A beloved community volunteer died Tuesday afternoon, leaving behind a town full of shocked and saddened friends.
Edward Redd, who was a Commissioner for the City's Parks, Recreation and Community Services, was found unresponsive by one of his children at a Canyon Country residence. Paramedics were unable to revive the 63-year old official.
"I am very, very sad," said Santa Clarita Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean, who appointed Redd to the Commission in 2002. "He was a wonderful, kind, sweet man and I am just broken-hearted."
"We lost a good man, we did," added DaAnne Smith, Executive Director of Single Mothers Outreach, where Redd served as a board member. "He has helped a lot of people in our community."
Described by all as a private man who put the needs of others before his own, Redd was a familiar face around Santa Clarita, especially when the causes were youth and families.
"He was responsible for getting our first Office of Criminal Justice grant to work with elementary schools and help kids who were having a hard time with family issues," said Adele Macpherson, Community Services Manager for the city. "He worked on the first Youth Master Plan and taught parenting classes for the city and was a huge supporter of the Community Center, especially the boxing program. Every event we had, Ed was there. He was just one of those guys who was always there for the kids and the parents and families, taking them to meetings or getting them help or telling kids to stay in school."
Macpherson recalled Redd's compassion and an incident when he popped his head into her office to ask for help.
"He said there was a guy who was sleeping in his car and wanted to know what we could do about it," she said. "He just cared a lot about people."
A graduate of Manual Arts High School and a resident of Santa Clarita since 1980, Redd even had a Facebook page, where he described himself as a fan of "classical, smooth jazz, pop, R&B and oldies music" and enjoyed science fiction and technical television shows, including all the CSI franchises.
Along with the parenting classes he conducted at the city and COC, Redd taught anger management classes for the Action Parent and Teen Support Group.
Macpherson said that Redd was one of three volunteers who took it upon themselves in the early 1990s to survey the community and zero in on youth issues, resulting in some of the programs still in force today. She said he set a good example and left behind big shoes to fill.
"Everyone is just in a state of shock," she said about his death. "He talked to the staff here just a few days ago. Our division is just devastated."
Smith said that in the short time that Redd was on the board - almost a year - he showed a passion for helping families.
"He had a concern for those who parented alone," she said. "A lot of the people who were going to his parenting classes were from single parent households and it was a natural fit for him."
"The best thing I can say about him is that he was a good man," Smith continued. "When we are looking for men for our board of directors, we see the value they bring to the table. We are looking for good men in particular because so many of the women we serve have come out of domestic violence situations. We are lucky to have some good community leaders, good fathers. Ed was a good man. We are at a loss."
Before she appointed him to the Parks Commission, McLean was familiar with Redd's volunteer spirit.
"I knew Ed from working with him at the Boys and Girls Club and several other nonprofits," she said. "I considered him a friend and knew he would do a wonderful job on the Parks Commission.
Traditionally, the City Council recognizes the passing of community leaders and sometimes commemorates their contributions by dedicating an event or landmark to them.
"I know that he was all for kids and all for youth," she said. "If there is something we can do to honor him in that way, I am going to see that we do something like that."
Funeral services are pending. Check back with hometownstation.com for details as they become available.