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Jessica Reed

December 6, 1922 March 31, 2017
Jessica Reed
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Obituary for Jessica Reed

Jessica (Betsy) Reed was born in Chicago on December 6, 1922, to Claire Burleigh Reed and S. Benton Reed, both professional artists. Continuing in this artistic tradition, Jessica went on to become an accomplished pianist, organist, choir director, harpist, music and piano teacher, voice coach, calligrapher, and paper sculptor. She also became an airplane pilot!

Jessica was a vocal coach and accompanist for many professional singers including William Conroy, Mark Love, Giorgio Tozzi, Robert Maluta, Alger Brazis, and the Meister Singers quartet, with whom she toured around the country. She also performed in concert at Orchestra Hall, the Auditorium Theatre, the Civic Opera House, Grant Park, and other venues in ten states and was staff accompanist at the Rosa Raisa-Giacometti Rimini Studio for opera singers.

As organist and director at Saint Catherine of Siena Church in Oak Park from 1950 through 1970, she conducted the liturgical choir of men and boys. Jessica also taught music appreciation at the parish grade school. She later became the organist and director of the mixed choir at the Oak Park Temple.

Her calligraphy works were featured in a juried exhibit at the Newberry Library in Chicago and her paper sculptures have been on display at the Mount Prospect Library.

Her professional memberships include the American Federation of Musicians, the American Guild of Organists, the National Guild of Piano Teachers, the MacDowell Artists Association, the Women's League of the Art Institute, the Society of Illuminators, the Chicago Calligraphy Collective, the National Restaurant Association, and the Ninety-Nine organization of women pilots.

Jessica passed away on March 31, 2017. She is survived by her daughters, Valerie Gager (David, d.), Linda Porter (Michael), and Maura Simms (Ricky, d.); her grandchildren, Dawn and Marc DeMuro; her great-grandson, Panos Anastasiou; and her brother, Robin Reed; as well as many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by former husband William Conroy; brother Alan Reed; and her parents.

A memorial visitation will be held Saturday, April 22 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home.

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Previous Events

Memorial Visitation




12:30 PM 4/22/2017 12:30:00 PM - 2:30 PM 4/22/2017 2:30:00 PM
Drechsler Brown & Williams Funeral Home

203 South Marion Street
Oak Park, IL 60302

Drechsler Brown & Williams Funeral Home
203 South Marion Street Oak Park 60302 IL
United States

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