Obituary: Milan “Bud” Reed, 91, Ludington.

March 9, 2016
Milan "Bud" Reed

Milan “Bud” Reed

Milan Spencer (Bud) Reed, 91, of Ludington died peacefully Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital, surrounded by his devoted wife of 70 years Dorothy Jean and his family.

Bud and Dottie lived those 70 years together like two inseparable swans. Though Bud’s health had deteriorated the past three years, he counted his blessings every day, especially the blessing of being married to the girl he came home to from World War II. “Ain’t she something!” he exclaimed as they celebrated their 70th anniversary Jan. 30, 2016.

Bud Reed served his country as a decorated B-24 bomber pilot in the 15th Air Force during World War II. Like so many others whom journalist Tom Brokaw so perceptively lauded as “The Greatest Generation,” he returned from war, went to college (Michigan State) and then quietly went about making a living, raising children and helping to make his hometown, Ludington, a better place.

Together, Bud and Dottie owned and operated Ludington Beverage Company for 45 years before retiring from the family business in 1994. They built the business into one of the top-performing Anheuser-Busch distributorships in the nation with hard work and kindness and quietly contributed to community causes along the way.

Together, these lovebird business partners were honored as Business Leaders of the Year by the Ludington Chamber of Commerce, an organization Bud had previously served as president. Together, they were honored as grand marshals of both the Scottville Harvest Festival and Ludington Freedom Festival.

Together, they were among the original investors who made the Longfellow Towers senior housing facility a reality. Together, they were among the investors who brought cable television to Ludington and built the Courts of Rath athletic club.

Bud was a humble man who liked to fly under the radar, but fly he did. Besides being the president of Ludington Beverage, he served on the board of directors of First of America Bank, Great Lakes Casting Corporation, Cadillac Metal Casters Inc., Cable Vision, Inc. and Lincoln Hills Golf Club. He served as treasurer of Ludington Harbor Commission and helped promote the development of Ludington Municipal Marina.

He also helped Charles Conrad, Don Birtwistle, and others create the local Community Foundation.

Bud was a lifelong member of Emanuel Lutheran Church and many other civic groups, including the Elks, Eagles, Moose, American Legion and VFW. He especially enjoyed his many years as a Rotarian and looked forward to taking part with good friends in the comedy skits that were part of the annual Rotary Smiles Show.

As a veteran and father of veterans, Bud took especially seriously what he saw as his patriotic duty to place American flags on veterans’ graves. He helped carry out that mission for several decades at Ludington cemeteries as a member of the Cemetery Club.

As hard as Bud worked, he played just as hard. He was still playing a mean game of tennis in his 80s. His repertoire of “junk” shots was known to humiliate many a much younger, faster player who thought he was going to be a pushover. He loved deer hunting and bird hunting with family and friends and especially looked forward to his pheasant hunting trips to Valentine, Nebraska, with his best friend Don Birtwistle.

No matter how hard he worked or tired he was, Bud always most enjoyed and made time for his family. Skiing, golfing, fishing, drive-in movies and Sunday car rides were among the favorite family endeavors. In later years, he loved watching his children and grandchildren play sports. He was always encouraging, always positive.

Milan Spencer (Bud) Reed is survived by his wife, Dorothy Benson Reed; sons Budde (Sheryl) Reed, and Todd (Debbie) Reed; and grandsons Tad (Misty) Reed, Brad (Betsy) Reed, Willie (Stephanie) Reed, Ryan Reed, Brett (Suzann) Binkley, and Sara (Jeff) Tow; also great-grandchildren: Rachel, Julia, Ty, Austin, Ethan, Tucker, Spencer, Carter, Samantha and Jake.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Vera Anderson Reed, his father, Milan Spencer, and his father from the time he was 7-years-old, Leo Reed, whom Bud was always fond of describing as “the best dad I could have ever had.” He was also preceded in death by his father-in-law, Alverado Todd (A.T.) Benson, and mother-in-law, Martha Delite Shoup Benson.

Because Bud and Dottie have always been inseparable, they together have planned a joint funeral service to be held when the time comes. Therefore there will be no funeral at this time.

Oak Grove Funeral Home & Cremation Center is in charge of arrangements.

Cremation has taken place. Burial at Lakeview Cemetery will take place when Bud and Dottie can be buried together.

Memorial contributions may be made to Community Foundation of Mason County, P.O. Box 10, Ludington; or to Emanuel Lutheran Church, 501 E. Danaher St., Ludington.

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