James Joseph Reynolds

Steelworker

Age 86

September 19, 2005

James Joseph "Pop" Reynolds, a retired Bethlehem Steel worker and a 20-year volunteer at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church and schools, died of prostate cancer Thursday at his daughter's home in the Middle River area. He was 86.

Most people at the East Baltimore church knew Mr. Reynolds as "Pops," from his work at the snack bar outside sporting events. He missed few volleyball, basketball, baseball or soccer games, and family members said he loved giving cookies away to children, telling them "they're free today" then slyly paying for them when the youngsters weren't looking.

"Our Lady of Mount Carmel became his passion and his life," said his daughter Colleen Reed of Essex.

Born and raised in East Baltimore, Mr. Reynolds was the eldest of seven children and dropped out of school after his father died to help his mother take care of his siblings.

He worked at Bethlehem Steel, weighing and molding steel, until his retirement in 1982. Shortly afterward, he began volunteering at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, and at the elementary and high schools.

The Rev. Austin Murphy, associate pastor at the parish, remembered Mr. Reynolds fondly. "We called him the mayor of Mount Carmel," he said.

Father Murphy recalled that he had to be careful when he complimented Mr. Reynolds on something he was wearing. Once, when the two were eating breakfast together, the priest told Mr. Reynolds he liked his hat. A week later, Mr. Reynolds gave Father Murphy a new hat like it.

"He was such a sweet guy, his generosity was just amazing," Father Murphy said.

In 1942, Mr. Reynolds married Anna Marie Kelly, who died in 1987.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 9 a.m. today at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Middle River.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Reynolds is survived by two other daughters, Patricia Mannion of Essex and Beverly Perkey of Bel Air; a son, Michael Reynolds of Perry Hall; a brother, Donald Reynolds Sr. of Essex; a sister, Helen M. Reynolds of Pennsylvania; seven grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.

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