Steve Reynolds, Friend and Teammate

Stephen A. Reynolds, a researcher who shared with his children the joy and wonder of science, died Nov. 2 at age 59.

By Lornet Turnbull

Seattle Times staff reporter

Stephen A. Reynolds was a researcher who shared with his children the joy and wonder of science.

His daughter, Lindsay Reynolds, recalls how he would organize science experiments for her and her brother — charting the rise and setting of the sun for an entire year, or spreading colored construction paper on the snow to see which color would melt the snow fastest.

Mr. Reynolds craved the simple life and for years nagged his family to get rid of the TV and the family’s one car.

“I still don’t know to this day how we managed to make it through those teenage years with only one car,” said his wife, Jeannette Reynolds.

Mr. Reynolds, 59, died Nov. 2 from complications related to congenital liver disease.

Born in Colorado, he later moved to Seattle, where he earned a doctorate in oceanography from the University of Washington and where he met his wife. His career took the family to California for a time before bringing them back to the UW, where he worked as a research scientist in the Applied Physics Laboratory.

For years, Mr. Reynolds biked to work from his Ballard home, and when the kids were younger, the family rode together every Sunday. “Our form of church was going on bike rides for breakfast,” his wife said.

Mr. Reynolds helped establish a foundation to support teachers at Nathan Hale High School, where he was a volunteer and steady presence.

“As a teenager you’re self-conscious of having your dad around a lot,” his daughter said. “In retrospect, I’m so appreciative … of the example he set for community involvement.”

As his disease worsened, Mr. Reynolds was placed on a waiting list and in 2003 underwent a liver transplant. His wife believes it made him appreciate life even more, allowing him “to see the kids graduate from college — when he didn’t even think he’d be able to see them graduate from high school.”

The couple were part of Team Transplant, a volunteer program for UW transplant recipients who train for — and participate in — the Seattle Half Marathon.

Even after disability ended his employment, Mr. Reynolds continued to work on a volunteer basis, researching underwater acoustics for use primarily by the U.S. Navy.

Eric Thorsos, who worked with him for nearly 20 years, said Mr. Reynolds was not a high-profile person who attended international meetings or served as the principal investigator on projects. “But he was a high-level contributor, a key, valuable player, on many ongoing projects,” Thorsos said. “It’s awful hard when you realize he’s not going to be here anymore.”

Along with his wife and daughter, Mr. Reynolds is survived by son Lang Reynolds, of Seattle; mother, Marianne Newman, and sister, Sandee Reynolds, of Tucson, Ariz.; and stepmother, Ann Reynolds, and brother, Tom Reynolds, of Colorado.

A celebration of his life is set for 2 p.m. Friday at the UW Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 N.E. 41st St., Seattle.

Leave a Reply