Listen to this article

CHAMPAIGN — Kevin James Reeder, 64, of Champaign died Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at home.

A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 5 p.m. Friday, April 30, at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Urbana. Visitation will be from 4 to 5 p.m. at the church. The funeral will also be streamed online (

Kevin is survived by his spouse, Mardia Bishop; his children, Jack, Matthew and Leia Reeder; his mother-in-law, Helen Bishop; in-law siblings Cathi (Rick) Ege, Carol (Chuck) Glaser, Janet, Paul (Janet), Jerry (Beth) and John Bishop; his mother, Peggy Reeder; his siblings, Chris (Julie), Molly, Paul (Lori) and Jenny (Nate); and several nieces and nephews.

Kevin was proud to be a design educator and product designer. As a design educator, he was a professor at Stanford, Ohio State and Georgia Tech, finishing his career at the University of Illinois. He was the first professor to ever achieve tenure at Georgia Tech’s Industrial Design Department and for several years was ranked as a top design educator in the United States.

As a product designer, he specialized in toy design and children’s anthropometrics, creating products for Discovery, Mattel and others. He holds several patents and his work is featured in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Kevin was also a brilliant visual artist and wood sculptor. His sculptures primarily included marionettes, jewelry boxes and small animals. His drawings, for both design concepts and for fun, were whimsical; especially loved was the caricature drawing of his face that he used as a signature on his work.

His pride and joy, however, were his children, and before his disability, he spent the majority of his time with them drawing, building snow and sand sculptures, coaching tee-ball and soccer teams, playing in the surf and teaching them the proper way to dip a french fry in ketchup.

For the past several years, numerous people have stepped up to help our family. Our children have been blessed to have been mentored by Chet Alwes, Rick Murphy, Nancy Parker, Ricardo Herrera and Rodney Mueller and Claudine Fréard-Rose, among others. Our children wouldn’t be the brilliant musicians and students they are without you.

A tremendous thank-you to Mardia’s family, who were quick to cook, cut grass, build accessibility ramps, teach driving, provide counsel and support, and make us laugh.

Many thanks to friends who helped us on our journey with Kevin: Melanie Michael, Cindy Adamek, Charee Thompson, Andrea Taylor, Tracey Wszalek, Sue Banks, Barbara Hall, Pat Justice, Maureen Reagan, Father Anthony Co, Father Joel Phelps, and Lisa Amoroso-Johnson. We are indebted to your friendship, generosity and compassion.

We are grateful to Carle Hospice, especially Peggy, Carol and Kassi.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the St. Patrick Church Steeple Fund, 708 West Main St., Urbana, IL 61801. Condolences may be offered at

Trending Videos