Elizabeth Reese

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Elizabeth "Betty" Bahn Reese died Tuesday Jan. 23, 2007, in Little Rock, Ark.

She was born Nov. 9, 1917, to Emil L. and Viola E. Taylor Bahn in the house they built at 428 Themis Street in Cape Girardeau.

She descended from her father's German stock traced back to the 1500s and her mother's German and British stock -- some of the latter were in the U.S. by colonial times.

Her one sibling, Dr. E. Lawrence "Larry" Bahn Jr. was born when Betty was seven. (Dr. Bahn was professor of chemistry at Southeast Missouri State University for 25 years until his death in 1980.) Betty was educated at Southeast for two years. (Her mother graduated in the first four-year class of Southeast in 1909.) She then transferred to Northwestern University and obtained her bachelor of music education in 1939.

After a brief teaching career at Franklin School, Betty married Dr. William G. Reese at her parents' home May 31, 1942, and turned her attention to supporting her husband and starting a family. When Betty's husband was overseas in Europe during World War II, she stayed with his grandmother and taught school for a year in Logan, Utah.

In 1951 Betty and her family moved from Baltimore, Md., to Little Rock where she raised her children: Bill (born in St. Louis in 1943), Bob (born in Baltimore in 1946), and Mary (born in Little Rock in 1952). Betty's move to Little Rock was in conjunction with her husband's career as he developed the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Arkansas Medical School.

Although Betty's children were her proudest achievement, she was active in various civic, medical auxiliary, historical and genealogical societies. In 1991 she was regent of the Arkansas Society of the American Colonists and president of the Little Rock Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters.

She and her family were particularly proud of her work with the Women's Emergency Committee to Open Our Public Schools (1958-1963). Betty was an active member of Centenary United Methodist Church in Cape Girardeau and later at First Methodist Church in Little Rock.

Betty is survived by her three children and families: (1)William Reese and his wife Sudha of Portsmouth, R.I., and their two children, daughter Gita and her husband Rahul Sukthankar, and son John Reese; (2) Dr. Robert Reese and his wife Linda of Tucson, Ariz., and their two children and a grandchild, daughter Hilary and her husband Nathan Peters and their daughter Madeline, and son Colin Reese; and (3) Mary and her husband retired Army Lt. Col. Thomas Finley of St. Louis.

There will be a service at 11 a.m. Saturday at Ford and Sons Funeral Home, 1001 N. Mount Auburn Road, with the Rev. Jeff Long officiating.

Visitation will be at 1000 N. Henderson soon after.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, P.0. Box 8462, Chicago, Ill., 60680-8462.

Because of Betty's interest in genealogy, any comments or questions should be directed by letter to her son Robert through Ford and Sons Funeral Home.