John Harold Reid, who helped establish the National Wood Flooring Association in December 1985 and led installation firm Trinity Floor Company (Dallas) as owner and president, passed away Feb. 5 after experiencing a stroke; he was 95.
"The wood flooring industry lost a giant today," said Fortane Adhesives' John Mayers. "Mr. Reid taught me to respect and appreciate the beauty of a wood floor, and I learned to respect him even more. Having known him all my adult life, there will be other great people in the wood flooring industry, but there will never be another 'Mr. Reid.'"
The NWFA was officially created during this meeting in St. Louis in December 1985. Seen are (seated left to right): Jack Wilcox, H.G. Roane Company; Ralph Singer, Diamond 'W' Supply; Lon Musolf, Lon Musolf Flooring; Roland Holder, Gentry & Holder Floors; Harold Reid, Trinity Floor Company; (standing, left to right): Gary Reynolds, Galleher Hardwoods; Steve Brown, Swift-Brown Distributors; Art Pedicini, Geysir Sales Corporation; Jack Coates, Golden State Flooring; Richard Steeneck, Hoboken Wood Floors; Virgil Hendricks, Mid-West Floor Company; Eldon Robbins, Mid-West Floor Company; and Keijo Hyvonen, Kelly-Goodwin Company.
Reid was actively involved in multiple flooring associations. For many years, Reid was a fixture at the NOFMA/NWFA Installation School in Memphis, Tenn. He was a one of the original group who met to form the NWFA and became a charter NWFA member. For a long time, he was the longest-standing associate member of the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA). In 1986 Reid founded the North Texas Flooring Association, and he also served as president of the Dallas Floor Covering Association. All of Reid's hard work over the years resulted in his being inducted into the NWFA Hall of Fame along with other founding fathers in 1994, as well as being inducted to the MFMA Hall of Fame in 2004.
Trinity Hardwood Dist. Inc.'s Bill Matney, a long-time friend of Reid's, recalls that Reid was the prototypical hard worker. "When Harold started, they didn't have those pneumatic nailers, much less the automatic nailers. They used cut nails," Matney said. "To prove yourself as a good mechanic, you had to drive the nail in one swing. Those guys back then could lay every bit as many square feet as the guys today with all these pneumatic nailers. That is the kind of guy he was. He really worked hard."
Reid was born Sept. 23, 1916, and later raised in Martin's Mill, Texas. He started at Trinity Floor Company in 1937 as an installer, earning 45 cents an hour. Reid enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 and served until discharged in 1945, serving during the height of World War II.
After returning home, Reid again worked at Trinity Floor Company. In 1967, he became president and owner of the company. Over his entire career, Reid supervised the installation of hundreds of thousands of square feet of wood flooring.
"He got his start doing unit block floors all over the country after World War II," Matney said. "He installed a ton of it."
The NWFA's 2004 Hall of Fame inductee class (left to right): Roland Holder, Harold Reid, Virgil Hendricks, Johnny Austin, Albert Duke, Chris Coates (accepting on behalf of her father, Jack Coates), Gary Reynolds and Jack Wilcox.
Notable projects of which Reid was a part include the installation of Harris Bondwood in Arlington's Six Flags Mall, Texas' first enclosed shopping center, and the installation of more than 100,000 square feet of flooring in the Dallas Museum of Art and Meyerson Symphony Center. Reid's favorite installation was the basketball floor at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark. He installed that floor along with his good friend Roland Holder, founder of Gentry & Holder Floors (Shreveport, La.).
Holder and Reid met each other in 1959, shortly after Holder opened his installation company. In 1968, they both attended a party in Memphis celebrating the merger of the E.L. Bruce Company and Cook Industries. "They had a big blowout over there. Everyone in the country was there," Holder said. "That's when I really got to know him, and we'd been in really close contact ever since then."
When asked recently to comment on the type of man Reid was, Holder said, "You don't have enough time. He was a great man. He was honest. He ran one of the best companies in the Southwest."
Besides working on job sites together, Reid and Holder taught together during the NOFMA/NWFA installation schools in Memphis. "I made nine of those schools, and they were some of the happiest times of my life, and Harold's too," Holder said. "We worked as a team—it was the Reid and Holder show. He did the talking; I did the work since I'm about 12 years his junior."
Holder said Reid was a great outdoorsman. "We were hunting … a bird came by him flying so low that he reached out with his shotgun and caught the bird right at the barrel of his gun and killed it right there. The next year someone gave him a broomstick with a sight on the end and told him he didn't need a gun," Holder recalled.
A funeral for Reid will be held Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Spring Creek Baptist Church in Iredell, Texas. In lieu of flowers, Reid's family is requesting donations be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital at 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. Reid's obituary from The Dallas Morning News can be read here.
(A source for this obituary was the MFMA Hall of Fame.)