David Hawthorne Reid
David Hawthorne Reid
  • July 19, 1961 - April 13, 2017
  • Atlanta, Georgia

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David Hawthorne Reid, age 55, died at home, where he wanted to be, surrounded by family, after a courageous 10-year battle with kidney cancer. He was a man of extraordinary intellectual ability and an unfailing dry wit; he had an encyclopedic knowledge of sports and music, a passion for coaching, and great enthusiasm for playing cards, tennis, and golf. Professionally, he was an actuary with astonishing mathematical intuition and statistical knowledge. Above all, he was a devoted family man, who loved nothing more than spending time with his three boys, both on and off the field, and being with his wife of 24 years, Mindy Zatto.

David was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1961 to US military parents. Growing up, he lived in Columbus, GA; Spartanburg, SC; Miami, FL; and Woodcliff Lake, NJ. He easily made friends through sports, and it was not uncommon for the Reids’ yard to be full of boys playing tag football. His grandmother, an avid golfer, helped him develop a love of golf. David's grandparents were Bettie Elleen and Richard Woods of Chester, SC, and Rose and David Cochrane Reid of Richburg, SC. David looked forward to the family's summer vacations with his cousins at Ocean Isle and Garden City beaches. Despite moving frequently as a child, David always felt anchored in SC, where most of his extended family lived; consequently, upon graduating from high school in NJ, he chose to attend Clemson University in SC, where he had a cousin and childhood friends. (He had also predicted that Clemson had a shot at the football National Championship, which the Tigers would win in his junior year.)

At Pascack Hills High School in Montvale, NJ, David was an exceptional student, though he preferred to be on the field than in the library. He often masked his academic prowess behind his relaxed and athletic demeanor. His teachers sometimes underestimated his extraordinary intellect, given that he sometimes fell asleep in class after a morning practice. However, he rarely received less than an A on any assignment, and distinguished himself as a top student. David was a left-handed pitcher on his high school baseball team, which won the North Jersey Championship with a 27-2 record his senior year. David developed strong friendships in high school, playing sports and cards (with an occasional road trip to Atlantic City), and attending music concerts. He had an ear for great music and new sounds, and he was a big fan of Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Squeeze and Joe Jackson. He always knew when new albums or concert tickets were to be released. He remained interested in music his whole life, attending over 15 Springsteen concerts. He was a lifetime subscriber to Rolling Stone Magazine and Sports Illustrated, and had seemingly perfect recall of everything he read. With his clever wit and his intellectual database, he was a great companion at any event.

At Clemson, David majored in Chemical Engineering, finishing in four years with high honors while participating fully in the social fabric of the school. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (Treasurer), Blue Key (President), Tau Beta Pi (engineering honor society), Mortar Board, Tiger Brotherhood, and Student Government Trial Court. He played baseball his freshmen year and lived in the athletic dorms before moving into the SAE house his second year. He was adept at sports statistics and probabilities and he enjoyed setting up friendly wagers. He organized a bus trip to New Orleans so that he and his friends could watch Clemson beat Tulane on their way to the 1981 National Championship. David introduced his southern friends to the ballads of “The Boss”, and he organized road trips to see various performing artists. He loved college intramurals, and as lefty quarterback, he led his SAE team to win the all campus championship.

David worked for Proctor & Gamble after college until he decided that mathematics, not manufacturing, was what he was gifted to do. He became a pension actuary, first working for Alexander and Alexander, where he met his future wife, Mindy, also an actuary. He later worked for Hazlehurst and then via acquisition, Northern Trust, and he spent the last 13 years as the head actuary of The Savitz Organization’s Atlanta office. One of his coworkers commented that David taught her that it was possible "to work smart and to have fun doing it." David and Mindy had tremendous mutual respect, both personally and professionally, and they often collaborated on projects. David continued to enjoy sports outside of work, and played many years of adult softball, ALTA tennis, and golf.

David's greatest joy was the birth of his first born, Tyler, and the subsequent births of sons Justin and Dylan. Parenthood brought out the best in David, and he was a tender and patient father. He appreciated each of his boys' unique gifts and personalities, and it delighted him when they started catching on to his ever ready puns. It was his greatest thrill to serve as coach for their various teams, and he spent many years coaching them in football, baseball and basketball. He was an outstanding coach, exhibiting patience and class on the field, and was able to recognize the talents and contributions of each player. David was close to his parents, John and Kathryn Reid, who live in Dunwoody, GA, and he highly valued their support and involvement in the lives of his children. He also had a close relationship with his sister, Martha Fair (Mark), and her family in Atlanta, and with his in-laws, Joe and Carolyn Zatto and their family, all of Atlanta.

Living life fully and staying busy at work, David approached his illness as the tough competitor that he was. He went to MD Anderson and participated in clinical trials and underwent chemotherapy for 7 years. It gave David great joy for Mindy and the boys to attend the Clemson/Alabama national championship game in January, and it thrilled him that his son Tyler, a sophomore at Clemson, was able to celebrate that moment,