Reed W. Brinton, July 20, 1915 – December 11, 2015
Dec 18, 2015 3:00 PM
Few of us have as much of a passion for sharing the best life has to offer, as Reed Brinton did. For more than 100 years he shared his joie de vivre with all those around him. With a twinkle in his eye and a bounce in his step, Reed lived life fully—a debonair dresser, an avid bridge player and a teller of jokes (some of them quite risqué).
He was generous with his perspective on life, and he was generous with us. Reed shared his enthusiasm for the university with his friends, stirring up support and bringing generous contributions to the benefit of students, faculty, hospital and research programs.
We will miss his enthusiasm, and we will miss him.
Knowing from whence you came and using that for the benefit of humankind are two skills we could all learn from Reed W. Brinton.
Reared on a 300-acre Sanpete County ranch, helping his father with the family’s cattle, sheep, and crops, Reed learned both self-reliance and resiliency. He rode to elementary school in a covered wagon. And he learned to identify and solve problems quickly.
Reed used these skills in the business world, becoming an entrepreneur and top insurance agent for New York Life. Yet as we mark Reed’s passing, it’s also clear he dedicated much of his life lessons to helping others and to building up the University of Utah community he cherished.
Reed’s affiliation with the U. began in 1958, when Utah Gov. George D. Clyde appointed him to the University’s Board of Trustees in 1958. He faithfully served in this post until 1983.
In 1970, Reed became a charter member of the University Hospital administrative board, predecessor to the current board. Over the course of 22 years, Reed would advise the hospital during a time of key developments and medical advances that earned the University national recognition.
Reed and his late wife, Helena, provided a generous donation in 1997 that was used to renovate the hospital lobby and main corridors and to establish a donor ‘Hall of Honor’ exhibit. It was the first lobby renovation since the hospital had been built in 1981, and Reed is known for having said the hospital should use its money for patient care; he’d take care of the lobby.
“I have said that the University is one our state’s greatest resources, and the health sciences center and the hospital are central to the University,” said Reed at the time. “They are deserving of our support, and I am pleased that I am able to contribute to making the facility a finer, more attractive place.”
Reed’s dedication to the University of Utah over the course of four decades was remarkable. At one time, he estimated he had attended more than 60,000 meetings on behalf of the University.
His involvement in the community was also exceptional. Reed served on the boards of the Red Butte Garden and Arboretum, the Marriott Library, the Utah Symphony, the YMCA, the Arthritis and Rheumatism Foundation, and the Pioneer Theater Company to name just a few of the organizations he supported.
You might say Reed didn’t do anything halfway. He was an Eagle Scout, a member of the National Guard, and graduated early from high school before attending Snow College. At New York Life, he was a top producer. He was known as a family man, devout in his faith.
The caring, dedication, and vision Reed had for the University of Utah and the people connected to it were transformative. Reed helped us grow into the remarkable health care system and university that we are and we will always be grateful.
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