Bill Reid, a final year student of Parade’s Class of 1955, and a former President of the Old Paradians’ Association Amateur Athletics Club (OPAAC), has died after a long illness. He was 81.
Pictured here with his beloved wife Joan - to whom he was married for 57 years and one day - and sporting his Old Paradians tie at the Association’s Centenary Dinner in late 2014, Bill was a College contemporary of the likes of Lou Arthur (jun.) and Brian Glasheen.
Beyond his school years, Bill maintained his links by running for the Old Paradians’ Amateur Athletic Club (OPAAC) where he also made many friends, including Ben Tosetto (1959) who was amongst the small group of mourners permitted to attend his recent funeral in keeping with COVID-19 restrictions.
Bill served as OPAAC President through the 1960s with the support of the late Vice-President Kevin Dynan. In paying tribute to Kevin following his passing in late 2018, Bill offered a little insight into how he first became involved with the club as an active competitor, by way of a chance meeting at the ‘Old Bluestone Pile’.
“I was in Year Ten when Kevin introduced himself during the regular lunchtime game, in which a group of more than 20 would hurl a tennis ball diagonally across our small playground to another group who would fly for the mark,” Bill said.
“Kevin was already the coach of the athletic club and was on the lookout for boys who might have shown some signs of being able to run or jump. Thus began a friendship replicated by dozens, perhaps hundreds, who were members of the club during the years that followed.”
In August 1979, Bill was part of a Parade pilgrimage to Waterford for the formal opening of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in which the mortal remains of Edmund Rice were to be housed. Bill, together with fellow Old Paradians and students Michael Love and Jeff Millroy, completed the journey, and Michael later noted in the 1979 edition of The Paradian:.
“We arrived in Waterford late in the afternoon and that night met with some other Old Paradians: Bill Dunne, who had flown in from London and Bill Reid who had arrived from New York. This meant that apart from Jeff and I there were five Old Paradians Brother Marzorini, Rene Stella and Des Benson travelling with us.”
The touring party is pictured here at Waterford – standing from left to right Bill Dunne (1944), Rene Stella (1952), Bill (1955), Br Marzorini (1936) and Des Benson (1936), with 1979 final year students Jeff Milroy and Michael Love kneeling.
Bill was a proud Old Paradian. He was a regular at the Old Paradians’ Association’s monthly luncheons at the RACV City Club, and Joan would regularly join him at the various Association social engagements.
Bill died on the afternoon of Friday, September 29. He was a true gentleman and will be sadly missed.
The following is a tribute to Bill paid by Barrie Williams, a final year student of Parade’s Class of 1953 and the President of the Old Paradians’ Association in 1968 and ’69. Barrie’s wife Val, a second cousin of Lou Arthur, is also the sister of Bill’s wife Joan.
William (Bill) Alexander Reid
1938 – 2020
On Wednesday, 7th October 2020, the funeral Mass for a great Old Paradian, Bill Reid, was celebrated at St Joseph’s Northcote. The homily adopted St Paul’s observation to fight the good fight and finish the race.
Bill started his education at St Mary’s Primary School Thornbury followed by a Diocesan Scholarship to St Colman’s and a State Government Scholarship to CBC Parade East Melbourne in 1952 where he progressed for the next three years. After joining the Australian Customs Service, Bill matriculated some years later and signed up for a Commerce Degree at Melbourne University which he never commenced as lectures conflicted with work duties and his priority was the latter. He was later to express his regret at not going to University but as things worked out, he felt that he had little to complain about.
Bill was four years old when his brother John was born. They were always close but very different, John had little interest in athletics but made up the numbers when required by big brother Bill at Old Paradian athletic events. John sailed through an Arts Degree at Melbourne University and set of for Europe in 1964 with some fellow Old Paradians and was tragically killed in a motor car accident in Scotland.
The Customs Cooperation Council (CCC) was formed by an International Convention in 1950 and Bill was appointed a Technical Officer in the Customs Technique Directorate and took up his appointment in 1971 where he was only the second Australian appointee. His tour of duty ended in 1980 and had involved high level international negotiation on applicable conventions and extensive travel throughout the world with a return to Canberra and Australian Customs. He believed that he established a world record for a period of leave of absence without pay in the Commonwealth Public Service.
In 1989, Bill was appointed for a second tour of duty at the CCC as Head of Administration, a high-level diplomatic role which he held until his retirement in 1994. Job offers followed retirement, but that chapter had closed. The story goes that one offer was made requiring an immediate response. Unfortunately, Bill was on a wine trip with Paradian friends and was “out of the loop”.
Bill became a member of the Old Paradians’ Association in 1954 immediately after leaving school and had joined the Old Paradians Amateur Athletics Club the previous year. An outstanding athlete and specialist sprinter, he was a member of the Victorian State Training Squad in 1958/1959. In the late 1950s, he joined the Old Paradians Football Club in the Victorian Amateur Football Association and officiated as a boundary umpire for three years. He recalled an occasion when called as a witness before the Tribunal when the Captain of the Football Club, Phil McLaughlin, was charged with some miscreance. Bill’s memoirs do not record his evidence but Phil was found guilty anyway. A foundation member of the Old Paradians Ski Club, he was involved in work parties until his resignation and appointment to Bruxelles in 1971.
For more than 80 years, the Old Paradians monthly Luncheon has been a major calendar event, initially at Buckley and Nunn’s Dining Room, later the Celtic Club and in recent years the RACV. Bill was a regular attendee and a speaker on several occasions.
Bill and his wife Joan were a close-knit family who took great pride in their children, Cathy, Michael, Chris and Té, ten grandchildren and one great grandchild.
The history of this proud College records Bill’s name in many pages of significant events where he had fought the good fight. He has now finished his final race.