Frank Reid, a self-described “Dot rat” who founded and directed the after-school, out-of school program at College Bound Dorchester, died last Friday morning. He was 63.
Known as “Mr. Frank,” Mr. Reid applied his efforts to working with youth through the arts and sports. “The lives that he touched were so many that his focus on them and his interest in making their lives and developing their leadership has had a profound effect on a whole generation,” said Mark Culliton, CEO of College Bound Dorchester.
Culliton said Mr. Reid, who worked for the organization for more than over 35 years, felt struggling students could be engaged through art, whether it was drawing or photography. “He really believed in the power of art and creativity to ignite learning,” he said.
Mr. Reid grew up in Savin Hill and eventually moved to Hull. But he continued to work in Dorchester, helping youth and families.
“He was very thorough, very detailed, very conscientious about the work,” said Susan MacDonald, director of student placement at College Bound Dorchester. “He was very well respected.”
Stan Luniewicz knew Mr. Reid for 38 years, starting when Luniewicz was assistant recreation director for the Dorchester House Multi-Service Center and after Mr. Reid had moved from retail to youth services.
“You would just always know every time he came into the Dorchester House; he was full of smiles, full of energy,” Luniewicz said. “He was always wanting to play ball with the kids and he just had a great desire to be totally involved with the program.”
Luniewicz, who rose to recreation director and left Dorchester House in 1978, said Mr. Reid recruited basketball teams “from every walk of life,” from bar room teams to kids on street corners.
“Frank would be the guy you wanted in your corner,” he said.
Mr. Reid worked at College Bound Dorchester when it was still known as Federated Dorchester Neighborhood House. Culliton said he had only known him for five years, but called him somebody who had changed Culliton’s life.
“He had been fighting for a while and had given all that he could to his students and staff for as long as he could, but unfortunately his time came today,” Culliton wrote in a letter that went out to College Bound staff. “My heart obviously goes out to his family and his close friends, but also to the many people here who have known Frank for all the years he spent at College Bound/FDNH.”
Culliton said he would always build an additional 20 minutes into his schedule when he knew he’d be talking with Mr. Reid. “When I brought funders by, I knew that Frank would destroy my schedule and yet I also knew that he would excite and energize the funder with his recounting of students’ activities, projects and academic progress,” he wrote. “Similarly, in management meetings (which he hated), I would seek out his opinion and comments because so often it was spot on and important.”
Culliton said that even as Mr. Reid was dealing with cancer, he was a constant presence, “e-mailing and concerned about his students and his staff and making sure he was available to them when they needed something.”
Mr. Reid was also involved with the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials as a referee and a player for many years, according to his family, which requested that details of funeral service be kept private. He leaves his wife Laura, his sons Paul and Keith, and a granddaughter, Ava.
College Bound is planning to set up a scholarship for students in his name.