Prominent Lebanon business founder dies

Rea Wallace Reid, co-founder of the Shepherd Hills Factory Outlet Stores in Lebanon, Mo., that sprouted billboards along Route 66, died Monday at age 77, according to the News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

Shepherd Hills was hard to ignore. Billboards advertising Shepherd Hills’ Case pocket knives, Chicago Cutlery, and pottery remain dotted along the Interstate 44 and Route 66 corridor. And the gigantic store in Lebanon was hard to miss, too. It still draws tourists to this day.

According to his obituary at Holman-Howe Funeral Home in Lebanon:

Rea never did anything “half” way. He was a deep thinker who established high standards for himself and all those around him, putting his heart and soul into each and every endeavor he undertook. […]

Having co-founded Shepherd Hills Gift Shop in 1972, with Ida, and incorporating with their two sons, Rod and Randy, the family-owned and operated business had gained a firm footing and was just beginning to grow as Rea and Ida returned to Lebanon in 1980. Adding a second location in Osage Beach, Missouri, was just the first of several expansions that would eventually encompass seven states. Rea had an incredible gift for master-minding an operation with efficiency, effectiveness, organization, and resolve to do the right thing. He loved the challenge, but even more, he appreciated having the opportunity to share the adventure and the work load with those he loved most, Ida and “the boys”. All in all, as Shepherd Hills grew, he designed and facilitated the build out of over sixteen different retail locations, and then, what is perhaps the crown jewel of his design acumen, he designed and oversaw the building of the Lebanon location of the Shepherd Hills Factory Outlets, completed in 2000.

Reid also held extensive stints in civil service at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and, later on, raising Angus cattle.

The funeral and burial was Friday, in Lebanon Cemetery. He is survived by his wife Ida, two sons, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

(Hat tip: Tonya Pike)

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