JOSEPH REED / 1932-2002

Ex-Civil Defense
chief instilled faith

More obituaries

By Genevieve A. Suzuki

Joseph D. Reed, retired administrator of the Oahu Civil Defense Agency, died Thursday at Tripler Army Medical Center. He was 69.

Reed had been suffering from a rare form of kidney disease.

A retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel who flew B-52 bombers in the Vietnam War, Reed became the administrator for the Oahu Civil Defense Agency in April 1995.

"Honolulu has lost one of its most devoted public servants and citizens with the death of its former Civil Defense administrator, Joe Reed," said Mayor Jeremy Harris.

"He came to us with a wealth of military experience, and we owe much of the progress and growth within the agency to Joe's untiring efforts."

Peter Hirai, disaster preparedness and recovery officer, said he will always be grateful to Reed, who hired him in 1998.

"That's what stands out the most: the fact that he had faith in me," Hirai said. "I'm forever glad for that."

Reed brought calm to Civil Defense operations, Hirai said.

"If you panic and the public sees you panic, then they're going to panic," Hirai said.

During disasters, the public needs Civil Defense to be confident in its actions, Hirai said.

"And he instilled that kind of confidence in the public."

Reed began working for Civil Defense in 1983 as a hurricane planner. Shortly after joining the city, he wrote its first hurricane evacuation plan, which was used during Hurricane Iniki in 1992.

In 1997, the National Weather Service gave Reed the Excellence in Emergency Management Award, which honors civil-defense administrators with emergency management programs that best prepare local communities for natural hazards.

"I valued Joe's advice," Harris said. "In dealing with all sorts of disasters, he was the consummate professional, and many within our nation's emergency management community will vouch for that. He was thorough, decisive, and had the ability to quickly bring both people and resources to bear as we dealt with storms, floods and high surf.

"All of us in the city family mourn Joe's loss, and we extend our condolences to his family."

Reed was born in Truman, Ark., in 1932. He received a bachelor's degree in history from Chaplain College and a master's degree from Central Michigan University.

He is survived by wife Malee; sons Joseph and John; daughters Donna Reed-Hall, Diana Cannon, Debby Zangari and Victoria Reed; brother Bob; and six grandchildren. Services are 11:30 a.m. Thursday at Nellis Chapel at Hickam Air Force Base. Committal services are 1 p.m. at Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe.

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