January 15, 2009

Tacoma Waterfront Marks Passing of Maritime Leader

The Port of Tacoma Commission, staff and the Tacoma waterfront community are mourning the loss of Reed Jones, a maritime leader and visionary.

Jones, who passed away on Jan. 7, 2009 at the age of 87, joined the Port as Sales Manager in 1962. At the time, the Port had no regular steamship service. Jones earned a reputation for attracting enough cargo – everything from frozen foods to crude rubber – that steamship lines soon competed to establish regular Tacoma services.

Reed was promoted to Director of Trade and Industrial Development and Terminal Manager. In 1976, he was named the Port's Deputy Executive Director, where he played a key role in attracting Tacoma's first major container carrier – Sea-Land Service, Inc. "(Reed) did a lot of behind-the-scenes work," recalled former Port Commissioner Patrick O'Malley in a 1983 Tacoma News Tribune article. "He's an encyclopedia of knowledge and he's a very good problem solver."

Reed was also known for cultivating strong labor relations. "Reed believed that labor and management could have their differences, but not at the expense of customers," said Port of Tacoma Commissioner Dick Marzano, also a member of Tacoma ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) Local 23. "He helped us all to understand that the Port of Tacoma could be something more than it was, and his vision helped build our Port into what it is today."

After leaving the Port, Jones continued to bring labor and management together with a focus on the future. "Until the day he died, Reed was focused on the long-term success of the Tacoma maritime community," Marzano said.

"Reed Jones lived and breathed the shipping and transportation industry," said Port of Tacoma Commissioner Clare Petrich. "There was nobody more dedicated to the success of the Port of Tacoma than Reed. He will be deeply missed."

After 21 years of service, Reed retired from the Port in 1983 to spend time with his wife and enjoy boating in Puget Sound.

The community responded with its appreciation for Jones' service. "We shall miss the dedication that you brought to the community in your capacities with the Port of Tacoma," wrote Frank G. Wright, former Chairman of the Puyallup Tribal Council, in a 1983 letter congratulating Jones on his retirement. "We shall always remember your keen belief in fair play and human dignity, which you never abandoned in your daily operations."

But retirement was fleeting, as Reed joined International Transportation Service, Inc. (ITS), the parent organization of Husky Terminal and Stevedoring. By 1985, Reed was named to the ITS Board of Directors, a position he held until his death.

Memorial Information

Reed is survived by his wife, Helen, four children, nine grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Memorial services will be held at St. Luke's Memorial Church, 3615 N. Gove Street, Tacoma on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m. The family requests no flowers. Memorials are suggested to be made to St. Luke's Church or to Dogs for the Deaf, 10175 Wheeler Road, Central Point OR 97502.

Port Media Relations: Mike Wasem, 253-383-9436