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J. Reid Wrenn

November 27, 1922 May 9, 2022
J. Reid  Wrenn
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Obituary for J. Reid Wrenn

J. Reid Wrenn died peacefully, surrounded by family on May 9, 2022, at the age of 99 years. He lived a long and accomplished life. He was the oldest of nine children, a family man, a skilled businessman, a member of the Baptist church and a lifelong resident of Emporia, VA.

Reid is survived by his son James Reid Wrenn, Jr. of Midlothian (Spouse: Karen), Daughter Rebecca Wrenn Adam of Charlottesville (Spouse: Michael), Grandson Brian Wrenn (Spouse: Adriana and Great Grand Daughter: Maria), Grandson Elliott Wrenn (Partner: Michelle Giezeman) and Grandson Ryan Adam, all of Washington, DC. Four of Reid’s seven sisters survive him: Margaret Thrower of Emporia, Elvin Picano of Richmond, Frances Matson of Richmond and Linda Joyner of Franklin.

Preceding Reid in death were his parents, Richard and Jessie May Wrenn of Emporia, Sarah Wrenn, his wife of 73 years, and four siblings: Burton Wrenn, Mary Lee Pearson and Ruby Rawlings, all of Emporia, and Jean Ciletti of Baltimore, MD.

At the age of only 18 months, Reid contracted Polio, leaving his right arm partially paralyzed. At six years old, Reid received surgery and treatment at Sheltering Arms Hospital that allowed him to regain partial use of his arm. Never allowing this early difficulty to hold him back, Reid moved forward through school and through life with ambition, determination and optimism. As the first-born of nine children and inspired by the sheer will, determination and selflessness of his mother and father confronting the enormous challenges of the Great Depression, he became a faithful big brother and virtual assistant "Daddy" to all of his siblings.

At the age of 17, he began his career in Sales at Emporia Sash & Door, a building supply dealer in Emporia. Having helped the company prosper, he was elevated to Vice President.

During WWII, Reid served his country in the Virginia State Guard as a Supply Sergeant, since his brush with polio prevented him from serving in the military.

In June 1966, he was offered a new position at Brick & Tile Corporation of Lawrenceville, VA. (Brand name is Lawrenceville Brick.) Initially focusing on regional sales, Reid later rose to Vice President. In 1975, he became President / CEO. Reid’s vision for Brick & Tile fostered growth. In 1966, when Reid arrived, the company was making 27 million brick per year. Under Reid’s direction, the construction of new plants (ultimately three new plants over the years) with innovative technologies that allowed Brick & Tile to better compete in the marketplace, increase sales and increase manufacturing to 110 million brick per year. He always attributed much of his success to the excellent Sales, Engineering and Administrative teams at Brick & Tile Corporation.

Reid retired as Brick & Tile’s President / CEO in October of 2001.

For many years, Reid served as a Director for the Brick Industry Association. Additionally, he served as Chairman for the Emporia Industrial Development Authority for more than 10 years.

Reid was an avid reader of history, political discourse and current events. He was constantly learning. He was an excellent and competitive checker player. Devoting nearly all of his spare time to his family and friends, Reid was always seeking ways to make life’s path smoother for those he loved. He was a tirelessly unselfish and generous son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather who always put his family first. In his passing, there is no doubt he heard the words of Jesus saying "Well done, my good and faithful servant" for the manner in which he led his life.

Visitation will begin at 1pm on Thursday 5/12/22 at Echols Funeral Home in Emporia, (806 Brunswick Avenue) followed immediately by a Chapel Service at Echols at 2pm. Interment will follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery, 1250 Skippers Road, (Route 301 South) Emporia, VA. Reception to follow at Golden Leaf Commons, 1300 Greensville County Circle, Emporia, VA.

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