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 John Nelson Reeds (1925-1978) 

Reeds, John Kansas City Star.jpg

Professor and engineer, John Nelson Reeds was born on May 3, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri. In May 1944, just one year after his high school graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Reeds served as a combat infantryman with the 70th Infantry Division in Italy, France, and Germany. The 70th Infantry “Trailblazers” deactivated in October 1945, at which time Reeds applied for a position as a military government clerk. He was released from service in May 1946 but remained in Germany as a statistician with the Prisoners of War and Displaced Persons Division in Berlin from 1946 to 1947. The Monuments Men Foundation is very interested in learning more about Reeds’ service with the MFAA. If you have any information, please contact


Following his return to the United States in 1947, Reeds enrolled in the University of Iowa. He completed three degrees in chemical engineering, including a Ph.D. in 1958. While completing his studies, he worked as a chemical engineer at the B.F. Goodrich Company in Akron, Ohio and as a research engineer for the Continental Can Company in Chicago, Illinois. He briefly worked as an assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of Iowa before becoming Assistant Program Director of the Engineering Sciences Program of the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. in July 1958. In the following years, he served as Chairman and Professor of the chemical engineering departments, first at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana, and later at California State University in Long Beach, California.


Reeds was also a professional musician. He played the oboe in the University of Iowa Symphony, the Davenport Symphony, and the Terre Haute Symphony. He was a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Society for Engineering Education, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.


John Reeds died in Long Beach, California on June 23, 1978.

Photo courtesy of the Kansas City Star.

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