SALAMANCA - Keith Reed Jr.'s family, friends and colleagues said goodbye Friday to "a compassionate man, who always had a smile on his face and lifted people's spirits."
A standing room-only crowd of hundreds packed the United Congregational Methodist Church in Salamanca, for the funeral of the Clymer Central School superintendent.
As the service began, an overwhelming show of support left dozens standing in the drizzle outside of the church, unable to get inside. Many continued to stand under a tent, which was set up outside of the church, while others crowded shoulder-to-shoulder inside the sanctuary.
Photo by Liz Skoczylas
Pallbearers carry the body of the late Keith Reed Jr. Friday during a funeral service Friday in Salamanca.
Although some in the crowd were unable to hear the 30-minute-long service, they stood in silence with their own thoughts.
The Rev. John Rough officiated the service, leading the congregation through prayer. "The Master's Hand," was read by Reed's nephew, Adam, in addition to a poem written by Reed's grandfather. The eulogy was read by Reed's daughters, Katelynn, Megan and Allison.
"God really blessed us with Mr. Reed. He was a gift to the school, and to the community and to everyone that met him," said the Rev. Erin Beckerink, pastor of Clymer Hill Reformed Church. "We just heard in the funeral from his daughters and from the pastor about how he had one of those impacts on lives like no one else. He had the ability to touch everyone that he was around."
The Rev. Beckerink has been at Clymer Central School this past week to assist with grief counseling and to pray with the students and teachers in the school.
"Every person says the same thing: that he brought out the best in them. He made such an impact. He raised the level of excellence in everyone. The kids loved him. He had a gift with kids," the Rev. Beckerink said. "My kids are all three in the school there, and he would high-five them, he would talk to them, he would hug them. Every student there just loves him dearly. There's a deep loss without him. He made a profound impact."
The Rev. Beckerink said the community is still reacting to its loss.
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office's investigation is ongoing and has focused in on a primary suspect, Robert Taglianetti II, who was apprehended hours after the service.
"There's a lot of pain and a lot of struggle. People are praying like they've never prayed before," Beckerink said. "I don't think something like this is ever really put to rest. I think we will struggle for a long time, but I think we will help each other through it. We'll pray a lot and we'll take it one day at a time."
Pallbearers for the funeral were Kevin, Scott, Adam and Nathan Reed, Lance and Lane Hoag, Jonathan Riley and Scott Kolo.
Reed was laid to rest at Crawford Cemetery in Salamanca.