Joseph Pierce Reynolds, 77, of Newfield, NY peacefully crossed the finish line of his life on Saturday, June 4, while at home with his wife Christine, daughter Morgan, and son Joseph by his side.
Joseph started the race on August 11, 1944 in Norwich, NY where he was born to Joseph Pierce and Alice Elizabeth (Prange) Reynolds who preceded him in death.
Joseph was the third of seven children who grew up in Sherburne, NY. He attended St Francis High School in Hamburg, NY, then proudly served in the US Navy. He earned a degree in food services at what was then called State University of New York Agricultural and Technical College at Canton, NY (ATC). Joseph went on to manage numerous college dining halls in both New York and Illinois. The favorite part of his career, and arguably his best work, was as a teacher at the Greater Southern Tier BOCES in Coopers Plains, NY. It was here that he guided high school students to learn best practices for food businesses and for life.
Following his career, Joe returned to his avocation and former love: running. He became known among runners throughout the NYS Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions as an accomplished Masters Runner. He ran fast mile races on the track, completed countless marathons and ultramarathons, bounded through forest trails, and coached young and old. Fearless, steady, full of energy and stories, he set and met endless athletic goals. He dared those around him to reach farther, try new things, and follow along in his antics. He cheered the loudest at their successes, often with the help of a notorious cowbell, and laughed the hardest when his dares turned out to be terrible ideas. He and his wife Christine (Beach) Reynolds, whom he married on August 9, 2002, shared their mutual passion for the sport. They ran miles and miles side by side; they organized races; they volunteered in the Finger Lakes Runners Club; they traveled to events all along the eastern seaboard. They were known for being welcoming and supportive. They created and helped others to create lasting memories and loyal friendships. Those who knew Joe best knew that he would do anything for them.
His final race was against an aggressive brain cancer. He toed the line calmly and confronted the challenge as “Gentle Joe.” He graciously accepted the loving care from his wife, the homemade pies from friends, and the visits from both friends and family. He finished this life with a legacy of strength and love.
He is survived by his wife, Christine; his cat, Tommy; his daughter, Morgan Wasikonis; her husband, Mark; their children, Taylor, Matthew, and Adalee (State College, PA); his son, Joseph; his wife, Tammy; their daughters, Cara, Kaitlin and Clare (Pulaski, NY). He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Lois Beach (Newfield, NY); his sister-in-law, Donna Wakeman (Tim) (Owego, NY); her children, Cari Bamforth (Liverpool, NY) and Taylor Bamforth (Brittney) (Micco, FL). Joseph’s surviving siblings are: Anne Blacher (Chuck); Alice Berlinski (Edward); James Reynolds (Judy); Mary Reynolds; Elizabeth Reynolds; and Dolores Schiesel (Dan). Many cousins, nieces, nephews, and dear friends (who are like family), survive Joseph. In addition to his parents; he was predeceased by his father-in-law, David Beach; and beloved cats Sammy, Salem, and Yip.
A funeral Mass will be held at the church Joe attended for over 30 years: St. James the Apostle, 17 Whig Street, Trumansburg, NY 14886 at a date and time to be determined. A picnic celebrating Joseph’s life will follow at a time and location to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in honor of Joseph may be made to the Finger Lakes Runners Club Scholarship Fund, the Tompkins County SPCA or any non-profit (or person in need, for that matter) that would benefit from your support.
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