Jim Reed

This is the story of two members of the Class of 1960: Jim Reed and Meg Zimmerman Reed, and except for 1961 and 1962, it’s a 48-year story that can be told together. So, here goes to catch you up on the high points for us. Please excuse the length and some of the third-person

Right after our high school graduation, and more than forty years before American Idol and America’s Got Talent hit the airwaves, SHS classmates Vann Cleveland, Collier Summers and Don Thomas and I, performing as The Merrymen, won the Coca Cola nationwide talent  contest. Winning meant we performed on the Pat Boone television show, received a recording contract (Paul Anka’s father became our manager), and then we toured through across the U.S. with sixties performers Bobby Vinton, Fabian, Chubby Checker, and Brenda Lee and others and
performed in 32 different cities. It was an exciting, amazing experience for us. However, soon after the tour, The Merrymen called it quits, and we went our separate ways. I returned to Sarasota and enrolled at Manatee Junior College on a baseball scholarship.

Meg Zimmerman and I were married in August of 1962. Meg continued to work while Jim finished his fourth semester at MJC. We moved to Tallahassee in January of 1963 to attend FSU–Jim on a baseball scholarship and Meg on a Florida teaching grant/scholarship. We moved
into married student housing and almost immediately, the weather dropped into the single digits, and we thought maybe we had made a big mistake. Jim had also received a baseball scholarship offer from U. of Miami!

We spent the next few years in Tallahassee. We both graduated from  FSU–Jim in business; Meg with a teaching degree. Jim was captain of the FSU baseball team in his senior year, and the team went to the College World Series in 1963. Several of his teammates went into the major leagues, but after graduation, Jim went on to graduate school, and Meg taught fifth grade in local elementary school for one year. During that year, we became pregnant and our first son, Eric, was born in September of 1965. Jim earned his MBA in Management from the FSU Business School in December of 1965. In the meantime, Meg became a stay-at-home mommy and Jim worked a couple of jobs to keep the wolf from the door!

We moved from married student housing and set down roots in Tallahassee. Our son, Jay, was born in 1968, and right before he came into our lives, we had bought a house in Tallahassee to accommodate our growing family.

After graduation, Jim was hired by the now defunct Burroughs Corporation to sell the cutting- edge business machines of the day, BC (before computers!) After a few years he realized selling wasn’t his thing. He was recruited to help manage a successful sporting goods store in Tallahassee (the FSU athletic department was a major customer) and had thoughts of someday owning the business until the owner’s daughters married and their husbands had the same idea! During this time Meg was teaching “stitchery” lessons at local community centers and began a little home business designing and selling stitchery kits–this was like “crewel” work–one of craft fads of the day.

Jim worked at FSU for several years until one of the people he had worked with–the assistant dean of the FSU Law School–offered him a job in Media, Pennsylvania as the Director of Continuing Education for a national insurance association–CPCU (Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters).

We sold our Tallahassee home, packed up the family, and moved to Eagle, in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where we lived for a little less than three years. Our sons started elementary school there, and we loved living in a new development with lots of young families with young children.

Because one thing leads to another, Jim was offered a job as Assistant Executive Director of another insurance association–Professional Insurance Association of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (PIA) located in Glenmont, New York which is just outside Albany. After a few of years, Jim became Executive Director and CEO. He worked there for the next 33 years, retiring in 2008.

When we moved to New York, we bought an old Victorian home in the Village of Coxsackie (pronounced “Cook-sah-kee”), a small river town located on the Hudson River (about 20 miles south of Albany). We lived in Coxsackie for 10 years. Jim drove north to Glenmont each day, and Meg taught in the local elementary school for the next nine years. After elementary school and a couple of years of junior high school, our sons began attending Albany Academy–a private school with strong academics and a great athletic program (things that were unfortunately lacking in our local school district). Because Jim was working close by and we were constantly on the road to school and school events, we moved closer to Jim’s office and our sons’ school. But that only lasted a couple of years and then we became empty nesters after both boys went off to college. Eric went on to graduate from the University of Virginia and then MIT; Jay is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Our final move, to
date, was in 1987 when we moved to Slingerlands, an area just west of Albany.

Jim, now retired, still offers lots of support for his lawyer wife, and is the “computer guy” for the law practice as well as the landlord for the office! He plays golf two or three days a week in the warm months!

Our sons are both married, and each has a son and a daughter–our beloved grandchildren. Our oldest is 14 and the youngest is 9. Eric and his family live about two hours from us, so we see them every few weeks; Jay and his family live in North Carolina so we see them less often. The whole family was all together early this spring and again this summer at our camp in the Adirondacks for a few days. Our cup runneth over! However, these get-togethers get harder and harder to coordinate as our grandchildren become more involved in activities, but very precious when they happen.

We have loved reading our high school classmates’ bios and look forward for more to come. It’s so wonderful to hear of all the interesting jobs and businesses, and travel and other experiences so many have had. We, too, have had our ups and downs, and heartaches, etc., but we feel very blessed and privileged to still be around and kicking!