The Historical Society of Harford County Online Memorial
Charles Hopkins Reed
1917 - 1991
Written by Lois Reed in 1999


Charles Hopkins Reed

Charles Reed was perhaps the definitive Renaissance man. Some wise person once said that every time a person dies a library burns. In the passing of Charles Reed, that metaphysical thought could not ring truer. He was a library of wisdom, knowledge and the fine arts. He studied for the joy of learning, teaching himself Greek before a trip to Greece. He was an avid reader, a student of the poetry of Wallace Stevens, a piano student up the to time of his death, and an ardent believer in social and racial integration.

Charles Reed was born on March 24, 1917. His parents were Charles Hopkins Reed of Darlington, Md. and Annie Lawrence Worthington of Bel Air, Md. His grandfather, John D. Worthington was the founder of the Aegis. His grandmother, Mrs. John D. Worthington, was one of the founders and first chairperson of the Harford County American Red Cross.

Charlie attended Bel Air Elementary School, the prestigious Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, and graduated from Princeton University in 1938. His law studies at the University of Maryland were interrupted by World War II. In 1941, he joined the Navy and served on a destroyer, the UUS Moale, until the end of the War. He married Lois Butterworth of Long Island, New York in April 1945. After the war, they lived in Baltimore while Charlie completed his law studies. In May 1947, Charlie was admitted to the Maryland Bar, had his first child, Susan, and moved to Bel Air where he opened a law office with Albert Close. Quite a month! His law practice was diverse - from criminal and civil cases to wills, estates, and zoning matters. He could easily relate to young and old, rich and poor. As a lawyer, he recognized that there was a higher calling than the lure of big money.

Charlie was deeply involved in many issues and matters both local and national. He was a founder of the Harford County Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, a long-term member and former president of the Bel Air Lions Club, and a two-term member of the Harford County Democratic State Central Committee. Charlie served as President of the Harford County Board of Education during the years of school integration and was a leader in ending segregation in the school system. He was President of the Board of Trustees of Harford Community College and was influential in deciding the site of the present campus. He was the first lawyer in the county to employ an African American secretary and urged other lawyers to do the same. None did. He served as President of the Harford County Bar Association and was for many years a member of the Maryland Attorney's Grievance Commission. Not confined to local issues, Charlie was one of the founders and Chairman of the Harford County Chapter of the World Federalist Association, an organization that favors non-violent means of settling international disputes.

In 1990, Charlie was chosen by his Princeton University classmates to receive their Distinguished Service Award for "his many years of selfless service to his community and fellow man." He died on February 1, 1991.

He left a legacy to his children to respect other cultures, be of service to one's fellow man, and value service over money.

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