Father Bede Reynolds Dies; Oilman Became Priest, Teacher and Author

From A Times Staff Writer

Father Bede Reynolds, a pioneering Southern California oilman who gave up his wealth to join the priesthood and teach, has died in Canada after a long illness. He was 97.

Father Reynolds, formerly Kenyon L. Reynolds of Pasadena, built one of the first gasoline cracking plants in California in the early 1900s as general manager of Los Angeles-based Pacific Gasoline Co., which later was bought by Standard Oil Co.

He retired early and comfortably, but returned to the oil business to serve as the U.S. government’s West Coast petroleum coordinator during World War II.

After his wife, Patricia, died in 1945, he donated much of his wealth to the Roman Catholic Church and entered the Benedictine order of the priesthood.


After his ordination in 1951, Father Reynolds taught theology and English at Westminster Abbey, east of Vancouver. He also wrote several books, including his autobiography, “Rebel from Riches.”

Reynolds, who died Dec. 19 at the abbey, was the youngest of seven children. He had no children of is own and no immediate family members survive him.

Services were held at the abbey.