John was born in Dallas, Texas on November 2, 1941 to the late John and Lyra Reeder. He graduated from high school at St. Marks School of Texas in 1959. After obtaining a BA in history from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, he attended law school at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer primarily at the headwaters of the Amazon in Peru. Returning to Dallas, John served as house counsel for a small energy startup, Earth Resources Company, before the call of the mountains, and the Alaska Attorney General's Office, lured him and his VW bus north to Alaska in 1971. He met Loisann Lindemood within days of his arrival in Anchorage and they were married six months later.
John served three years as chief attorney in the Anchorage branch of the Attorney General's office, before joining BP Exploration as chief counsel in Alaska, a position he held for 22 years. He then worked several more years as an independent oil and gas consultant. His work with the industry spanned most of the major issues the industry has faced, from the early development of the Prudhoe Bay oil field through construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, the early years of oil production, and difficult taxation issues with the state and local governments. One of his key accomplishments was helping negotiate the Prudhoe Bay Unit Agreement, which laid the foundation for the major North Slope oil producers working cooperatively to develop the large oil resources of northern Alaska. John was a highly talented lawyer, known for his encyclopedic knowledge of oil and gas law and his unfailing sound judgment. He served as a role model for those lawyers fortunate enough to have crossed his professional path.
In addition to his professional career, John was an active community volunteer who served on the boards of the Alaska State Council on the Arts, Anchorage Historical and Fine Arts Commission, the building committee for the recent expansion of the Anchorage Museum, Cook Inlet Historical Society, Alaska Photographic Center, Susitna Valley Association, and Alaska Common Ground.
John was passionate about exploring and photographing the beauty of Alaska. He was an avid fly-fisherman. He and Lois backpacked, hiked and skied most trails in South Central Alaska. But their most precious time was spent at the remote cabin they built in the Susitna Valley 33 years ago, accessible only by float plane or snow machine.
John will be long remembered for the intelligent, calm voice of reason that he brought to all of his professional and community endeavors, coupled with a personality that was rich with good humor, patience, and kindness.
He leaves behind his wife and life partner of 41 years, Loisann, and many beloved friends. His ashes will be scattered over the Susitna Valley, where he and Lois spent many happy days at their cabin.
Per John's wishes, there will be no service, but a remembrance gathering of friends is planned in the fall.
Bequests in memory of John, may be made to either the Alaska Photographic Center or the Cook Inlet Historical Society.