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Earnest Reese: A trailblazer who lived a full and exemplary life

Earnest L. Reese, Jr., 1941-2012. (AJC file photo)

Earnest L. Reese, Jr. (AJC file photo)

Earnest Reese’s funeral was attended by a man who’d never met Earnest Reese but who, having met the son he raised and heard the son speak of the father, got on a plane in Los Angeles and wound up in McDonough, Ga., at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The traveler was J. Michael Ortiz, and he’s the president of Cal Poly Pomona.

“I got the e-mail [regarding Reese's death last week] from Renford,” Ortiz said, “and I thought, ‘I need to be there.’ ”

(According to Renford Reese, the e-mail included a link to our obit and the message: “This is the man who molded me.”)

Dr. Renford R. Reese, distinguished professor of political science, was Cal Poly Pomona’s faculty member of the year in 2011. He played football and took his undergrad degree and his Masters at Vanderbilt; he earned his Ph.D from Southern Cal; he’s an author and a playwright. He’s also Earnest Reese’s son, and here I’m going to stop referring to him as Earnest. Because none of us at the AJC …

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