From Scintilla, Career Took Him Worldwide
COOPERSTOWN – J. Mason “Mace” Reynolds passed on, with his wife and children beside him, in Stuart, Florida on March 14, 2017. He was 90.
A thoroughly gregarious man of exuberance, business acumen, impeccable honesty, and generous spirit, Mr. Reynolds was utterly devoted to Rhea, his wife of 68 years, their three children, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Mr. Reynolds retired from Allied-Signal, Inc. in 1989, where he had served for eight years as head of the corporation’s worldwide automotive operations. Allied-Signal Automotive was then a major OEM supplier of automobile and truck components, with such brand names as Bendix, Fram, Autolite and Garrett.
Born in East Orange, N.J., Mr. Reynolds graduated from New York Military Academy and, mid-World War II, accepted an appointment to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He served as a midshipman engineer below decks aboard lightly armed Liberty and troop ships in Pacific theater convoys – under constant threat from typhoons, submarine and aircraft attack.
With his degree in mechanical engineering from Kings Point, Mr. Reynolds began work in 1948 as a junior draftsman at Bendix Aviation Corporation’s Scintilla Magneto Division in upstate Sidney, New York. A gifted leader, his management capabilities were soon recognized and subsequently challenged by a series of increasingly responsible assignments in aerospace and automotive manufacturing plants. His career with Bendix and its subsequent corporate incarnations spanned locations from Sidney, to Davenport, Iowa, Denver, Mexico City, South Bend, Indiana, New Hartford, New York, European headquarters in Paris, and world headquarters in Detroit.
After retirement from Allied-Signal, Mr. Reynolds continued to serve in business as a director of the National Bank of Detroit and, responding to an emergency, as interim Chairman and CEO of InterMet Corporation, then one of the world’s largest independent makers of automotive castings.
Since 1989, Mace has mostly delighted in the company of his lifelong partner and sweetheart, at home with Rhea on the Indian River in Stuart, and spending summers together in Cooperstown, New York, where they lovingly restored and maintain the 1808 Robert Campbell house on Otsego Lake.
Mr. Reynolds’ Cooperstown roots include his first boyhood summer job as a field hand assisting his grandfather Edric Mason, who managed Grasslands Farm and other agricultural operations for renowned equestrian F. Ambrose Clark. In recent years, Mr. Reynolds has cherished the regular company of many golfing pals, frequent visits from out of town friends and family, and neighbors whom he warmly engaged by chance from the sidewalk, often with sleeves rolled up, rake in hand, and perspiration glistening on his brow.
Son of Cooperstown natives Frederick L. and Bernice (Mason) Reynolds, Mr. Reynolds’ children are Jeffrey, of Waterville, New York; Jennifer and John Brickley of Gilbertsville, New York; and Mark and Susan Reynolds of El Paso, Texas. Grandchildren are Benjamin and Heidi Reynolds of Pucon, Chile, (great-grandsons, Alexander and Oliver); Edric Reynolds of Denver, Colorado; Christopher and Ashley Brickley of Niles, Michigan (great-grandchildren, John, Ella and Nora); sisters Lauren and Dana Reynolds of Washington, D.C.; Evan Reynolds of Chicago, and Zoe Brickley of Greensboro, Vermont. Mr. Reynolds’s sister Jerry and her husband Charles Boutin reside in Denver.
Services were private for the family, but an announcement of a memorial gathering in Cooperstown later this year will be forthcoming. Friends are encouraged to consider contributing in Mace’s honor to their neighborhood hospice-palliative care organization.