CLYMER - Clymer Central School superintendent Keith Reed Jr. is fondly remembered by his parents as a man who was liked by everyone with whom he came into contact throughout his years as an educator.
"Keith was a wonderful person," said his mother, Shirley. "We never knew that he had anyone that didn't like him. We just don't know what to do."
Reed, who was found dead on Monday, the victim of an apparent homicide, had only been superintendent in Clymer since November 2011. Before that however, Reed had worked for several other schools including Campbell-Savona Middle/High School, Horseheads High School and Sherburne-Earlville Central School.
Reed was seen by many as more than just a superintendent or a teacher. He was a man who made a lasting impact on many of his students, some of whom even credited him as the reason that they were able to finish school.
"I'll tell you right now, I'm prejudiced," said his father, Keith Sr. "He was a wonderful person and he got along good with the people. He'd only been at Clymer since November, but he just seemed to fit in. He made friends, everybody liked him, and he actually liked the job. He's always loved working with kids. He was really concerned about the kids. He'd worked in several schools before he came back out here. In Clymer, they told me that they've never had a superintendent that fit in like he did. He really was good to the kids and the kids liked him. He got along good with the population, too. He never failed to tell us what a great place it was."
Shortly after the news of Reed's death began to spread, a Facebook page was created by some of his students from Clymer where friends, family and other students could share stories of the time that they had with him.
Besides his parents, Reed also has three daughters who were unable to be reached for comment, although his daughter Katelynn did post on the Facebook page. By 6 p.m. Tuesday, the page had already reached more than 2,400 likes with memories being shared from as far back as the 1980s when he was a teacher at Horseheads Central School.
The Norwich Evening Sun reported that Sherburne-Earlville Central School District Superintendent Gayle Hellert, who hired Reed in August 2005, said she was stunned by the news of the former high school principal's death.
"We're just shocked and devastated by the news," added Hellert, who said the district learned of the news late yesterday. "We're supporting our children here and we were able to tell our staff before they left."
In addition, Hellert placed an automated call to the Sherburne-Earlville community last night, she said.
"We certainly wanted the parents to know that we were aware and would be providing support for our upper classmen."
"We are deeply saddened and shocked by the death of our superintendent, Keith L. Reed Jr. He was more than a superintendent. He encouraged everyone without judgment. He simply brought the best out in everyone - students, faculty, staff and community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We have no additional comments at this time. All questions should be directed to the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department," said the Clymer Central School District in a revised statement Tuesday morning.
Friends are invited to call the O'Rourke & O'Rourke Funeral Home in Salamanca from 7 to 9 p.m. today and on Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. The funeral service will be held at the United Congregational Methodist Church at 2 p.m. on Friday for those wishing to attend.