Great State: Midwest City Tax Firm Is Also a Repository for City History

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MIDWEST CITY, OKLAHOMA -- Studying early returns, it's easy for Eddie and Sean Reed to become lost in their 70-plus years of history in government tax forms.

"It's where we came from," says Eddie. "1943 is the oldest return we have that's original," says Eddie's son Sean.

Some of their earliest tax papers are in frames now but they say old papers still turn up in forgotten corners of what was once the Yarbro Grocery, then a pet store, and then the Reed Tax Service.

Eddie says, "I was telling Sean this morning that the old short form was just a card. It was a post card."

Eddie's father Marion came home from WWII missing an eye.

He wasn't sure what he'd do but his father worked part-time for the IRS. Marion got a job at the Douglas plant in Midwest City (later named Tinker AFB).

He and his wife started preparing customers' tax returns from home.

Eddie says, "basically working of their kitchen table."

It wasn't until 1955 that the Reeds opened their business in a strip mall off Air Depot Blvd. after the pet shop closed.

Eddie grew up in the office and then came to work here.

Sean did the same.

"My first memory is of my grandfather smoking a cigar in that desk," says Sean pointing to the piece of furniture his own father sits behind now.

He adds, "My office is the old grocery store meat locker."

They own the oldest business in Midwest City now.

Their small offices are full of that history too.

Hanging on the walls are photographs of what Midwest City used to look like.

The family also has memorabilia from Eddie's and Marion's years as city councilmen and mayor.

As professionals 3 generations of Reeds have pored over countless records, gone to school for thousands of hours each to learn the numbers of tax law.

But neither can recall a single return.

What they remember are the people who brought them in.

Eddie says, "Obviously they're customers, but they're also friends."

Sean echoes, "If it was just about the numbers the clients wouldn't really matter. To me, the numbers are secondary."

It's a busy time of year for Eddie and Sean.

The waiting room is full.

But if you feel like talking a little history they'll linger, even now, to discuss friends they remember instead of the deductions they've long since forgotten.

Eddie spends part of the year now traveling.

Sean and his staff are still in the office every working day.


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