Thursday, March 25, 2010

Obituary for Bob Reed

Dear Friends,

Hannah, Noah and I leave tomorrow (Friday, March 26) for Grand Rapids. It will be so good to get home and be with family. This week would be difficult for anyone losing a spouse, but the added complications of handling death arrangements while being an American in West Africa has made it even more difficult. But the body of Christ has really reached out to us here (especially in the person of Laurie Korum, a dear sister in Christ who is also a nurse at the US Embassy in Ghana) but we long to be with family and friends in Grand Rapids. We have felt the prayers from many people around the world and want to thank you for your kind words, encouragement, and support.

I wanted to correct something from the last blog I wrote relating to the cause of death - it turns out that Bob did not die from a pulmonary embolism as the doctors had believed; rather it appears instead (although the facilities are not here to determine it conclusively) that the Staph infection had invaded not only his lungs (as I had suspected), but also his stomach, liver, and spleen...resulting in Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome. For those of you who like to know the details, the full name of the type of staph infection Bob had is Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) and it is known as the "superbug". MRSA is a bacterium that is resistant to a large group of antibiotics and is responsible for the death of 18,000 Americans annually. The fact that he was fine Friday night and had no fever at all, in my limited medical knowledge, can be explained by his immune system completely shutting down, allowing the superbug to travel and multiply freely.

Additionally, for those of you who do not live in the Grand Rapids or Lansing area, I wanted to pass on the obituary that will be in the newspaper this Sunday:

Robert "Bob" Allen Reed, age 55, a child of God, went home to be with his Heavenly Father on Saturday, March 20th, 2010 after a sudden illness in Ghana, West Africa. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 19 years, Renita (Kranenburg); children, Hannah Adriana and Noah Allen Reed; mother, Lucille & stepfather, Keith Mosher, his brother, Don (Carolyn) Reed, his sister, Sandy (Rick) Dingwell, his brother, Steve (Patricia) Reed, his brother, Bryan Reed as well as his father & mother-in-law, Pastor Peter & Marrie Kranenburg, many other brothers and sisters in law, nieces and nephews, and friends around the world. He is preceded in death by his father, Floyd Allen Reed and his sister, Brenda Beck.

Bob was born on August 9th, 1954 in Lansing, MI where he graduated from Everett High School. In November of 1975, he gave his life to Christ and went to Moody Bible Institute, where he received his B.A. in 1980. He then attended Azusa Pacific University, receiving his Masters in Student Development in 1986, and Michigan State University, receiving his Masters in Counseling in 1992. He worked for fifteen years as a counselor at Calvin College, established the Madison Square Counseling Ministry in 2002, and then followed a call from God to move to West Africa, working with the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) addressing peace building and conflict resolution, justice and advocacy, and mental health issues.

His greatest earthly love was his wife, Renita and his children with whom he shared his call to travel from Grand Rapids, MI to Monrovia, Liberia to Accra, Ghana and now, he has arrived at his final destination that of being home free with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on Tuesday, March 30th at 7 pm at Madison Square Christian Reformed Church (1441 Madison SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507) with Pastor David Beelen officiating. The family will receive relatives and friends at 6 pm. Memorial contributions may be made to a memorial fund for funeral expenses and the education of Hannah and Noah Reed (c/o Partners Worldwide, ) or to the West Africa Ministry Team of CRWRC for their ongoing work (; please place "In Memory of Bob Reed" in the memo section.

Hannah and her Daddy, in 2005

Noah and his Dad at the silent retreat last year, 2009

I thank God for the 19 years I was blessed to have with my best friend and partner.


Mary Flowersmith said...

shello, my name is Mary Flowersmith and my son goes to Calvin Christian School in Hamilton, Ontario and I attend a prayer group at tha school when I received this prayer resquest for your family. May our Heavenly Father surround you and children and also may he be with your brother Henry and Marnie and their family. May he comfort all of you. God Bless

Quawu said...

Thanks Renita, for sharing the obituary with those of us who will not be in Grand Rapids with you, Hannah,Noah,the rest of your family and friends during the funeral services of Bob.

We will keep praying for you all as you go through these dark days.

As we say in Liberia, “Never-mind yah!”

Rich said...

Renita --- thanks so much for the updates on the blog. Our prayers, thoughts and hearts continue to be with you, Hanna & Noah. I'm so sad I never got to meet Bob, yet I am thankful for how his life touch mine through what I know about him and the things that were important to him. We pray for the continued peace and comfort that can only be provided by the Holy Spirit. Rich & Linda Haan

Marianne Bailey said...

Thank you again for keeping us updated. May God's strength hold you all as you travel back to GR. and deal with the hard job of saying farewell to Bob again at the memorial service.

