According to Guinness, the person with the longest career in the same company is Walter Orthmann. Orthmann began working for what is now called RenauxView, a textile company, in 1938. He was 15 years old. On January 17, 2018, he was still there, so his time of service spanned 80 years and 75 days with the same employer. John Reed came somewhat close. He had worked at the Davenport Hotel for 75 years when he died at the age of 88.
I read an article/interview with Reed in the January/February edition of a northwest magazine. The exact date of his death is still not known, but a memorial service for him occurred on April 24, 2018. I assume that the magazine had the article ready to go and decided to publish it shortly after Reed died. The first question the interviewer asked him was “…WHAT KEEPS YOU WORKING?” Reed replied, “I like to be here. I like to work. It keeps me away from the TV and off the sofa.” When Ruth and I visited the Davenport, I didn’t realize Reed had died and inquired about him. I subsequently learned that his last work day at this hotel was in February, 2018. At the time he was still an employee showing up 4 days each week, but he was battling a diabetes-caused foot ulcer.
John Reed began working at the Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane, WA, in 1943. Because World War II was raging, he needed a special work permit to join the staff. He was only 13 at the time. The hotel’s owner, Louis Davenport, trained him. Completed in 1914, the Davenport at 10 South Post Street received a costly restoration in 2002 and is now part of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection. It’s beyond elegant, and guests were wandering around it with glazed eyes. Many were nostalgic while recalling a past visit that was very meaningful. I wonder if that includes Cher.
Ruth and I didn’t know about the Davenport until we read the article about John Reed. It was our desire to inquire about him that took us to this hotel on a critically hot, late July afternoon. Even though we were not staying there (this time), the staff graciously gave us access to The Circus Room after which we had a way delicious dinner in the Palm Court Grill and took a mostly self-guided tour. The Circus Room is the only original one left in this very historic hotel The picture of Louis Davenport above graces one of this room’s walls, so, in a way, he’s still there. So are resident ghosts. The man who waited on us in the Palm Court told us the story of his eerie encounter with one. I would not be surprised to learn that John Reed has been recently spotted greeting guests in his red uniform and black hat.