Reed Served 21 Years as Judge Executive
Darren Doyle, story:
Longtime former Judge Executive of Edmonson County N.E. Reed died unexpectedly at his home on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, according to family. He was 75 years old.
Reed was elected Judge Executive in 1992 and served in that role for 5 consecutive terms. He was sworn to office in January of 1993 and served through 2014.
During his time as JE, he was known for being an advocate for the county in a number of ways, much was in Frankfort, where he lobbied for state and other funding to pump back into Edmonson County.
He helped institute the Edmonson County Industrial Authority, the Edmonson County Parks and Rec system, the development of county parks that included an overhaul of HWY 70 park, and the construction of both the Chalybeate and Bee Spring Parks.
In addition, he also helped create the senior center at the Edmonson County Public Library, which was later named in his honor, helped oversee the construction of the annex and addition to the Edmonson County Courthouse, led the way for the acquiring of the both the Sheriff's Office and Extension Office properties, and oversaw hundreds of miles of county roads paved that were not prior to his taking of office.
Judge Executive Wil Cannon discussed Reed's influence in Edmonson County.
"Everybody knew N.E.," he said. "When I first became Judge, I would go to meetings and conferences, and when people would ask what county I was from, sometimes they couldn't place it, but when I would tell them that it's where N.E. Reed served for all those years, everyone always knew exactly who he was and where I was talking about. It got to the point that a lot of times, I would just say "I'm from N.E. Reed's county," and that's all I needed to say."
Cannon said that Reed was a big help to him when he was first elected.
"I hated to bother him with questions or issues because I knew he really wanted to retire, but he was always there and always ready and willing to help with whatever I needed. It was always a big comfort to know that he was there."
Reed and his family were people of faith and he served as a deacon and song leader for many years at Oak Grove United Baptist Church in Edmonson County. He suffered an accident in February of 2019 where a tractor jumped into gear as he was attempting to get back in. The tractor ran over him and crushed his leg. He credited God for his life being spared and for his recovery.
"Sometimes people look down on Edmonson County," Reed told the Edmonson Voice in an interview shortly after his accident. "They say we don't have this, we don't have that, but we have the most important thing, and that's the connectivity our people have with God and with each other. It's the main reason I've lived in Edmonson County my entire life. I'm proud of it and I can't wait to get back home. I'm truly blessed and I appreciate all the support. I'm glad for all the good thoughts, but I'm more thankful for all the prayers."
We spoke with Judge Reed's daughter, Tonya White, who wanted to thank everyone for their prayers up to this point.
"We appreciate your prayers, because that's what gotten us through right now," she said. "Please continue to pray. Dad loved his county. He really did. He just wouldn't stay still. Even after he was Judge, he served on boards and he wasn't happy unless he was going somewhere and doing something. You can't keep a good man down, is what I would always tell people. He loved home, he loved his people, and the prayers are greatly appreciated. He died at home. He didn't suffer. I am so thankful for that."
In addition to his longtime judge-executive's duties, Reed served on virtually every board or committee in the county at one time or another, and held numerous roles outside of the county that included serving on the board of directors at WRECC in 2015, where he served as chairman in 2019 and 2021, and was vice chair at the time of his passing.
He also served leadership roles at BRADD, Community Action of Southern Kentucky, and also served in various roles at KACO, and the Association of the Tennessee Valley Governments, to name a few.
On October 27, 2014, he was honored with a retirement dinner at the Edmonson County Public Library where he said, "I really appreciate the people of Edmonson County supporting me these 21 years. I never thought about being able to serve this long. All I can say is, that I always did what I thought was the best for Edmonson County." When asked how he'd summarize his time in office, he replied, "I hope that people can see the progress that was made through the cooperation of the other elected officials and the fiscal court. I didn't do it...it was a cooperative effort from everybody."
The last conversation I had with Judge Reed was at the Big Brownsville Bash on June 4th. He attended the Saturday session where a record crowd came out to the Brownsville Square. He flagged me down in his pickup at the car show, patted me on the arm and said, "This is great for our county and our people. You guys (the Chamber) have done a great job. I'm just so proud of our community, this is wonderful."
Funeral arrangements will be announced in his obituary which will be published as soon as it becomes available.