On August 31st, 2018, Delbert Reynolds closed his eyes one last time and left this world, at the age of 97. Del was born in 1920 in Wilmington, Ohio to Craig and Blanche Reynolds.
The high points of his childhood were the summers spent on his relatives’ farm, and the violin lessons his mother insisted upon, determined that her boy would be more than just a farmer. He was by his own account a mischievous child, until a protracted bout of tuberculosis rendered him bedridden for two years, instilling in him a love of reading and a thoughtfulness that lasted his entire life. Upon his recovery he began attending the Wilmington Quaker Meeting.
Del graduated from college with a master’s degree in philosophy, and was hired at the Friendsville Academy in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he immediately fell in love with a lovely first year teacher named Julia White. By December they were engaged, and on June 2, 1950 they were married at the Bethel Meeting House in Franklin, Virginia. They would remain married for the remaining 68 years of Del’s life.
Following an interest in the Holy Land lit by one of his professors, the young couple left in June of 1951 to teach at the Friends Schools in Ramallah Jordan (now part of the occupied territories of Palestine), but within a year the Director of the School abruptly left and Del found himself conscripted as Director of the Boy’s School. It was a position he performed with dedication, shaping the lives of countless young Palestinians.
Their first two children were born in Jerusalem. When their five year service mission was complete, Del and Julia loaded their young family into a newly purchased VW van and began a camping journey across Europe. These family trips in one VW van or another would fill their summer vacations for decades to come.
On their return to the states, the family landed in Momence, Illinois, where Del worked as a school administrator and the young couple saw their small family grow to five children. In 1963 Del accepted a job of principal at a fledgling Quaker boarding school outside Nevada City, California, John Woolman, and the family moved west. They eventually settled onto a small farm in south Nevada County, just down the street from Pleasant Ridge Elementary School, where Del and Julia would spend the remainder of their teaching careers.
Del had a lifelong love for the violin, playing for years with the local symphony. And Del loved his garden, and his tomatoes and corn were legendary. Until his very last years Del would find a way to make it down to the garden, on his pair of canes or on his electric cart, to plant more seeds and pull some weeds, and five instructions to his army of kids and grandkids. This spring marked the first year Del didn’t pick up his precious seed catalogs, and his family knew this season would likely be his last.
Del leaves behind his wife, Julia, children Paul Reynolds, Ellen (and Brian) Bisnett, Sara (and Jack) Kimmich, Martha (and Jon) Steuer and Anna (and Bill) Trabucco, grandchildren Emily and Elsie Bisnett, Jeff and Laurel Reynolds, Anna, Tom and Katherine Kimmich, and Nola and Anya Steuer, and great-granddaughter Pearl Meena, with more on the way. Del also leaves behind a vast community of family and friends, extending from the Friends Meeting in Grass Valley to the occupied territories of Palestine. Del was a man of peace and compassion. Del was a kind, gentle and thoughtful man who taught by example and touched the lives of everyone whose path he crossed. He will be deeply missed and long remembered. This world needs more like him.