Anonymous said...

The Cannons are saddened to hear of the loss of Bob. He was a tremendously wonderful person, please know we are praying much for you and the kids

Jim and Terri Cannon
Sam and Jessica

Ang said...

Hello Renita and family,

My son Cody and myself used to attend Madison with your family a few years back. Cody and Noah were in Cadets together. We have moved south and I have followed your blog for some time. I am deeply saddened to hear of Bob's passing and but do know they are rejoicing in heaven. I will continue to keep your family in my prayers.
Angelic Roberts

Anonymous said...

Renita and family,

I have few words. I have been so profoundly touched by Bob in years past, and to think of him not being around anymore just knocks me over. Though, I do know where he is and I know he is well, whole, happy, at peace and with the Lord that he served. I know that He walks on streets of gold and swims in the crystal sea. I know that you will see him again, and I also believe the time is soon.

I continue to think of you and your family often, and when I do, I pray for you.

Marti B.
Madison Square Church
Grand Rapids, MI

aewilson said...

Renita, Hannah and Noah - I can't tell you how sad I am to hear about Bob's passing. I went to Moody with Bob and I have always considered him my best friend during those years. He literally changed my life. He encouraged me and caused me to believe how special God had made me, as well as causing me to see God in an even bigger way. (I'm sure you have seen him do this a million times with other people.) I always loved the long discussions about the Lord that we had. I think I grew more from these discussions than from most of my classes at Moody. I was trying to describe to my daughter this weekend at IU just how special Bob was. I can only imagine what an amazing husband and father he was. I really hope to meet you all some day. Please let us know when you have a chance what your plans are for the future.

Will be praying for you, especially that God will wrap His arms around you and your children.

Diann said...

Dear Renita,

My spirit aches for you and your family. I will be with you in thought and prayers this evening during the service and in the days ahead.
Death is all around us, but Christ is always with us, always.

Peace, even now.
Diann Takens-Cerbone
Madison member and missionary
Buffalo, New York

Cindi Petersen Falzon said...

Dear Renita,
I just received news from a fellow Moodyite about our brother Bob. I was rather stunned, as I imagine you and the children are. Bob was an energetic light who amused all who came near. We got to know him best during our years at Moody as resident assistants. Bob was not only an influence, but a comfort. Maybe I could say, "like a wonderful, huggable teddy bear." I rejoice knowing that he is in heavenly places that God has prepared for those who love Him. I am praying for you and until we meet again, may God keep you in the palm of His Hand.

Anonymous said...

I attended Bob's memorial and it was powerful and wonderful.....and sad as well.

I was not able to talk with you Renita, and your children, but that is okay, I am glad you were surrounded by so many loved ones, and I will continue to keep all of you in my prayers.

Bob is where all of us hope to be some day. My goal for sure, is to see Bob (and all my friends/family who have gone on before me) again in Heaven with our Lord, forever, and ever, and ever, so we don't ever have to be separated again.

Chuck Muysson said...

Renita - I'm so sorry for your and your children's loss! I went to your website this morning for the first time since Bob's last posting and was shocked & saddened by this news. Our prayers are with you during this difficult time.
Chuck Muysson

Anonymous said...

Renita, Hannah and Noah,
We never met, but I was a colleague and friend of Bob's in graduate school. We were in the same program at Azusa Pacific. Bob was intelligent, funny and above all, compassionate and warm. He loved life then as he did in Africa with you all. I have read all of the blogs and FB updates and am so sad to hear of his passing. You were so incredibly lucky to have spent your lives with him. I have NEVER met anyone like him, and I know I never will.

I will continue to pray for you. Hannah and Noah, if you ever want to come and spend a few weeks during the summer in New Orleans, just for fun or to work with Katrina related projects, I am here. I am a teacher and always have service projects going on and could use students with your experience to teach us. My husband and I have lots of room and of course, Renita you are welcome as well! I have always wanted to meet the woman who was lucky enough to find the sacred beauty inside of Bob. He was an angel here on earth!

Blessings to you are in my prayers.

Deborah Hohn Tonguis

Blessings to you all...

Cheri Baker Altman said...

Renita, thanks for sharing the obituary for those of us who share a special place in our hearts for Bob, though time and space have separated us. I dated Bob for several years at Moody and Azusa and still keep all his notes and writings because they are insightful, delightful, and reveal so much of his humor, compassion, concern for others, tenderness and discernment. I am grateful he found you and I know it must be hard to let go of him, simply because he loved generously and without reserve. I am sure he leaves a big space in your family's life, but thankfully God's grace through His Spirit extends to the uttermost parts of our minds and hearts. Your family is in our prayers.