Longtime Davenport Hotel doorman remembered as “gentleman”
SPOKANE, Wash — Hundreds gathered Thursday in Spokane’s historic Davenport Hotel to honor a man who served there for 75 years, opening doors with a smile.
John Reed passed away April 9th at the age of 88. He had been working at the Davenport since Louis Davenport hired him when he was just 13 years old.
Reed’s celebration of life was held in the hotel’s Grand Pennington Ballroom, directly above the door where Reed worked for all those years. Wearing an iconic red suit, he welcomed guests that included U.S. presidents and celebrities. In the service Thursday, those who worked with Reed say he believed every guest was special.
Reed was described as humble, kind and simple. He died in the home he had lived in since 1956. He was a widower with no children and the last of his seven siblings.
At the service, his niece Susan Wilmoth thanked the Davenport staff, specifically the bell staff that worked so closely with Reed, for giving him extra years of life by allowing him to do the work that he loved.
Those who worked closely with Reed remarked that no one will ever replace him. He was their last link to the hotel’s past and the only one left who had been trained by Louis Davenport himself. Reed even kept watch over the hotel while it sat shuttered for years. He was embraced by owners Walt and Karen Worthy and was told he had a place at the Davenport for as long as he wanted to work there.
The hotel will honor that legacy by placing his iconic red uniform on display in the lobby. The hotel staff is also keeping his locker in the staff room empty, adorned with a story of Reed’s legacy for those who come to work there to know.
Reed worked at the Davenport Hotel for so long, the staff remarked that they were running out of ways to celebrate his birthdays and milestones. They found out on his 75th birthday that he didn’t like birthday cake; fortunately, they had 13 birthdays left with Reed to honor him with something more to his liking.
KXLY4 featured Reed several years ago with a story that was played at Thursday’s celebration of life. The program featured our words from that story: “He’s part of this place, after all. A part of the Davenport’s history and a living reminder of Spokane’s past. He knows his old boss Louis Davenport would be proud of what the hotel has become. And, maybe Louis would also be proud to see the face of his hotel in the man he hired all those years ago.”
Reed also served in the U.S. Army. The honor guard played Taps and presented Reed’s family with a flag for his honorable service.
In closing, Reed’s nephew of the pride his uncle took in his work and the memories he created for so many who walked through the Davenport’s door.
“Heavenly Father,” Jim McCoy prayed, “If you ever had a need for a gentle, loving gatekeepeer, you need to look no further.”
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