Rebecca Reese, 73, of Verona, died peacefully at Mountainside Hospital on Thursday, February 4th, after a short illness.
A native of Verona, Becky also lived in Montclair for many years. She graduated from Verona High School in 1965, and from Upsala College in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.
Upon graduation, in partnership with her sister, Nancy R. Minor, Becky opened the Potpourri custom needlepoint boutique, on "Artists' Row", Midland Avenue, in Montclair. As artist-in-residence, Becky transformed blank needlepoint kits into the likenesses of photos, submitted by customers, working magic with her palette of acrylic paints. The business flourished, and Becky's talents kept pace with popular demand.
An accomplished charcoal artist, Becky’s portfolio of portraits featured leading contemporary rock stars, including the Beatles. (She was present at the first Beatles concert in America, at Radio City Music Hall.)
Becky transitioned to a lifelong career in mortgage lending, at institutions including Countrywide and Bank of America.
Being but a half-generation older than her niece and nephews, Becky was their teenage "big sister" and was an enriching presence in their lives. She contributed her design talents to local elementary school celebratory events, enlivening them with hip motifs such as Peter Max, Sergeant Pepper, and the Yellow Submarine.
Becky held lifelong friendships, enjoying travel with many of them across the U.S. and into Canada. She was a lifelong animal rights advocate, rescuing numerous pets over the years and supporting charities to that cause.
Becky is survived by her niece and nephews, who all reside locally, and their children. She was predeceased by parents Howard B. "Bud" Reese and Arlene Reese, and sister Nancy Reese Minor. A private interment is scheduled at Rosedale Cemetery in Orange, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made in her honor to the animal welfare charity of your choosing.