Earl Reese was dedicated family man, Christmas, roller coaster enthusiast

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The family of Earl Reese reached out to News 4 late last week after the 57-year-old was killed on the job at FedEx Freight in the town of Tonawanda.

They wanted to share the story of a loving father and husband, and a huge kid at heart, who loved roller coasters and Christmas, mostly because they allowed him another opportunity to spend time with family.

“He’s a very rare, kind person that you just gravitate toward,” said Julie Pernick, Reese’s cousin. “We lost someone really special.”

The family of Earl Reese is reeling. The local patriarch was killed last Wednesday as he was walking out the back of a semi trailer, and a pallet, loaded with nearly 1,300 lbs. of cargo, fell, crushing him.

“It was the worst imaginable day of my life,” said his son Justin Reese. “My father is 57 years old.”

Earl’s death has left a lasting void, especially considering so much of his life was spent filling others’ with happiness.

“He loved the joy that it brought to himself, but he also loved the joy that he saw in his family’s face,” Reese said. “He just loved seeing that smile, that it put on your face, that made him the happiest man in the world.”

Earl was perhaps the oldest kid in Buffalo. He loved roller coasters, reveled in everything Christmas — both favorite past times because they involved the thing most central in his life: his family. And for them, loving, unique examples.

“Hallmark, they should dedicate a card to this man,” Pernick said. “This man got you the card, and every word … every word had to be underlined so you knew that he really meant that. Sometimes, he’d be picking out a card for a half hour.”

Earl’s second job was at Fed Ex, a part time gig to keep he and Carol, his wife of 40 years, afloat.

“They raised three amazing boys,” said Reese’s niece Brittney Miller. “And they not only raised three amazing boys, they raised all of their friends, and all of their cousins. Everyone who was in his life, they looked at him as a father, because he was the example of what you wanted to be.”

He had just celebrated his 39-year at his full-time job at ITT Enidine, where he also worked in shipping. It was a proud moment for Justin, who’s also been his father’s co-worker for the past eight years.

“He was the only guy, as he was walking back to get a standing ovation from everybody at the plant,” he said

Family members said Reese was in the perfect job, packing and shipping, because he spent so much of his personal time making sure life fit just right for everyone else.

“He did everything he could to put everyone where they needed to be in life,” Miller said. “When they were sad, he wanted to make them happy. When they were in need, he wanted to bring them up.

Added Miller: “He made this impact not only on us as a family, but he made the same impact on the people he was around. He treated everyone like family, and he gave every single piece of him to everyone he met. It was genuine and pure and he’d never ask for anything in return.”

Those wishing to donate in Reese’s memory can do so at this website.

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