For a brief moment June 14 after a memorial service for Kemah Police Chief Chris Reed, with thousands gathered on the steps outside of the church, you could almost hear a pin drop.
In that briefest of instants, before the sounds of buzzing helicopters and ceremonial gunfire overtook the silence, the many varied expressions of mourners occupied the greatest space. Some wiped tears from their eyes while others were stoic.
“Today, we share our memories and celebrate the impact Chris Reed had on each of us,” Bruce Wesley, senior pastor at Clear Creek Community Church, had said an hour earlier to begin the service. “And it is only through the collection of memories that we have all shared that we can begin to do justice to the sort of man he was.”
And so it was that thousands turned out June 14, a who’s who in Galveston County of familiar faces, many sharing stories, to help lay Reed to rest.
Reed, 50, died June 7 after the wake of a passing vessel hit his boat near the Texas City dike, knocking him overboard, officials said.
For more than 40 hours, volunteers and law enforcement officers with more than 20 different organizations searched more than 650 nautical miles of water to find the man who held positions at many different communities around Clear Lake during his working career.
Those who spoke during the service did their best to remember Reed in his differing capacities. Greg Smith, superintendent of Clear Creek Independent School District, spoke first, highlighting Reed’s dedication to public service and his love of education.
“Our very own Captain America is gone physically and takes a little bit of us with him,” Smith said. “But he leaves behind a better community because of him.”
Reed was elected to the Clear Creek Independent School District Board of Trustees in 2017, but district administrators had been hoping he would join them in some capacity for about 12 years, Smith said.
“He was just always about service,” Smith said.
Richard Rennison, a longtime friend, spoke next and told attendees he’d been asked to make Reed’s wife, Jana, laugh.
Rennison told stories about visiting Scotland and Ireland on a trip with Reed, who always claimed he was 140 percent Irish, but that several Scots told him they thought he looked like them, to Reed’s chagrin.
But alongside the funny stories, Rennison also reminded people that Reed was the sort of officer who took a bullet in the line of duty. Reed began with the League City Police Department in 1991, shortly after leaving the military, working his way up to assistant chief before moving to Nassau Bay. He was shot in the line of duty in 1993 and subsequently awarded the Law Enforcement Purple Heart.
Reed had been the chief of police in Kemah since October 2016, when he was brought on in an interim basis until receiving the full-time position in January 2018.
Before arriving in Kemah, Reed served as League City’s assistant police chief before accepting a promotion to city administrator. He subsequently served as Nassau Bay’s city manager until 2016, when he launched a consulting firm.
Finally, Reed’s daughter, Logan Reed spoke.
“I thank each and every one of you that is here today,” she said. “This is a testament to the number of lives that he touched.”
But while many remember Reed for being a city administrator, a police officer or a mixed martial artist, the best role he ever held was father, she said.
“Imagine that police officer playing round after round of pretty, pretty princess with his daughter,” she said.
But Logan Reed ended her remembrance by urging people to remember her father for what he was to them — a police chief, a city manager, a school district trustee, a referee or a mentor — and to live each day with the same passion that he did.
“In doing so, his legacy will live on through us,” she said.