Robert Earl "Doc" Reynolds, 1942
Volume 46, Number 3, Spring 2013 (5/01/13)
Robert Earl "Doc" Reynolds, 1942
ROBERT EARL "DOC" REYNOLDS, age 92, went to be with his wife, in the arms of the Lord, on November 30, 2012, surrounded by his family and friends in his beautiful home in Redwood Valley, California. Robert was born October 18, 1920, to Clyde and Henna (Hopponen) Reynolds in the little Finnish-American village of New York Mills, Minn. His family moved to Parkers Prairie, Minn., where he attended school in the same small building from first grade until his high school graduation in 1938. He went on to attend Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, majoring in art and continuing with football and track, as well as acting in the college theater. It was there that he met BETH (IVERSON) REYNOLDS ‘41, his future wife. After two years in college he was drafted into the army in 1940 and was assigned to the U.S. Army's Third Infantry Division's 39th Field Artillery Battalion in Ft. Lewis, Wash., where he attained the rank of Sergeant. In October 1942 he was sent to the Field Artillery Officers' Candidate School in Ft. Sill, Okla., In January 1943 he was assigned to the new Mountain Training Center in Camp Hale, Colo., joining a Mule Pack Artillery Battalion, becoming his unit's ski instructor. He married Beth in Grand Junction, Colo., but was soon sent to the Aleutian Islands to campaign against the Japanese. From there his mule battalion was shipped out to enter the European war through mountain trails in Italy. After covering many mountain miles, his battalion was sent to support the invasion of southern France, and then into the Maritime Alps along the French-Italian border. For his service in World War II he was awarded two Bronze Stars for bravery and the French Croix de Guerre avec Palm medal. Discharged from active duty in December 1945, he returned to be with his wife in New York City, then attending the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon) in Pittsburgh, where he earned his BFA in Drama. His theater career was postponed again, however, as he was recalled to active army duty in the Korean War. Finally, after a medical discharge, he moved, with Beth and their new daughter, Peggy, to southern California. Their son, Peter, was born in 1954, and the family moved to Ventura, Calif., where Robert worked for ten years as Assistant Director of Recreation for the city of Ventura. In 1965 he studied theater and speech at the University of Minnesota, earning his Ph.D. in 1967. He founded and taught at two colleges in California, Moorpark and Oxnard, until his retirement in 1980, During his years in Ventura, he was a State Member of the California Park and Recreation Society, Vice President of the Southern California Theater Association, President of the Ventura County Community College Association, President of the "Catacombs," a club for problem teenagers, and a Member, Deacon, and Elder of the Ventura Community Presbyterian Church. He was active in community and professional theaters and loved fishing in the Pacific Ocean and lakes. In 2006, Robert and Beth moved to Redwood Valley, Calif., to be nearer to their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He remained active throughout his life, participating in the theater and faithfully delivering meals to "seniors" every Thursday for Plowshare's Meals on Wheels program. He was preceded in death by his wife, Beth, after celebrating their 66th wedding anniversary in April 2009. He is survived by his sister, Betty Lindberg, of Atlanta, sister-in-law Ruby Lou Lee of Eagan, Minn., daughter, Peggy Reynolds, and her husband, David Nelson, of Oakland, Calif., his son, Peter Reynolds, and Jini Reynolds of Redwood Valley. Grandsons, Thoth Howe and Soren Reynolds and his wife, Kristina Reynolds . Four great grandchildren Huckleberry Howe, Logan Howe, Jackson Reynolds, Lilli Gonzalez and many other friends that he considered family. Memorial services were held in Ventura at the Community Presbyterian Church on January 12, 2013. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to Hospice of Ukiah or Plowshares at his request.