There are some people who come into your
life and before you even realize it is happening, they change you...permanently.
Such was the effect Lloyd T. Reddick, known by one and all as "LT," had on me.
I had been hired by the Robert P. Gillotte
Company as their Western Regional Manager in 1986 and a couple of
years later, in 1988, they finalized the three man management team
by hiring LT, a native of Oklahoma who lived in Chicago, to cover
the Central Region.
LT immediately impressed me (and most of the
folks he met) as an easy going person with a wit and charm that put
you at ease. Over the next two years, we spent a lot of time
together, but after leaving Gillotte in 1990, I only saw him a
handful of times again. In fact, he left the company and went to
work for our largest distributor, Ellis Systems, for several years
and we kept in touch.
While we were together,
though, we spent hours talking. LT really enjoyed "talking." Not
just chatting about things like sports and the weather, but really
getting down to the "nitty gritty" of life. He told me about serving
in Vietnam and how that the experience had changed him deeply, and
it showed. Behind all the bravado and humor, there was a sadness, a
longing for something he had lost, that came through in the quiet
times, when the gang had disappeared and the last drink had been
Most of our time together was spent at either at trade shows or sales management
meetings. Because we were the two "non plant people," (the only two employees
who did not work out of Columbia) we were kindred spirits, belonging to, but not "of"
I wish I could remember everything had ever
told me about his life, but I can't. He had worked as a
sales manager for a company called Penquin, and I think they sold office supplies like toner cartridges.
One great moment I do remember (vividly) was LT's excitement
after meeting Lois, whom he would marry shortly
thereafter. It definitely was a turning point in his all too short life.
L.T. went through a tough time in the late
nineties. The club house of golf course for which he had been the
Manager burned to the ground. He had some personal problems as
well...he and Lois divorced and he had been searching for some
meaning in life. He seemed to be getting his life back together as
in his last email to me in January 2004 he wrote, "The
past year has been a long and stressful one with my responsibilities
in rebuilding the country club. But the club is open and running and
life has started to settle down and there is time for reflection."
He went on to talk about his desire to help young people avoid the
violence which seems to have taken over our world and called on his
friends to join him in doing the same (see below).
Then on June 15th, 2004,
I opened an old email from
LT's username, Greyhair52. I was stunned by the message:
is with the deepest regret that I send you this news. L.T. passed away this
morning at approx. 7 am due to an abdominal aneurysm.
He is to be cremated within the next day or so and a memorial service will be
held at the Calvary Freewill Baptist Church in Norman, OK, presided by Mike
The service will be held Thursday morning at 10:00am at the church and we will
hold the funeral at the Reddick family cemetery in Pharoah, OK next to Henryetta/Weleetka
at 2:00pm. We will have a formal 21 gun salute to honour his service and
If you have any questions please feel free to call me.
Sincerely yours in the Lord
Mrs. Leena Reddick
And just like that, he was gone. I had heard
from LT earlier in the year when he sent me one of his
"observations" (which I have included below). Having been through
some hard times in recent years, LT had found strength in his faith.
However, as you can read, he was living a life full of hope and left
us all too soon.
Goodbye old friend!
Photos: (click on thumbnail for full size image)
LT's 38th Birthday, 1990
LT's 38th Birthday, 1990
L to R: Me, David, LT &
Corine Hamlin in New Orleans
and LT in Reno, 1989
David and LT packing up
in Reno, 1989
LT with Tom Hynes in
LT's 38th Birthday, 1990
LT's Observation (January 7, 2004)
been some time since I last wrote an Observation. The past year has been a long
and stressful one with my responsibilities in rebuilding the country club. But
the club is open and running and life has started to settle down and there is
time for reflection.
As those of you who have read my past observations I try to stay within the
topic of the human condition with special emphasis on those with compulsive
self-destructive tendencies. From substance abuse, drug and alcohol, to other
behaviors that destroy the fabric of the addicted life those who suffer have
touched my heart.
In my observations I have tried to leave political agenda's and issues aside.
However during the past months Leena and I have continued to discuss and would
like to share with you.
