Cover photo for Ronald Ray Reed's Obituary
Ronald Ray Reed Profile Photo
1945 Ronald 2020

Ronald Ray Reed

April 8, 1945 — April 11, 2020

Ronald Ray Reed, 75, Cooksey's Bait Shop chief teller of tall tales, told his last fish story on April 11, 2020 at 4:23 pm. 

Ronnie is known from Chicago to Cape Girardeau as the owner of Cooksey's Bait Shop, a "gathering place for hunters, fishermen, and other liars."  Though he seemed a man of gruff exterior and disposition, those who invested the time to know him found a soft-hearted, generous man willing to give the shirt off his back.  

For the last 42 years, he and his surviving wife, Carol, ran a business that became legendary in Southern Illinois and a home to those needing escape to a simpler time where good stories were heard, huge fish were seen and life momentarily forgotten.     

To hear Ronnie talk, fish were ALWAYS biting, a dozen equals 15 - 24, and his minnows were guaranteed: "These minnows are guaranteed to catch a fish or die trying!"  Ronnie had an uncanny ability to remember the names of most everyone he had met. His daily motivation was “Help everyone you possibly can, and to heck with the rest.”  Ron helped A LOT of people. To the core group of loafers that visited the shop each week for decades - Ronnie viewed you like family. You know who you are and are loved and appreciated.

Ronnie is survived by his wife Carol, his son Greg and daughter Sis; also his brother-in-law and sister Herb and Jane Ann McMullen of Arizona.  Ron has 3 surviving grandchildren, 4 surviving nephews, including one locally - Matt Reed, of whom Ronnie often said was like a son to him. He has 6 great-nephews & nieces  

Due to current circumstances, there will be no service at this time.  Donations to help with funeral expenses can be made in lieu of flowers. Please go to

Mitchell-Hughes Funeral Home in Marion is assisting the family with arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ronald Ray Reed, please visit our flower store.


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