Arthur Reid, Jr., business man, founder and president of Reid’s New Golden Gate Funeral Home and a longtime benefactor of student education in Milwaukee, died Wednesday, May 27, 2020. He was 82 years old.
Arthur Reid was born in Jackson, Tennessee. His family relocated to Milwaukee when he was 13 years old. He first became interested in the funeral business due to the fact he was friends with the children of the late Lamar Williamson, founding director of what is now called the Leon L. Williamson Funeral Home.
In an interview in 2015 with The Milwaukee Times, Arthur recalled his introduction to the funeral business. “One day in 1956, Mr. Williamson came to me and asked if I wanted to learn the funeral business or if I wanted to keep fooling around like the other kids outside,” he said. “I never looked back.”
Myra Holland, co-founder of Fred’s Ornamental Security Doors, lived in the same duplex as Arthur for the first year after her family moved to Milwaukee. “He was very ambitious and well organized,” she said. “Even when he was a young man, he had a plan to own his own funeral home. He accomplished his goal.”
Before opening his own funeral home, Arthur Reid worked in a factory and at several other jobs, saving money and learning the business. In 1981, he co-founded Reid and Yandell Funeral Home, which eventually became the first Golden Gate Funeral Home in 1986. For seven years, Golden Gate Funeral Home serviced the Milwaukee community. In 1993, Golden Gate Funeral Home changed its name to The New Golden Gate Funeral Home. Arthur Reid Jr., became the sole owner and operator of Reid’s New Golden Gate Funeral Home located at 5665 North Teutonia Avenue in 2008. In 2012 Reid’s New Golden Gate Funeral Home opened up its second location at 1910 Taylor Avenue in Racine, Wisconsin. A third location was later established at 2535 North Teutonia Avenue in Milwaukee.
Being successful in business was never enough for Reid, however. Milwaukee photographer George Bryant recalled that Reid was also a devoted Christian family man, and community philanthropist.
“What a great legacy,” Bryant said. “He had a real concern for young people as well as the organizations and the people who work with them.”
Since 2011, Arthur and his wife, Mary, partnered with WISN-TV Channel 12 and The Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper to donate laptop computers to the Milwaukee area high school graduates tapped by the newspaper as Louvenia Johnson Scholarship recipients during the annual Black Excellence Awards. The couple also sponsored field trips and donated to various youth causes through their church, St. Matthew Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
Arthur Reid, Jr., is survived by Mary and two daughters: Sheila Reid Johnson and Phyllis Reid. Funeral arrangements are still pending at this time.