The Presidential Political season is upon us. Each week candidates vie for sound
bites on the evening news broadcasts, appearances on the Sunday News shows, and
trying to pick out positions that will distinguish them from the other
It happens that this election period the Republicans are in the White House and
the Democrats have an abundance of candidates running in the primaries. Four
years ago the Democrats were in control and the Republicans had an abundance of
candidates for the White House. Whether Democrats or Republicans the party that
is out of power looks for issues that will resonate with the electorate and make
This election season the War on Terrorism will take front and center. The War in
Iraq, Afghanistan, Global Terrorism and violence will be analyzed and debated
again and again as politicians speak to their core supporters and try to
persuade the 10% undecided.
Along with the Politicians, special interest groups will be wooing a candidate
to advocate their positions. Gay and Lesbian groups, Seniors, Education, and of
course those of us who are Christians and comprise what is called the religious
Abortion/Pro Life issues, homosexual marriage, and judicial appointments will be
the central themes if this is like recent elections. There will be a few other
issues creep up to join the standard positions.
But center stage will be the War on Terrorism and how best to fight it.
No American, in fact most of the world, can easily forget the horrific events of
September 11 when 2,742 innocent victims were horribly murdered by the
terrorist. The vision of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center is
permanently stamped into the memory banks of us all. The ongoing stories of
bravery and courage of the fire fighters, police, and other emergency workers
have touched each of us.
With genuine pride Americans have supported the bravery and sacrifice of our
military men and women who have fought in foreign lands. Americans have
willingly given up some of our civil rights to insure the safety of our country
and citizens. Billions of dollars have been spent and will continue to be spent
in defense of America and the world from terrorist.
2,742 human beings were murdered that day. The question is what of the terror
that happens each year to over 5,000 teenagers from the age of 14 to 18 who are
murdered. This is not a single one-time event but a yearly destruction of twice
as many who died on September 11. In the past decade almost as many teenagers
from 14 to 18 were murdered as were killed during the Viet Nam War.
This is not a left wing or right wing issue, liberal or conservative. It does
not belong to the Republicans or the Democrats. For now the issue belongs to the
mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles of the murder
victims. It belongs to the local law enforcement agencies that try and solve
them. And it belongs to over 5,000 teenagers who face their own personal terror.
If those numbers shock us, the statistics get worse. The next age group, 19-25
has almost identical numbers, over 5,000 per year. Murder is the leading cause
of death in both these age groups. (All statistics are from the CDC in Atlanta
When Leena and I started this discussion a few weeks ago neither of us had any
idea of where to go with the topic. Neither Leena nor I are sociologist,
criminologists, or social constructionists. But we both felt that somehow this
should be part of the political debate and treated as a significant moral issue
for our country.
For those of us who embrace Christianity as our faith the story of the Good
Samaritan speaks to us about involving ourselves in the moral and spiritual
battle against the violence our country inflicts on our children and young
When Christ was questioned about how to inherit eternal life he asked the young
man what is written in the Law, how do you read it. The young man answered, "to
love the Lord your God with all our hearts, and with all your soul and with all
your strength and all your mind…and to love your neighbor as yourself."
Christ told him that he had answered well. The young expert in the law seeking
to justify himself then asked who is my neighbor. The answer Jesus gave was not
what the expert expected. Jesus answered with the story of the Good Samaritan.
That in essence our neighbor is anyone who is need or distress that we can help.
Even if he/she is our enemy as the Samarians were at the time to the Jews. And
if we can offer assistance in any form that is how we show that we love our
neighbor as ourselves.
Our country is full of teenagers and young adults who are in distress and danger
from the violence inflicted on them. While Leena and I do not have answers to
this moral terrorism we both believe it needs to be at least talked about in our
churches, our schools, our political debate and dialogue.
To that end we simply ask you to do two things that will take just a few
moments. One is to forward this email to your email list and hopefully that will
spark conversation and dialogue.
Secondly it takes just a few moments to send an email to your congressional
delegation. Listed below is a directory of congress members and their email
address. If enough citizens ask their governmental leaders to at least bring
this terrorism and violence into our national dialogue they will eventually