John Gilbert Reese

November 20, 2018


John Gilbert (Gib) Reese, age 93, of Newark and Granville, died November 20, 2018 at Kendal at Granville.  Born in Newark, Ohio on July 7, 1925 to Everett David and Martha Grace Miller Reese.  Graduate of Phillips Academy (1943), Andover, Massachusetts, Bachelor of Arts from The Ohio State University (1949) and Juris Doctor from The Ohio State University College of Law (1952).  Admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1952.  Also a member of the American and Licking County Bar Associations.  Married to Louella (Lou) Catherine Hodges Reese (1951) for more than 67 years. Father of two sons; Gilbert Hodges (Randa) Reese, Lucius Everett Reese and three daughters, Martha Grace (Cyrus White) Reese, Sarah Reese (John) Wallace and Megan Reese (Eric) Edwards.  Grandfather of twelve; Elizabeth Harman, Sally Wallace Heckman, Gib and Gerry Wallace, Alex and Cate Reese, Madeline and Olivia Reese and Reed Grabill, Reese, Phoebe and Luke Edwards and four great-grandchildren.  Also survived by siblings; Phoebe Reese Lewis and Thekla Reese (Don) Shackelford and brother David Everett (Weezie) Reese, as well as 10 nieces and nephews.

After graduation from Andover, Gib served for 32 months in the United States Army Medical Corp in World War II.  After completing his formal education, he returned to Newark to begin his practice of law.  He is the founding partner of the Newark law firm of Reese, Pyle & Meyer, P.L.L.  Gib had longtime business associations with The Park National Bank, Newark, Park National Corporation, First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Newark (Board Chair), Freight Service, Inc., United Carriers Corporation.  He served as the Board Chairman of the National Council OSU College of Law (1972-78), the Thomas J. Evans Foundation (1965-2009), Central Ohio Technical College (1973-77), the Licking County Foundation (1980-82 and 1989-90), Newark Campus Development Fund (1983-2009) and Licking Memorial Health Systems (1989-1998).   Gib also served as a trustee of Columbus Museum of Art, The Works, YMCA of Newark and Licking County, Columbus College of Art & Design, Licking County Memorial Hospital, Dawes Arboretum, the Newark Area Chamber of Commerce and as a director of Alltel and Shaw Barton in Coshocton.  His public service included Newark City Safety Director (1955), Newark City Council (1956-57), Newark Law Director (1958-61), Ohio Board of Regents (1996-2005) and a Life Member of the 6th Circuit Federal Judicial Conference.  He was the recipient of numerous honors, including the Community Service Award for 2000 by The Ohio State University, The Distinguished Alumnus Award of 1979 by College of Law at The Ohio State University, the 2013 Everett D. Reese Medal with his wife Louella H. Reese by The Ohio State University, the Licking Memorial Health Systems Lifetime Achievement Award and Outstanding Man of the Year-Junior Chamber of Commerce (1955), the Legends of Loyalty Award Winner at Central Ohio Technical College and the Maureen C. Grady Award for Special Achievement from the Ohio Association of Community Colleges.

Gib will be most remembered as a philanthropist.  The power of education to improve lives has been the driving force behind much of his philanthropy.  He and his friend, Howard LeFevre, were the forces behind the establishment of The Ohio State University Newark Campus as well as Central Ohio Technical College (1971). He will also be appreciated for his work with the Thomas J. Evans Foundation in building over 40 miles of community bike trails, numerous parks throughout Licking County and for providing places for the operation of countless non-profit organizations in Licking County.

Gib’s personal side is also to be celebrated.  Gib adored his childhood in Newark.  Climbing trees, exploring and making adventures of every kind with his large group of unkempt friends. They roller skated all over town and were once caught at the Pennsylvania Railroad Station grabbing rides on the trains on their skates – very dangerous but it was a typical afternoon activity.  Every little boy had a hatchet and a pocket knife that kept them whittling and pruning everything in sight.  Baths were not an integral part of daily life so all little boys smelled sweaty and stale.  Those were happy times.   

Gib was a wonderful and very proud husband, father and grandfather.  He loved Reese family multi-generational traveling. Those who knew him always appreciated his entertaining sense of humor, his constant string of very clever practical jokes as well as his entertaining writing style.  During his undergraduate years at Ohio State he earned a Varsity “O” in Men’s Gymnastics.  Gib enjoyed playing the banjo in a Dixieland band in Granville, playing tennis at the Granville Tennis Club and skiing in the Vail Colorado area mountains.  Gib and Lou were extensive world travelers.  They had many adventures traveling the continental United States on a motorcycle.  Gib always loved getting a deal, so he was most pleased when he got to ski for free after age 70.    In the last decades of his life, he and Lou enjoyed spending time moving around the globe between Italy, Colorado, Florida and of course, his beloved hometown of Newark.  Gib and Lou were given honorary citizen status by the city council of Reggello, Italy in 2018.

On his behalf, the Reese family extends special thanks to Joyce McCreary, his secretary for over 40 years.  She was his Monday through Friday most dependable, loyal and invaluable helper and kept his complicated office running like a well-oiled machine.  In addition, the family is thankful for the expert medical care provided by Dr. John Weigand and the wonderful nurses and staff at Kendal during Gib’s final months.  Gib dedicated his life to improving the quality of life for others.  His extraordinary vision has touched nearly every facet of life from recreation, cultural arts, education, and social service delivery.  We have reflected on the many ways he has made our community stronger and the infrastructure that has been laid to ensure we can continue this work in perpetuity.  He always had a special place in his heart for place bound single mothers.  He worked tirelessly to ensure they would have access to quality educational options locally and that they would be able to provide for their families by completing their degrees. As we celebrate Gib’s legacy, we invite those who were touched by his work to direct memorial gifts to the J. Gilbert Reese Scholarship Fund for Single Parents.  Gifts can be sent to the Newark Campus Development Fund at PO Box 4217, Newark, OH 43058-4217, to the attention of Jennifer Roberts. There will be no calling hours or memorial service.  A private family service at the graveside will take place at Maple Grove Cemetery in Granville. 


Private Graveside


J. Gilbert Reese Scholarship Fund for Single Parents C/O Newark Campus Development Fund
P.O. Box 4217, Newark, OH 43058-4217

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