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Help us honor Richard S. “Major” Reynolds

The design for the proposed kitchen calls for a chef’s demonstration area (at left) and eight cooking stations (at right) for culinary classes.

We at the Reynolds Homestead were deeply saddened by the death on Sept. 18, 2023, of our great friend and advisor Richard S. “Major” Reynolds III.

Major participated in the 1970 dedication of the Reynolds Homestead and was a founding member of the homestead’s Advisory Committee, serving from October 1980 to May 2023.

In honor of his enduring service, support, and loyalty to the Reynolds Homestead, we are seeking donations in Major’s honor to build and dedicate the community kitchen wing he supported.
A man holding a microphone and speaking
Richard S. “Major” Reynolds III at the 2022 anniversary celebration of the gift of the Reynolds Homestead to Virginia Tech.

As we approached the 50th anniversary of the Reynolds Homestead, the Richard S. Reynolds and Virginia S. Reynolds foundations pledged $800,000 to construct a community kitchen wing on the Community Engagement Center at the Reynolds Homestead.

Speaking of the pledge, Major said he felt it was time for the Reynolds family to reinvest in the homestead to prepare it to serve the region for the next 50 years.

The 1,500-square-foot community kitchen has a three pronged mission:

The Richard S. “Major” Reynolds III kitchen will include cooking stations to allow students to follow instructors’ directions for hands-on cooking experiences.

Patrick & Henry Community Collegewill teachculinary classes in this area of the kitchen. The Reynolds Homestead is currently working with the Patrick County High School Hospitality Program, P&HCC, Virginia Tech, and Primland Resort to create a pathway for local students to gain employment in food and beverage services at Primland and other establishments.

A demonstration station will allow students to gather around an instructor for demonstrations of different cooking and preserving methods. The Patrick County Virginia Cooperative Extension office will use this area for conducting classes to teach patrons how to prepare and preserve food from their gardens or local farmers markets.

The Reynolds Homestead will also use the demonstration table as a means of raising revenue to support the culinary program. In an intimate 12-seat arrangement, patrons will have an opportunity to observe a local chef preparing and serving them a delectable meal.

Entrepreneurs interested in starting a food-based business will have access to the commercial equipment as well as storage space for their supplies as they work to prototype a product and test its marketability. This provides an opportunity for individuals to establish their product in the market before investing in a production kitchen of their own.

Funds pledged and raised

Richard S. Reynolds Foundation
Virginia S. Reynolds Foundation $400,000
Lester Family Foundation $25,000
AEP Foundation $28,000
TOTAL $853,000

Preliminary budget

Construction $1,275,000
3rd-party testing allowance $7,500
Archaeologist consultant $12,000
Construction contingency (20%) $255,500
Renovations management fee (6.4%) $105,600
Permits & inspection fees $3,500
TOTAL $1,851,996
Major and his beloved companion dog Rob Roy Reynolds.

Richard Samuel “Major” Reynolds III died Sept. 18, 2023, having lived his life by an axiom of British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, who said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Mr. Reynolds was born Aug. 8, 1934, in New York City to Richard Samuel Reynolds Jr., chairman and president of Reynolds Metals Co., and Virginia Sargeant Reynolds. His nickname of “Major” came from his great-grandfather Maj. Abram David Reynolds. His grandparents were Richard Samuel Reynolds, founder of Reynolds Metals Co. and owner of Robertshaw Controls, and Julia Louise Reynolds. He was also predeceased by his brother, former Virginia Lt. Gov. Julian Sargeant Reynolds, who died in 1971, and his beloved companion dog, Rob Roy Reynolds, who died in 2020.

Mr. Reynolds was formerly vice president and a director of Robertshaw Controls, where he was responsible for mergers and acquisitions. He later became managing director of the Reynolds Trusts. In addition, he was president of the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation and along with his cousins, Randolph N. Reynolds, Glenn Reynolds Martin and Dorothy Reynolds Brotherton, worked to provide over $66 million in grants for arts, education, environment, health, and basic human needs. Mr. Reynolds also served as president of the Missionary Emergency Fund created by Major A.D. Reynolds.

For decades, Mr. Reynolds was an outspoken advocate for the civil rights movement and efforts to support diversity in employment, education, and in those who showed promise as candidates for local, state and federal office.

Please help us by making a donation to the Richard S. “Major” Reynolds Community Kitchen construction fund.

You may send a check payable to the Virginia Tech Foundation to:
Reynolds Homestead
ATTN: Terri Leviner
463 Homestead Lane
Critz, VA 24082

You may also donate online to the Reynolds Homestead Annual Fund. After entering your gift amount, please note that your gift is for the Major Reynolds Community Kitchen Fund.

If you have questions or prefer an alternative method of donating to the community kitchen project, please contact:
Julie Walters Steele, director of Reynolds Homestead

or Tracy Krauchen, director for Virginia Tech Foundation Relations

A group of people using shovels at a groundbreaking ceremony

Major’s last visit to the Reynolds Homestead in June 2022 included a groundbreaking ceremony for the community kitchen wing of the Community Engagement Center.

Pictured left to right: Kimble Reynolds Jr., Richard Alfonso Reynolds, Richard S. “Major” Reynolds III, Sally Ann Rogers, Julie Walters Steele, and Guru Ghosh.