Richard ("Dick") Eldean Reece passed away on Aug. 7, 2011 at the age of 82. He thanks everyone for helping to make his life a stimulating journey and learning experience.
He had been a resident of Sanibel for more than a decade. Here, he pursued his lifelong love of nature, which he said had become almost a religion to him. Some of his favorite times were spent as a volunteer for the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. He loved being out on the paths and drives of the preserve, counting birds and also sharing his knowledge with guests in the nature center.
He was an avid reader and a regular patron of the Sanibel Public Library, which allowed him to follow his favorite contemporary authors as well as pursue his longtime interest in Carl Sandburg and Ernest Hemingway.
Dick was enthusiastic about art and photography and auto racing, but was perhaps best known to his friends and family as an advocate for the Civil Rights and peace movements.
His avocation, and sometimes full time job, was as a professional jazz drummer. Dick enjoyed playing bebop, Dixieland and straight-ahead jazz and the music of artists such as Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. He also loved the folk music of Woodie Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Joan Baez.
He enjoyed a long and rewarding professional career in special education and speech development in St. Louis, Eugene, Ore. and Minneapolis, Minn.
Staff and volunteers of the J.N. "Ding" Darling
National Wildlife Refuge mourn loss of Reece
The "refuge family" will miss Richard (Dick) Reece, who passed away on Aug. 7, 2011. He began volunteering at the Refuge on Nov. 10, 2001 and acquired over 2,000 hours during his 10-year tenure. Dick assisted visitors at the front information desk in the Education Center. He also assisted them on Wildlife Drive with bird, plant, mammal identification and educated about the importance of the estuarine mangrove environment. His experience in education greatly enhanced his abilities to work with adults and children at the refuge.
We are thankful for all the hours of devotion that he spent helping us work towards the conservation of wildlife and the habitat needed for its survival. With the help of caring individuals like Dick, we are able to work towards our goal to protect and preserve this natural area for this and future generations to enjoy.
Richard was born May 30, 1929 to Carl Henry Reece and Bertha (Bock) Reece in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he spent his childhood. He pursued a degree in education at the University of Iowa and later at Iowa State Teachers College (now U.N.I.). While in college, he met and soon married a fellow Iowan, Agnes Roisen. They had three children together, Randolph William, Deborah Jeanne and Richard Martin Reece.
In 1967, Richard and Agnes divorced, and he later married his life partner, JoAnn (Golle). Richard and JoAnn enjoyed 43 years together as partners and best friends.
Dick is survived by his wife JoAnn, brother Don Reece (wife MaryRae), sister Ellen Hynes (husband Jim), son Randy Reece, daughter Debbie Kleinow (husband Ed), son Rick Reece (wife Carol), grandson Richard Allen Reece, granddaughters Sarah Reece-Stremtan (husband Dacian), Mary Mundal (husband Tom), and Cara Reece, and grandson Jonathan Kleinow (wife Natalie), along with eight great-grandchildren, with two more on the way.
A life celebration service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10 at All Faiths Unitarian Congregation, 2756 McGregor Blvd. in Fort Myers.