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Watford Reed ’40

A picture of Watford Reed

Watford Reed ’40, July 5, 2009, in Portland. A lifelong newsman, Wat—nicknamed “Kilowatt” for his energetic copy—was a college correspondent for the Oregon Journal at Reed. After earning his BA in political science and psychology, Wat worked as a staff reporter, covering education, politics, crime, business, religion, and diverse other subjects for the Journal, the Oregonian, and the International News Service. He wrote about fires, accidents, murder, stranded climbers, roller skating, and municipal scandal. He profiled politicians, musicians, firefighters, gas station owners, and prisoners of war. He wrote about a skin graft that allowed a six-year-old boy to walk again; a woman who survived a 40-foot plunge down a well; a man whose heart stopped beating for seven minutes following an electric shock. He officially retired from the Oregonian in 1991, but continued to write for the paper and for the East County News and its successor, the website, chronicling developments in outer East Portland well into his 80s. He dutifully turned in stories even when his health was failing, according to his editor, David Ashton. By summer 2009, Wat could no longer drive, but Ashton would pick him up and take him to report on civic and business meetings. The last couple of stories he wrote were very short, Ashton recalls, and Wat felt they weren't much good. “I'm surprised you haven't given up on me,” Wat said. “I put my arm around him and told him, 'Watford, I'll never give up on you. Never.'” Wat died a month later. He was active in the Methodist church, and enjoyed mountaineering and baseball. Following a brief marriage, he raised his only daughter, Stacy, who survives him.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2010

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