“He is very personable with the kids. The kids love him. For me, his laugh will be missed the most. He has always just been very friendly.”
Logue came to Byars Dowdy in 1973 when it held grades kindergarten through sixth, but today runs from pre-K to grade 4. He became head custodian at the school after the retirement of his brother, Raymond, who worked 29½ years in the same school system.
But don’t think the school has seen the last of the man who mopped its hallways a thousand times, not to mention the hundreds of hours spent stripping and waxing floors, sweeping classrooms, mopping bathrooms, washing dishes and cleaning up when children got sick to their stomachs.Logue plans to pop in once a week or so for a quick visit.
“They’re like my family in there. They never fail me when I need them,” said the custodian who began his career in maintenance in the early 1970s when he was 18 and serviced Sam Houston Elementary, McClain Elementary and Lebanon Junior High as well as Byars Dowdy.
“I was young then and could get around then. I can’t now. What got me out was bad health,” said Logue, who suffers from diabetes, congestive heart failure and renal disease.
He was born and raised in Lebanon, part of a family that included seven sons and two daughters. All of the Logue brothers (George, Raymond, Richard, John, Paul and Reed), but one, worked in the school system.
“Reed was just one of those people who you could count on. He was dedicated,” said Andy Brummett, who retired in 2005 after 32 years with the Lebanon Special School District, the last 16 years as its director. “Whatever you needed—from packing textbooks to moving a classroom—Reed was trustworthy, dependable and honest. He is the kind of custodian that every principal wishes they could have.
“Custodians set the whole mood for the school system. The jobs they do create a learning environment. What they do is just as important as any other employee in the school system,” Brummett said.
While most of the students call Logue “Mr. Reed,” he also earned the nicknames “Twisty” and “Big Daddy.” The former for back when he would dance the twist for the children, and the latter because, “I tried to take care of all of them,” he said.
“I loved the children. I’ve seen them go to school and then a lot of them come back as teachers.”
One of the perks of his job was getting to eat lunch in the school cafeteria. “The food was good. I wish I had some now,” he said while patting his stomach.
The custodian confesses he often made his job harder on himself.
“I scraped a lot of bubble gum off of desks, but I gave them a lot of bubble gum, too.”
It’s obvious, he was stuck on the school as much as the schoolchildren were stuck on him, and he’ll never scrape off those warm memories.Ken Beck may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.