James D. Reid

June 24, 1930October 27, 2013

James Dolan Reid passed away quietly at home, surrounded by the love of his family, on Sunday, October 27, 2013. A Professor of Mathematics at Wesleyan University for more than 30 years, Jim retired in 2001, but continued to teach in the spring semester every year. He leaves his beloved wife, Nancy; three devoted children, James, Jr. (Susannah), of Spencer, WV, Margaret, of Barrington, RI, Gerald (Colleen), of Harpswell, ME; and five adoring grandchildren, James Elijah Reid; Claire, Catherine and Erin Reid; and Daniel Reid.

Jim leaves a brother, Thomas Reid, in Cleveland, Ohio. He was predeceased by two sisters, Margaret Dee Reid (Sister Mary Richard) in 2003 and Kathleen Reid in 1930. Sadly, Jim’s identical twin brother, Richard Reid, Jr., of Pawling New York, passed away only 9 days before Jim’s passing. Jim also leaves 19 nieces and nephews.

Born in Augusta, Georgia, on June 24, 1930, to Richard and Katherine (O’Leary) Reid, Jim moved with his family to New Rochelle in 1940. He graduated from Iona Preparatory High School, where he and his twin brother excelled academically and ran cross country; the twin redheads were known as “The Gold Dust Twins.” Their yearbooks record good natured jokes about who was the smart twin, or who was the fast twin. Both brilliant and quick, the two took different paths after high school.

Jim received a Bachelor’s (1952) and a Master’s (1954) in Mathematics from Fordham University, and then spent 2 years in the U.S. Navy as an electrician aboard the U.S.S. Smalley before pursuing his doctorate at the University of Washington. He earned his Ph.D. in 1960.

On the beautiful and unseasonably warm day of January 3, 1959, he married his sweetheart, Anne (Nancy) Donohue, at St. Catharine’s Church in Pelham, New York. That was the beginning of a beautiful journey of more than 54 years.

From Seattle, Jim and Nancy moved to Syracuse, where he taught at Syracuse University; New Haven, where he held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Yale University; Amherst, Massachusetts, where he taught at Amherst College, and back to Syracuse, where he taught until 1969.

In the summer of 1969, Jim and Nancy and their 3 children moved to Killingworth, and he began his career at Wesleyan University, where he was extraordinarily dedicated to his students, to his department and to his field of study. In addition to his teaching, Jim’s research in Mathematics (Abelian Groups) was internationally admired; he directed fourteen doctoral dissertations and he delivered papers, talks and classes throughout the world over the course of his career, including an appointment as Visiting Professor at University of Wϋrzburg.

While pursuing his career at Wesleyan, Jim was also, in his own words, “a devoted husband, a loving father, and an all-around good guy.” He served his community on the Board of Education and was an active member of St. Lawrence Church. In 1991, Jim and Nancy realized their dream of having a place in Maine to spend some months of the year. Later, grandchildren followed, and many wonderful memories were made. Jim’s grandchildren loved greeting him in the morning, and he shared with them his love of nature and his good humor. The family dogs all found in Jim a most excellent (and generous) friend, who always saved them something from his meal. In Maine, Jim and Nancy shared a love of the fields around their old farm house, the sunsets over those fields, the goldfinches and hummingbirds that visited their fruit trees and flowers, and the dramatic seascapes nearby.

A gentleman and a scholar, a quiet and humble man of infinite kindness, sensitivity and patience, and a man of quick and ready wit, James Dolan Reid was unfailingly courteous and generous in all of his dealings with others. He believed in fairness and tolerance; he practiced loyalty and respect. Jim is deeply and profoundly missed by all of those lucky enough to have known and loved him.

Calling hours will be Wed 10/30 from 4-6 pm at Swan Funeral Home, 825 Boston Post Rd. Madison CT. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Thurs 10/31 at 10 am at St Lawrence Church, 7 Hemlock Dr. Killingworth CT. Burial to follow at Evergreen Cemetery in Killingworth.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Jim’s name to either of the following causes, which were very important to Jim, and remain so to his family: The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or Autism Speaks.


  • Visitation Wednesday, October 30, 2013
  • Mass Thursday, October 31, 2013

James D. Reid

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Charles Vinsonhaler

November 8, 2013

Dear Nancy, Jim, Peggy, and Jerry:

Please accept my condolences on the death of Jim.
I spent many happy hours in his company at math
meetings. He always made me feel lucky to be
in his presence.

I know the love of family and friends will help all of
you through these difficult times.

Susan Donohue

October 31, 2013

When I was in church praying for Uncle Jim the morning after his passing, I heard a baby wail. I prayed that when he acquires his angel wings, his calm, gentle and giving soul will be shared with another. I am wishing peace and serenity for all of the Reid family. My heart is heavy and many prayers are there to support all of you.

Norene Koester

October 31, 2013

Dear Ms. Reid, Jim, Peggy, Jerry, & your families, I am so very sorry for your untimely loss. I have fond memories of “Mr. Reid,” as I knew him, as being a kind, compassionate, steady member of our small town. I so appreciate the kindness that both he and you (Mrs. Reid) have shown my family over the years. I am especially grateful for you reaching out to my parents in their times of need in recent years as they dealt with serious medical issues. They were both were most grateful for your kindness & generosity. I know my dad enjoyed his interactions with you both as your landscaper and the time that he shuttled Mr. Reid to the train station. I'm not sure how they came up with that arrangement but it was one of the highlights of my dad's retirement “jobs,” and my dad often spoke of enjoying their time together. What an unlikely friendship- the college professor and his 8th grade educated landscaper but that is one of Mr. Reid's legacy's -he treated everyone with dignity and respect. I will be thinking of and praying for you as you walk through this difficult, bittersweet time of celebrating your dad/husband's life. With fond affection, Norene (Harrison) Koester

Carole & Ronald Campbell

October 29, 2013

I will always remember Jim as my night in shining armor. He came to my rescue and chased a wild bird out of my kitchen one windy fall day. He didn't laugh or look at me askance just helped out his neighbor with the phobia in the nicest kindest way.He was a good man and Ron and I will miss him.

October 29, 2013

A life well lived...

October 29, 2013

Thank you for your service.