Long time Skagway resident, Glenn G. Reed, passed away in Skagway on Dec. 8, 2020. Glenn was born in Juneau on Feb. 20, 1956. His parents were Morgan and Blodwen Reed of Skagway. His father represented Skagway in the Alaska State Legislature.
Glenn attended the Skagway School up until his senior year, when he relocated briefly to Pasadena California to live with his older brother, Ken. Glenn graduated from Pasadena’s Blair High School in 1974. Another significant event happened there, when Glenn purchased his first electric guitar and amp. A life long love of rock music ensued.
Glenn returned to Alaska and worked for two years on the North Slope of Alaska during the heyday of the Alaska pipeline project. When that project was completed, Glenn worked for White Pass Railroad and took on construction jobs in Skagway. He drove a truck hauling rip-rap that was used to create the site of the current Skagway Ferry Terminal. Eventually, he was employed at the Skagway Ore Terminal, which evolved into a job as a stevedore on the Skagway docks. This was his occupation until he passed.
Longtime friend and coworker, Wayne Ames, remembered a close call that occurred when Glenn was in the hold of a log ship being loaded in Skagway. The load shifted and the log Glenn was standing on suddenly sprung, and Glenn was set flying. Luckily, his injuries were fairly minor and Glenn eventually joked about it, but he never forgot that work on the docks had the potential to get dangerous.
In the mid 1980s, Glenn also found time to get his private pilot’s license. His long-time friend Gary Hisman recalls, “Glenn and I flew my plane back from Mesa, Arizona to Skagway. We were in the clouds above Northern British Columbia, flying on instruments. When there was a break in the clouds, Glenn spotted trucks on the highway below. ‘Hey look at that!’ he exclaimed. But, when Gary took his eyes off the instruments to look, the plane made a few sudden movements. Startled, Glenn said, ‘Next time I say look at that don’t!’”
Also in the 1980s, Glenn picked up the bass guitar and joined the local Skagway rock band, Fireplay. Besides being well known in Skagway and Haines, Fireplay performed all over the Yukon and Southeast Alaska before eventually relocating to Anchorage for a short while.
After Fireplay, Glenn joined local Skagway band Ground Effect. Band member Mike Rostron rememebers his days playing in Ground Effect with Glenn. “Glenn was a very important figure in the history of live music in the upper Lynn Canal. I remember him telling the story of jamming with Tennessee Ernie Ford at the Eagles while he was still in his teens.”
Glenn also lent his talents to another Skagway group, the Rev. Neil Down band.
Rev. Down offers this memory of his first meeting Glenn. “The first time I met the one and only Glenn Reed, was the summer of 1986. I’d been asking around town, making inquiries as to who and where I might find some musicians. A bass player would be a dream come true. The first gig was indeed a memorable event as we joined forces to provide some haphazard ambience for the great Albert Burnham’s birthday. That was just the beginning of what was to be a priceless, precious treasured friendship.”
Glenn loved playing cribbage and won trophies many times at the annual tournament held at the Skagway Elks. Glenn also liked to bowl at the Elks and he was the member of several teams over the years. He enjoyed golfing at Whitehorse during the summer and down in the Mesa Arizona area during the winter months.
Glenn was preceeded in death by his parents and his brother John. He is survived by brothers Bill Reed in Fairbanks, Ken Reed in Toronto and Allan Reed in Skagway.
On many golf trips to Whitehorse, one of Glenn’s favorite bands Deep Purple would be featured at great volume on the car CD player. The lyrics would be shouted out as we rolled by the beautiful scenery of the South Klondike highway. These words from Deep Purple’s Space Truckin’ are a fitting epitaph for Glenn-
We meet with all the groovy people
We rocked the Milky Way so far
We danced around with Borealis
We’re space truckin’ ’round the stars