Garst Royston Reese, 83, of Columbia, passed away peacefully at his residence on Monday, July 29, 2019.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, at Calvary Episcopal Church, 123 S. Ninth St., Columbia, Missouri, 65201.
Garst was born on Nov. 19, 1935, in St. Louis to Col. Arvan Reese and Ruth Garst Reese. In St. Louis, the Reese family lived across the street from the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Garst’s earliest memories were of playing in the garden.
In 1941, the family moved to Chillicothe. As a child he created ingenious electrical and mechanical devices. Summers were spent floating down the Grand River on boats he and his friends had built. He hunted rabbits and squirrels for the Sunday dinner table, and sang in the Glee Club. He graduated from Chillicothe High School in 1953.
Upon graduation he enlisted in the army. During his service he designed radar systems and rockets. He attended Central Methodist College in Fayette, and graduated from MU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics. He also studied math, physics, electronics and electrical engineering at the University of Texas while working for Texas Instruments.
In 1965, he moved to Los Angeles, California where he accepted a position at the University of Southern California. He designed, implemented and wrote computer models for each of the Gerontology Department’s various disciplines on the department’s computer. He also taught courses on computer modeling and statistics.
On Nov. 26, 1977, he married his neighbor, Alice Anna Reese. Together they relocated to Columbia. In 1984, he became an independent consultant, a decision he considered the best career move he ever made. Garst and Alice lived in Ghana, Mexico, Indonesia and Mali, where their computer-modeled research focused on increasing local food production.
Garst was blessed with a brilliant, creative mind which he used to enrich the lives of others. His warm, open smile and quick wit allowed him to become friends with anyone in any culture. He believed all men and women should be treated with respect and dignity. He was a scientist who shared his work and results freely with others. Garst loved to write and cook. His writings captured fresh ideas in beautiful prose, and he baked delicious bread for his family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Arvan and his sister Patricia Jo Morris. He is survived by his wife, Alice Anna Reese; five children: Stevan Reese, Reese Reese, Liz Clark, Aimee Leonhard and Laramee Haynes; eight grandchildren: Jamie Brenner, Kiley Reese, Keara Reese, Spencer Clark, Julia Clark, Anna Witherbee, Mattheus Leonhard and Nickolas Leonhard; five great-grandchildren: Claire Brenner, Peter Brenner, Adam Brenner, Amelia and Violet Witherbee; and his former wife, Jane and her husband, Tom Wilson. He is also survived by his sister, Ruthann Vickers, and his brother, James Robert Reese.
Arrangements are under the direction of Parker-Millard Funeral Service and Crematory; 12 E. Ash St. Columbia, Missouri 65203; 573-449-4153. Condolences online for the family may be left online at www.parkermillard.com.