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Remembering Richard Reding: A life of service, faith and community impact

Richard Keith Reding, Sr., born on September 10, 1935, in Montgomery County, Tenn., lived an exemplary life of service above all. He was a man of faith and family, going over and beyond to serve his beloved community of Wasco, where he lived for 59 years. He passed away on March 17 at age 88.

Reding taught physical education, health and typing at Thomas Jefferson Middle School for 35 years. The Richard K. Reding Gymnasium at Palm Ave Middle School was named after him. Reding also was on the Wasco Union Elementary School District Board for 12 years.

"When you go through life, you are fortunate to meet authentically good people. Richard Reding was a really good person, good for his family, good for the community and good for thousands of Wasco students," Former WUESD Superintendent Kelly Richers said,

David Bocker of Grace Community Church was his pastor for almost eight years and said Reding was upbeat, friendly and very helpful. "He was an elder for a considerable amount of time, and he and his sidekick, Delroy Dennison, took care of a lot of things as far as the facility, and fixed a lot of things that were broken and did repairs and were active in that role."

He said Reding's core values revolved around family and that he was devoted to his wife, Sarah. "The way he treated his wife was an example, and it was encouraging to see that. Everybody in the church knew Richard and Sarah, respected them and admired their community involvement."

"Sarah was a major part of the Wasco Woman's Club. They were part of the Rose Parade and all kinds of community and church activities. Anything at church, they were there. They were a fixture at our church.

"And not with a lot of fanfare. He didn't do things to be noticed, but he did things just for the sake of other people, just to be helpful. He served in a variety of capacities in that way, always looking to be involved."

For many years, Reding and Sarah played an important part in the annual Wasco Rose Festival, even serving as the Grand Marshals of the parade one year. Reding was known for riding up and down the parade in his scooter.

When asked how he thinks Reding would like to be remembered, Pastor Bocker said, "As somebody who was faithful to his wife, family, church and the Lord Jesus."

Keith Janzen was in 6th or 7th grade when Reding showed up at Thomas Jefferson. He had him for PE and said he was great. "He was a good teacher and a good coach."

They also went to the same church. "He was there for me since age 12 and on. We had contact both at school and church. He was always a figure bigger than most. He had a commanding voice, and he was tall-especially when you're a kid - he's twice as big. He was always a positive coach figure, and I learned a lot of basketball from him."

Janzen ended up teaching at TJ while Reding was there for two years. "We spent quite a lot of time together there while I was there with him. If I ever had a question about something or how to handle something with a student, he would usually be the person I would go to talk about it with."

He said Reding's impact on the community was profound. "The thing about him is you can say what I said and multiply it by who knows by so many people. He was so involved in the community, and he helped so many people even after he retired."

"What I will miss most about him is his approachability and wide smile."

Brent Paul is another former student, "Mr. Reding was my PE teacher in junior high (grades 6-8). He was a motivator, a jokester and a disciplinarian. What a package! His students trusted and loved him; they also didn't want to disappoint him. We knew where the line was, and we did not want to cross it. Teachers today don't have the ability to give tough love; he did. That is one of the things that made him so special."


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