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Thomas B

January 2, 1926 – October 10, 2018

Thomas Reed
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Obituary for Thomas B Reed

BARRE- Dr. Thomas B. Reed, an internationally renowned inventor and scientist in the field of renewable energy, died peacefully in Worcester, MA, on October 10, 2018 after a short illness, at the age of 92.

Dr. Reed was born on Jan. 2, 1926 in Chicago, IL, to Kenneth and Florence Reed. In 1943, he left high school early to enlist in the U. S. Air Force and served until 1945. He graduated from Northwestern University in 1947 with a Bachelor’s degree and earned a PhD in 1952 from University of Minnesota in Physical Chemistry.  

He married Vivian Odh, his high school sweetheart in 1947. Early in his career he worked for Shell Oil Company, in Texas, and Union Carbide, in Indiana. Later, he worked for Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a professor and research scientist. He then moved to Golden, CO, and worked for the Solar Energy Research Institute (now, the National Renewable Energy Institute) and then became a Research Professor at the Colorado School of Mines.

Over the years, Dr. Reed secured twelve patents in the fields of biomass, material science and high temperature technology. He published numerous books and technical papers including articles in Scientific American and Science magazine. In 1965 he was a Senior Research Fellow, in the Department of Inorganic Chemistry at Oxford University and took his family to England on an exchange program with a British professor. In 1982 and 1993 he received the R&D Magazine “Invention of the Year” Award for the oxygen gasifier and later for “Sea Sweep,” a natural absorbent for oil spills.

The knowledge Dr. Reed acquired touched many people’s lives. He mentored many young people and unselfishly shared his expertise with a wide network of researchers in the renewable energy field. He loved music, was an avid tennis and racquet ball player and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Dr. Reed, of Barre, MA, is survived by his four children, Katherine Lathrop, of Barre, MA, Philip Reed, of Long Beach, CA, Peter Reed, of Maynard, MA and Kevin Reed of Golden, CO. He is preceded in death by his wife, Vivian Odh.  He happily spent the final years of his life with Phyllis Klem, of Hardwick, MA.

A Memorial service will be held on November 4,2018 at 1:00PM in the Barre Congregational Church Park St. Barre, MA. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Dr. Reed's life. A private burial will follow the service. Pillsbury Funeral Home 96 S.Barre Rd. Barre is directing arrangements.

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Service Information

Sunday, November 4th, 2018 1:00pm
Barre Congregational Church
Park St.
Barre, MA