Les Reader

Wood River | Monday, April 18 2022 |

Les Reader, 73, passed away at 12:08 pm on Monday, April 18, 2022, with his family by his side. He was born on July 10, 1948, in Wood River, the son of the late Charles and Eileen (Kelley) Reader. He married the former Sarah Lillian Chronister and she preceded him in death. Survivors include a son and daughter in law: Brian and Sarah Reader of Holiday Shores, a daughter and son in law: Tammy and Greg Adams of South Roxana, his grandchildren: Sarah (Randy) Lewis, Tyler (Bailey Kirsch) Adams, Brittany (Justin) Nelson, Zachary McNally, Brian Jacob Reader, Brenden Reader, Bryce Reader, Nathan Wallace, Caleb Wallace, Tre Rigsby, Madison Reader, his great-grandchildren: Ryly Kay Lewis, Paityn Lieann Lewis, Dawsyn Scott Adams, Madelyn Rose Adams, Maecyn James Lewis, Grayson Les Adams, Brooklynn Amadeah Reader, his sisters: Connie White, JoAnn (Carl) Hogle, Carol Balsai, his brothers: Bill (Rhonda) Reader, Bob (Karen) Reader, his best friend, and fellow musician: Gary Will of South Roxana, many nieces, nephews, and other extended family and friends.

Les was a veteran of the United States Army, serving during Vietnam, but his main passion was his music. Les was a prolific songwriter and a very talented musician. He produced multiple CDs, wrote over 500 songs, and had several Hall of Famers play on his songs, including Johnnie Johnson, Bob Weir (The Grateful Dead), Wayne Secrest (Confederate Railroad), and Doug Gray (The Marshall Tucker Band) wrote a liner note for one of his CDs.

Les spent time with several music legends, sharing their love of music. He traveled to California in 1977, where he met and befriended Jan Berry (Jan and Dean). In 1981 he made another trip to California, finally meeting Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, and they quickly became friends, with Les spending time in Brian’s home collaborating on ideas for future songs. He and Faron Young became friends and through that friendship, Les was able to meet Willie Nelson and spend time with him, with Willie requesting that Les send him some of his work.

Les had multiple songs becoming popular in Europe in the 1970s. His music was just starting to succeed in the US when his health began to rapidly decline. He was later diagnosed with Alpha 1 lung disease, which resulted in a lung transplant, making his ability to tour impossible. Les was an incredible fighter, continuing to write and play as he was able, but his health continued to decline. Les was truly one of a kind, one of the most famous unknown legends of his time.

A celebration of Les’ life will be from 2 pm to 7 pm on Saturday, April 30, 2022, at the Wood River VFW Hall, Wood River, IL.

Memorials are suggested to the 5As.

Obit Provided By:
Pitchford Funeral Home

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