Carthage community remembers pastor, law enforcement chaplain who died from COVID-19 complications

Dale Reed's official Carthage PD photo.
Dale Reed's official Carthage PD photo.(Carthage Police Department)
Updated: Jan. 6, 2021 at 7:26 PM CST
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CARTHAGE, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas community is mourning the loss of a well-known pastor who died from complications related to COVID-19.

Dale Reed, 70, died Monday at a Tyler hospital. He was the longtime pastor of the Carthage Missionary Baptist Church and also served as the chaplain for the Carthage police and fire departments along with the Panola County Sheriff’s Office.

“Dale loved these people and they loved him. And they were never short of letting him know that,” said Reed’s widow, Joni.

Joni says Dale rarely missed Sunday mornings at his church.

“He was called into the ministry at 18 years of age,” she said. “That was a true love of his, even though he knew it was calling.”

Reed’s ministry reached beyond the walls of the church and into the hearts of local law enforcement, serving as a chaplain and reserve deputy.

“He had a passion for our law enforcement and our fire departments,” his widow said. “He prayed daily for them. He was a very patriotic man. He loved his country. He loved his state and he loved his county.”

Reed's official Carthage Fire Department photo.
Reed's official Carthage Fire Department photo.(Carthage Fire Department)

In difficult times, Reed was often the community’s shoulder to cry on. No mater what time of day the call came in, Joni says her husband was there to answer it.

“We’d be out in the community and might run into someone who said I remember when my son drowned and you were there. Or I remember when I was going through a hard time with my family through difficult times, and I remember you coming and helping.”

But she said in the end, COVID-19 hospital restrictions made it difficult for those who loved Dale to be there for him.

“He spent many miserable days, 20 something days, in Tyler,” she said. “Very sick and alone. That’s one of the saddest things about this whole deal is he was there so many times for so many other people, but yet we couldn’t be there with him.”

Joni says Dale started feeling sick in November. He spent five days in the hospital before going home, only to go back to the hospital when things got worse.

“And I had to leave him,” Joni said. “And I didn’t get to see him until they called me Monday and wanted to know how quick I could get over there.”

On Monday night, law enforcement escorted Dale Reed back home to Panola County for the last time.

“I still prayed for that miracle that God was going to heal him, but he was at peace and I know where he is. I’m not worried about him a bit. But I just wanted to let him know that I was going to be okay.”

Funeral services for Dale Reed will take place Friday at 10:00 a.m. at the Carthage Civic Center.

Visitation will be from 5-7:00 p.m. Thursday night also at the Civic Center.

Dale and Joni Reed.
Dale and Joni Reed.(Courtesy photo)

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