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Remembering Dick Reid, Tahoe Telephone Directories

Dick Reid

I received a note yesterday that Dick Reid had passed away.

Some men have character, some men are characters.  Dick Reid was both.  If you never met him, he most reminded me of the character that Rodney Dangerfield played in the movie Caddyshack.

Dick was loud, opinionated, strong willed, outspoken, and had a huge heart.

I first met him when he was running the backroom operations of WorldPages.com from a converted strip mall in Amarillo, Texas.  They built websites and colorized ads for directory publishers.  Compared to the glitz of Silicon Valley, Dick’s operation was a smokey, chaotic, sweatshop.  And he loved it.

When I travel, I rarely stay in people’s homes, but Rick Klein, then President of WorldPages insisted that I stay at Dick’s house.  I’m glad I followed Rick’s advice.

Dick’s home in Amarillo was a veritable playground of a man who seized life by the throat.  His wonderful wife, Susan was a solid counter-balance and she treated me as if I were a long lost son.

A few years earlier, Dick had taken up golf.  In his usual over-the-top style, Dick had a putting green installed in his back yard.  It was huge, and if my memory serves, it was about a quarter acre or larger. and was designed and installed by a PGA golf course designer.

Impatient and ambitious, Dick then had a trail built through the rough country further behind his house and installed nine tee boxes that were at various elevations and distances from the green.  He said that the path was designed so that two passes of the special golf course mower could cut the entire distance.

Everything Dick did was over the top, and that doesn’t appeal to everyone.  Just the way Dick liked it.  He didn’t sugar coat his comments, and he wore his emotions on his sleeve.

He was a pioneer in bringing colored ads to telephone directories with his company Pizzaz.  He built small business websites with his company Big Stuff long before it was mainstream.

After the sale of WorldPages.com and his website building company, Big Stuff, Dick stopped using email altogether, preferring to do business over the phone.

He dedicated a tremendous amount of time and energy into building his own business and in working for the Association of Directory Publishers to advance the industry he loved.

He told me of starting from scratch in the directory business with only a phone and a board propped up on a few crates as a desk.  He kept it together through some very lean times, but never gave up the battle.  His Tahoe directory is an outstanding example of what can be accomplished through sheer determination.

He will be missed.  The world is a better place for his having lived.

  1. Ken ClarkDecember 28,10

    Amen. The world of yellow pages is a little darker today. He was always real, totally direct, but always got a chuckle out of even the most difficult situation. He will be missed

  2. Scott WilsonDecember 28,10

    Dick was a wonderfully fun guy to spend time with, I was fortunate enough to spend countless times laughing and sharing stories. He was a true Yellow Pages pioneer and this industry and all of his friends will miss him.

  3. Rick KleinJanuary 20,11

    Nice job…we’re all going to miss those long rambling conversations with Dick. Great job of writing Mr. Larkin. I’ll never forget putting the Worldpages deal together and all the fun we had, including ringing the bell on the NYSE! I remember one of our conversations, around 1998, in which Dick essentially envisioned Facebook. I was able to convince him that no one in their right mind would put their personal information on the ‘net. Folks who listened to Dick Reid were almost always better off for it. Always ahead of his time. We traded stock in companies on a hand shake and every deal we ever made together was honored. What an honest, decent, fun and bright guy!

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