James Richard Reda, 67, passed peacefully in his wife Ann’s arms July 12, 2020 at his home in Jericho, Vermont. He was surrounded by family.
Jim was born January 18, 1953, in Rochester, NY, to Louis and Constance (Darrah) Reda. He was an amazing man: humble, creative, independent, and generous of spirit.
A 1971 graduate of Edison Technical and Industrial High School, he was class president and prime prankster. With certificates from Rochester Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon, and MIT, Jim was a mathematical and technological genius. As an inventor and engineer, he held seven patents and, as a successful entrepreneur, founded, built, and served as leadership for 35 years at Videk Corporation, a leading printing and vision systems provider based in Fairport, New York. In 1987, Jim and his team produced the world’s first megapixel camera in partnership with Eastman Kodak Company. As a personal project in 2017, he combined his love of music and optics to design, craft, and program a device that reads, records, and converts player piano rolls to MIDI files. Jim’s player piano scanner was exhibited across Vermont.
Throughout his life, Jim was an active mentor and teacher. After moving to Vermont in 2006, he spent eight summers teaching technology and photography to teens at the Vermont Governor’s Institute of Technology, Design, and Coding. Working alongside his wife Ann, he also volunteered as a photographer and mentor to college students and youth in El Salvador and St. Lucia for BREAKAWAY – an initiative teaching youth respectful approaches to conflict and gender in order to address violence against women and girls. Following Jim’s cancer diagnosis in 2017, he taught skiing as a volunteer in the Vermont Adaptive Ski Program and as a coach for the Vermont Special Olympics. Being part of each mentee’s delight and growth brought Jim profound happiness.
Jim had many interests and talents, including photography, carpentry, woodworking, piano and accordion playing, travel, and dominoes. An avid bicyclist, in 2004 he soloed across the country, making many friends and persevering despite being injured by a motorist lobbing an apple (thus, gaining the trail name, “Popeye Arm”). Everyone who knew Jim knew him as a man full of energy, laughter, and love.
While on his 2-and-a-half-year cancer journey, despite knowing the eventual outcome, Jim was never angry or sad. Instead, he infused life with wonder. At one point, fresh from surgery, he returned home and built a harp, then learned to play it. With a twinkle in his eyes and his ability to make people laugh, Jim brought joy, caring, and humor to all who cared for him—from the nurses and staff at UVM Medical Center’s oncology department and, later, his Hospice caregivers, to his students, siblings, and in-laws. Jim deeply loved his wife, sons, daughter-in-law, step-daughter, and grandchildren. This past winter, one of his greatest joys was giving his 4-year old granddaughter Satori her first ski lesson. Before leaving this world in July, he waited to see his second grandchild Enzo born.
Jim leaves behind his beloveds: wife, Ann DeMarle; 2 sons and 1 daughter-in-law, Peter Reda, and Patrick Reda and Emily Hathaway; stepdaughter, Tegan Pollak; 2 sisters and their spouses, Mary and Steve Kozlowski, and Cathy Reda-Cheplowitz and Jerry Cheplowitz; 2 grandchildren, Satori and Enzo Reda; many nephews, nieces, in-laws, and cousins; dearly loved friends; and his beloved Springer Spaniels, Addie, Bella, and Charlie (Tuna).
He is predeceased by his parents, Louis and Constance (Darrah) Reda, and his brother, Thomas Reda.
Per Jim’s wishes, a private ceremony will take place in Rochester, NY. A celebration of his life will also be held in Vermont next year.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in memory of his name, Jim Reda, to either the Vermont Adaptive Ski Program (https://vermontadaptive.salsalabs.org/makeadonation/index.html) or to the UVM Medical Center Oncology Nurse Education Fund. Checks for the latter can be mailed to the UVM Medical Center at 111 Colchester Ave, Given Courtyard, 3N; Burlington, VT 05401.