changing the words in one verse, to the now legendary “you are loved.”
As the service came to an end officiant Cody closed, “he didn't give us all the answers to all of life’s questions but he encouraged us to go find those answers for ourselves. And that sometimes when we made mistakes, he reminded us that many times those were the best lessons we learned in life.”
He “urged us to become the best version of ourselves. He didn't just tell us we were loved. He made us feel like we were loved. And he showed us what love was all about.”
Cody said, “It’s now our turn to go out and teach what he’s taught us. The lessons he’s given should be practiced with each person you meet. We get to show everyone we come across that they are loved.”
Following a brief pause, Cody concluded, “Reedo, we love you! Thank you for touching our hearts and thank you for touching our lives.”
As the Alamosa Alumni Association, founded by Reed, released maroon (AHS) and purple (Colorado Rockies) balloons in Reed’s honor and “Wind Beneath My Wings” flowed from the speakers, the celebration ended for a humble man who will always be remembered, respected, but most of all loved.