Sunday, October 1, 2017

R.I.P. Robert Reddic

Former MATC employee Bob (Robbie) Reddic died on September 14th after a three-year battle with cancer.

Rob was a big man with an even bigger heart. Through his work at MATC and with the Neighborhood Children’s Sports League (NCSL) he helped change the lives of thousands of young people in Milwaukee.

Robbie was raised in the Hillside projects just a few blocks north of MATC. He enrolled in former AFT Local 212 President Ernie Schnook’s Foundry Arts program.  According to Robbie, he was less than a committed student as a young man. But when he didn’t show up in class, Schnook would come to his house, bang on his door and literally drag him to class. At Schnook’s memorial service, Bob Reddic said, “The man saved my life.”

After graduating from the foundry program, Bob took over the foundry, running it for more than two decades while mentoring students from many programs, some of them his former players. It was a safe haven for MATC students while providing our students with the skills, knowledge and castings they needed to master their crafts. Bob also produced beautiful works of metal art in that shop.  

Bob Reddic never forgot where he came from nor Ernie Schnook’s faith and commitment to him. He was dedicated to paying it forward by devoting his life to providing opportunity and structure to the young people of his community.

According to Earl Ingram, the President of the NCSL, Bob Reddic was “the architect of the largest youth football program in the state, the NCSL. He devoted his time and treasure to those children and their families for over 26 years, leaving a legacy of turning boys into men.”

“Make no mistake,” Ingram wrote on Facebook, “it was Bob Reddic’s vision that put us on the map. Hundreds if not thousands, of young men have gone on to play college and professional football because of him including current Green Bay Packets player Marwin Evans.”

Robbie Reddic devoted his life to making his community a better place -- inside MATC and outside its walls as Carol Meekins described in this eulogy in Positively Milwaukee. 

Robert Reddic leaves behind a wife, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and more than a thousand young men and women whose lives he helped shape.

Milwaukee’s heroes don’t fly through the sky. They don’t wear capes. They are the people like Robbie, hard working men and women who devote their lives to making their community a better place.
Robert Reddic, “wasn't on the local awards list as many others are for lesser accomplishments,” wrote Ingram, “although he should have been. But make no mistake about it, he was a HERO to thousands of young boys and their families.”

Robert Reddic was a mensch, an example to us all. May he Rest in Peace.