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University of Missouri

The Life and Times of Loren Reid

Impact of teachers is long lasting.

Loren and Gus Reid

Loren and Gus Reid shared a peace and understanding that long-married couples realize. How did he live to 109? “Oh, I don’t know,” he said. “I guess I didn’t have any bad habits. I worked steadily and faithfully.” Photo courtesy of the Department of Communications.

In this issue, reporter Annie Rees recounts the life of Loren Reid, a longtime speech professor at Mizzou who died Dec. 25, 2014, at age 109. Reid taught at MU from 1935 to 1938 and again from 1944 to 1975. When he retired, he had taught an estimated 9,000 University of Missouri students.

Switzler Hall, the oldest classroom building on campus, is the home for the Department of Communication, which in 2015 celebrates its 75th anniversary. When Switzler was renovated in 2011, a library just inside the front door was named for Reid. A lecture series also honors the esteemed professor.

During Reid’s final years of teaching, I was one of his students in Switzler Hall. The creaky wood floors and 13-foot-10-inch-tall ceilings felt almost cathedrallike. Natural light from the 11-foot-tall windows was a plus, though on cold days wind out of the north whipped right through the classroom.

But Reid’s charm and wit helped keep us warm. The class was small; his stories were meaningful or funny or both. Somehow, we 18-year-olds bumbled our way through the dreaded task of speaking in front of strangers.

Imagine my delight and surprise when, several decades later, the Worley family spotted Reid and his wife, Gus, as fellow Calvary Episcopal Church parishioners. Seeing the sweet couple was comforting. It reminded me of Reid as one of my outstanding teachers, along with other greats, including the likes of John Kuhlman, an economics faculty member from 1961 to 1985 who estimates he taught 25,000 students. Kuhlman, 91, of Weaverville, North Carolina, loves hearing from former students. His email is econ51gh@gmail.com.

My gratitude is immense.