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Longtime businessman ran for governor in 1987, losing to Ray Maybus

Tupelo’s Reed OK after health scare

State Republican stalwart and former gubernatorial candidate Jack Reed of Tupelo underwent emergency surgery last Tuesday morning and was briefly in the intensive care unit at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.

Reed, who built his Reed’s clothing stores into a Northeast Mississippi mainstay, woke up Tuesday morning and was paralyzed, his son Scott said.

“We took him to the doctor and they wanted to do surgery immediately,” Scott Reed, a Tupelo financial advisor, said.

The operation lasted five and a half hours, after which doctors told the Reed family that Jack Reed would face months of recovery and possibly be confined to a wheelchair.

That prognosis took a more positive turn Wednesday, Scott Reed said. Doctors were hopeful late last week that Jack Reed would be moved into a regular hospital room as early as Thursday, be sent home this week and achieve a full recovery rather quickly.

“He’s rallied tremendously,” Scott Reed said. “I went to see him (Wednesday) morning and he was sitting up in a chair. We’re feeling a lot better.”

Jack Reed was Mississippi’s Republican nominee for governor in 1987, losing to Ray Mabus of Ackerman. Reed got 47 percent of the vote, more than any Republican candidate for governor since Reconstruction.

Reed has been a respected political and economic voice for more than 50 years. He has used his prominence to advocate for public education and racial equality. He chaired former President George H.W. Bush’s National Advisory Council on Education, is a former president of the Mississippi Economic Council and a charter member of the United Methodist Church Commission on Religion and Race. In 1980, he served as chairman of former Gov. William Winter’s education study commission that brought to light serious flaws in the state’s educational hierarchy and policies. That commission’s work laid the foundation for the landmark Education Reform Act, passed in 1982.

Contact MBJ staff writer Clay Chandler at clay.chandler@ msbusiness.com .

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