Funeral Services will be held at Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday, August 30 for Vitilas “Veto” Reid, who peacefully passed away Sunday, August 16 at the age of 91. Visitation is at 2 p.m. and services at 3 p.m. Masks must be worn and social distance maintained. Reid faithfully attended Prince of Peace, 9350 Natural Bridge Rd., for more than 75 years.
Reid was a trailblazer in the United States Postal Service, where he served for 52 years. He was the first African-American postmaster in Godfrey, Illinois and in St. Charles.
“He also played a prominent role in helping to blaze the trail of substantial opportunities for the next generation,” said retired Congressman Bill Clay, his lifelong friend.
In 2004, the Normandy Post Office was renamed and designated as the Vitilas “Veto” Reid Post Office. In 2006, his 52 years of service was entered into the Congressional Record.
“Veto Reid is someone whose lifelong friendship and support I will always cherish and remember,” said U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay, who sponsored the legislation to honor Reid with naming the post office and the congressional recognition.
Reid also was the first African American to serve as president of the St. Joseph Hospital Advisory Board and as a member of the St. Charles Rotary Club.
“He tackled problems and prejudices head on, whether it was for himself, family, or friends,” said his daughter Makeda Reid-Vales.
Among many awards, he was honored in 2017 by state Rep. Chrissy Sommer (R-St. Charles) and the Missouri House of Representatives with the Hidden Figures Award. The award alludes to the 2017 Academy Awards Best Picture nominee, “Hidden Figures,” a docudrama about Black female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race.
“It was the story of my life,” Reid told The American in 2017.
Despite all of his accolades, Reid considered his greatest achievement to be marrying his wife, Bessie Luster, on February 17, 1968. “My wife is the key to my whole life,” Reid said.
Reid graduated with honors from Vashon High School in 1947. He was the vice president of his class and ran for the 1947 Championship Track Team. He was inducted into the Vashon High School Hall of Fame in 1991.
Reid went on to attend Stowe Teachers College and the University of Missouri at St. Louis before starting his U.S. Postal Service career in August 1951. “The post office was one of the prime jobs at the time,” Reid said.
Although he moved to St. Charles, Reid remained active in St. Louis. He was the nephew of a co-founder of a North St. Louis icon, the Mathews-Dickey Boys' & Girls' Club, Hubert “Dickey” Ballentine.
“I have no regrets,” Reid told The American in 2017. “My life has been beautiful.”
He is survived by his wife Bessie; daughters Quinita and Makeda; grandchildren Danielle, Devon, Taylor, and Steven; great-grandchildren Alona and Matthew; and great-great granddaughter Laila.
“Your love for your family was true, genuine and unconditional,” said his daughter Quinita Bruce-Cole. “You did your best for all of us, and I will always remember you.”
– Tashan Reed contributed reporting.