Robert C. Reid, a decorated veteran and the longtime State House columnist and reporter for the Frederick News-Post, died in Annapolis yesterday after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 63.
Fighting his cancer until the end, Mr. Reid delayed a trip to the doctor last week to file what turned out to be his final column -- a typically tongue-in-cheek effort suggesting he should be allowed to deduct from his taxes the amount he spends on food for the animals in his neighborhood.
"He had an interesting style. He was very unpredictable," said Mike Powell, managing editor of the News-Post. "He was easy-going, he was good-natured, and he certainly had an upbeat view of life."
"Bob Reid was one of those rare journalists who knew that newspapermen have a responsibility to tell the entire story, not just the part that makes headlines," Gov. William Donald Schaefer said yesterday. "We'll miss his wit and his smile."
Mr. Reid served 20 years in the Air Force, serving in the Berlin Airlift and the Korean War as a flight engineer on bombers. He was awarded the Bronze Star, three Purple Hearts and eight other combat decorations.
During breaks in his active service, Mr. Reid worked for the San Francisco Examiner, the Pacific Coast edition of the Wall Street Journal and for the United Press news service. He later covered the Vietnam War as a reporter for Stars and Stripes and several other military newspapers.
After retiring from the Air Force in 1967, Mr. Reid founded and ran the Bowie Blade newspaper in Bowie, which he sold to a competing publication in 1980.
In 1980, he joined the News-Post as Annapolis bureau chief and soon began writing a three-times-a-week column.
He once said he considered reporting to be the most important part of his job, and writing columns the most fun.
Mr. Reid was born in Detroit and grew up in Hamilton, Ontario.
He is survived by his wife, Corinne, of Bowie; four children, Dan Burbine of Dallas, Nancy Braunger of Santa Barbara, Calif., Richard Burbine of Honolulu and Roger Reid, of Funkstown, Md.; 12 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Mr. Reid will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery Friday at 2 p.m. There will be viewings today and Wednesday, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Beall and Evans funeral establishment in the 16000 block of Annapolis Road in Bowie.