Lake City, Michigan- Reba Reynolds, age 96, passed away peacefully and surrounded by her family on October 23 at Maple Ridge Living Center, where she has resided for the last four and a half years. Reba Murna Nanna was born to Murl and Virgie (Hart) Mitchell on October 13, 1923 in Carlinville, Illinois. Reba led an atypical life for a women of her time. She grew up on a farm during the depression, always dreaming of when she could make her way in the world. She was an avid learner and skipping two grades, graduated from high S\school at the age of 16, only to find that she was not eligible for employment at that age. She went back to high school where they allowed her to take additional elective classes until she was able to become employed as a telephone operator during the war where she worked until she had saved enough money to move to Chicago where she entered the Evanston Hospital School of nursing, graduating in the class of 1949. She became licensed as a Registered Nurse in Michigan in January 1950.
She married Boyd Russell Reynolds in Lake City on January 1, 1950 where she became immersed in helping the Reynolds family run the Missaukee Resort which they had established after the war. She also worked part time at Mercy Hospital when her busy schedule as the mother of four young children would allow. In 1959 she was hired as the Missaukee County Health Nurse which started her long and memorable career as a Public Health Nurse. She worked for the Health Department for twenty-six years, retiring in 1986. When considered in the context of today’s world her life might seem unremarkable, but in 1959 it was not common for women to not only seek out but to embrace full time employment outside the home. She was definitely unique in her desire and ability to dedicate herself to both a fulfilling professional career as well as to her family. As busy as she was at the health department, her Lake City office allowed her to still manage to be in the audience for every school activity, never missing a beat. As the county health nurse she was infamously known as the “shot lady” to every Missaukee County elementary student as she was a constant presence during the school immunization clinics.
Her nursing role endeared her to everyone she met and she earned the respect of all who had the privilege to know her. She was a lifelong learner, avid reader and student of a wide variety of topics. She was always learning something new to share with others. During her nursing career she was an active member of the District Nurses Association as well as the Michigan Heart Association, serving as the President of the Wexford Heart Center for a period of time. Her one regret was that she was not able to earn her Bachelor’s degree in nursing due to lack of access to a program during her career. She was a strong advocate of education as the path to success. After her retirement she led a full and active life of travel and golf with her friends and family as well as an ever present devotion to her grandchildren.
Reba was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Boyd in 1981; two sisters and their spouses: Bula (James) Cortino and Brenda Fisher (John) Thomas as well as her son in law, Jerry Bigham, sister in law Mary Ellen Mitchell, brother in law Bruce Reynolds and sister in law Choice Skoglund. She is survived by her sister Ruth Weatherford, her brother Shirley Mitchell, a brother in law Bernie Thomas and sister in law Dorothy Reynolds. She also leaves her four children: Julie (Richard) Coon, Jeffrey (Maria) Reynolds, Jill Reynolds and Jane Bigham. In addition she leaves her nine beloved grandchildren: Andrew Reyman, Rachel (Nick) Dasek, Daniel (Rebecca) Coon, Nicholas Reyman, Jason Raden, Katherine (Joshua) LaMay, Gina (Brendan) Wheeler, Mitchell (Lauren) Reynolds and Lindsey (Ryan) Boyle. She was also blessed with nine great grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held to celebrate her remarkable life on Saturday, October 26 at 3 pm at the United Methodist Church in Lake City. The family will receive visitors prior to the service from 1-3 pm at the church. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions may be made to the Lake City United Methodist Church or to the Missaukee Commission on Aging.
The family is being served by Young- Holdship Funeral Home.
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