Kevin James Reeder, 64, died at home on April 21, 2021. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at St. Patrick Catholic Church on Friday, April 30, at 5 PM. Visitation will be from at 4-5 PM at the church. The funeral will also be streamed online (stpaturbana.org).
Kevin is survived by his spouse Mardia Bishop and his children Jack, Matthew, and Leia Reeder; his mother-in-law Helen Bishop, and in-law siblings Cathi (Rick) Ege, Carol (Chuck) Glaser, Janet, Paul (Janet), Jerry (Beth), and John Bishop; his mother Peggy Reeder and his siblings Chris (Julie), Molly, Paul (Lori), and Jenny (Nate); and, several nieces and nephews.
Kevin was a design educator and product designer. He was a professor at Stanford, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, and finished his career at the University of Illinois. He was the first professor to ever achieve tenure at Georgia Tech’s Industrial Design Department and for several years was ranked as a top design educator in the United States. He specialized in toy design and children’s anthropometrics, creating products for Discovery, Mattel, and others. He holds several patents and his work is featured in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Kevin was also a brilliant visual artist and wood sculptor. His sculptures primarily included marionettes, jewelry boxes, and small animals. His drawings for both design concepts and for fun were whimsical, especially loved was the caricature drawing of his face that he used as a signature on his work.
His pride and joy, however, were his children, and before his disability spent the majority of his time with them drawing, building snow and sand sculptures, coaching t-ball and soccer teams, playing in the surf, and teaching them the proper way to dip a French fry in ketchup.
For the past several years, numerous people have stepped up to help our family. Our children have been blessed to have been mentored by Chet Alwes, Rick Murphy, Nancy Parker, Ricardo Herrera, Rodney Mueller, Claudine Fréard-Rose, among others. Our children wouldn’t be the brilliant musicians and students they are without you. A tremendous thank you to Mardia’s family who were quick to cook, cut grass, build accessibility ramps, teach driving, provide counsel and support, and make us laugh. Many thanks to friends who helped us on our journey with Kevin—Melanie Michael, Cindy Adamek, Charee Thompson, Andrea Taylor, Tracey Wszalek, Sue Banks, Barbara Hall, Pat Justice, Maureen Reagan, Fr. Anthony Co, Fr. Joel Phelps, and Lisa Amoroso-Johnson. We are indebted to your friendship, generosity, and compassion.
We are grateful to Carle Hospice, especially Peggy, Carol, and Kassi.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the St. Patrick Church Steeple Fund, 708 West Main St., Urbana, 61801.
Owens Funeral Home, Champaign, is handling arrangements.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Kevin J Reeder, please visit our floral store.
St. Patrick's Catholic Church
708 West Main, Urbana IL 61801