Date of Death: April 27, 2020
A private interment will be held at Riverside Cemetery in Three Rivers. The family plans to host a memorial service at the Fulton Christian Church in Fulton, Michigan, later this year or next, whenever it is safe to do so.
Diane Kay Reece, age 80 of Kalamazoo, died Monday, April 27, 2020, at Friendship Village, where she had resided since September 2018. She was born and raised on the family farm in Fulton, Michigan, on September 4, 1939, the daughter of Forrest and Ruth (Harrison) Snyder. Diane was a 1958 graduate of Vicksburg High School. On June 21, 1959, she married Ron Reece, whom she had known since they attended kindergarten together in Fulton. He preceded her in death on October 18, 2006. Before having children, Diane worked at the Lee Paper Mill while Ron attended Western Michigan University and then was a stay-at-home mother until her kids were older, after which she worked briefly at Three Rivers Savings and Loan. She then worked for 21 years at Armstrong International in Three Rivers, primarily in the office and sales department. Ron and Diane wintered in Florida at their Lake Wales home from 1996 to 2006, and she continued to winter there for several years after his death. They were members of the Three Rivers United Methodist Church for many years. Diane loved gardening and volunteered at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales during Florida winters and at the Three Rivers Auxiliary Garden Club while in Michigan, in addition to numerous church- and community-related organizations. She and Ron also chaired the Three Rivers Hospital Lights of Love fundraiser for 16 years.
Diane is survived by her three children, Jeff (Katie) Reece of Ann Arbor, Tammy Patterson of Portage, and Jenny (Bryan) Taffee of Portage; five grandchildren, Morgan (Ryan) Szumski of Kalamazoo, Mackenzie (Nam) Le of Portage, and Mallory (Greg) Waddell of Kalamazoo, Jordan Taffee of Portage, and Carson Taffee of Portage; three great grandchildren, Carter and Collins Szumski, and Indie Le; two sisters, Joyce Francisco of East Naples, Florida, and Vera (Chuck) Walker of Portage; five brothers-in-law, Gordon Mitchell of Fulton, Richard Portinga of Portage, Tom (Sandy) Reece of Chicago, John (Lori) Reece of Ann Arbor, and Dave (Kathy) Reece of Portage; sister-in-law, Janet Reece of Chicago; and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to her husband and parents, Diane was preceded in death by her father- and mother-in-law, Paul & Beulah Reece; brothers and sisters-in-law, Richard and Iva Snyder, Stewart and Maxine Snyder, Leslie and Rowene Snyder; brother Lee Snyder; sister Mildred (nee Snyder) Mitchell; sisters and brothers-in-law Alice (nee Snyder) and Dana Fry, Peggy (nee Snyder) Hollenbeck-Portinga and Gary Hollenbeck; and brothers-in-law, Sam Francisco and Jack Reece.
Memorials are suggested to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan (hospiceswmi.org) or Bok Tower Gardens (boktowergardens.org). Diane’s family would like to encourage anybody with a fond memory or story of her to post on condolence link below.
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I was Diane’s neighbor and close friend at the age of 9 (she was 11). Ron and Diane would pick me up and take me to church when I couldn’t find another ride and my mother wasn’t able to take me. We all sang in the choir in church; I played piano for Sunday School when Mrs. Burke wasn’t able to be there, and ultimately taught the Kindergarten classes in our church so I spent much time with both the Reece family as well as the Snyder family who had a farm with a common fence-line to my parent’s farm in Fulton.
I knew Diane had been ill for about the same time I was also ailing and undergoing surgeries; nursing homes – rehab and therapy, just as she and I kept in touch and both wishing each other well and our friendship of 59 years was always very important and special to me.
The strength of both the Reece family and the Snyder family was something to behold – their love for the world; people, nature, and all with such goodness in their hearts gave those who knew all of them, a ‘gift of love’ that truly was sincere and not as common as I’d like to think so all of them ‘radiated’ with a special smile; bright eyes – a sincere interest in each and every person they knew, so all of them were (and are) an ‘energy force’. I am glad to know Diane has now returned to Ron – someone she adored her entire life, and I know it was hard on her when he left her much sooner than any of us thought would happen when his health failed him. Love to all the children; the family – they are a world unto themselves, and if all were like Diane and the rest of her family and in-laws we’d never have to read a ‘bad bit of news’ in any newspaper or hear anything but good news when we tuned into the nightly TV news. My love is with them – having lost my husband this past year, I can now only sign my name. Diane (Rambow) Stevens.
Diane was a cherished volunteer at Bok Tower Gardens. Her love for the Gardens shone through everything she gave to support our work. We are so grateful for the gifts you offer in her memory. Diane truly did “make the world a bit better”, as Edward Bok’s grandmother asked him to do, with her presence, and we honor her passing and send our support to everyone who knew her in this time.
Dear Jeff, Tammy and Jenny,
Sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. We knew your mother and father for many years. I know my parents, Carroll and Elaine Haas, especially enjoyed their friendship and the four of them spent many hours together over the years. Your mom and dad’s community involvement made it a better place. You are in our thoughts.
Jim and Bev Haas
Dear Jenny, Tammy, and Jenny,
It was such a pleasure working with your mom in Club of Little Gardens of which she was past president. Besides our Bowman Park and cemetery gardens, she did some extra tending at the Methodist Church and Scidmore Park. You could tell she really cared about the projects we did and the people she worked with.
I’m sure her loss leaves a big hold in your heart.
As I told you when I saw you in February, your mom was a classy lady and she shared some great words with me that I won’t forget. I am so sorry for your loss. May she rest in peace.
To Tammy and Jenny and all the family,
My heartfelt sympathy for you as you mourn the loss of your mother. I only had the opportunity to meet
her once but I know that she was a wonderful mom from everything shared by her loving daughters.
You are in my thoughts now and I know you will take good care of each other as you live now with what I am sure are beautiful memories.
Ron and Diane were the cornerstones of our community. Ron hired me to teach in Three Rivers. We had a relationship with both of them for many years. He loved a good joke, sometimes he should have cleared it with Diane before he told it. I am sure they both in heaven, he telling jokes and she. Smiling that sweet smile. They both loved their children and extended family .In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Death ends a life: Not a relationship.”
My sincere sympathy goes out to Diane’s family. We worked together at Armstrong and I always enjoyed chatting with her about lots of different things. Armstrong has monthly retiree get-togethers and she came to them whenever she could. It was always nice to catch up with her there. She told me about being a volunteer at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida. That is a lovely place and I could tell how much she enjoyed helping there. Diane was a very special person and will be missed.
Give are best to the family -Ron and Diane were special people in Three Rivers the children should be proud. Love and God Bless to the family from the Galinets Margaret and Dave
I was very sorry to hear about Mrs. Reece’s passing. I know she and her husband Ron were very committed to the Three Rivers school system. I went to school with her daughter Jenny and son-in-law, Bryan. From the Kline family we are so sorry for your families loss.
Although I did not know Diane, I can appreciate her drive and determination to the end of her days here on Earth. She raised her children with the same drive and toughness and that is something that any mom could be proud of.
My sincere and heartfelt condolences to the Family. As High School Principal, I was privileged to have Ron & Diane’s Children in School. I was also grateful that Ron chose me to succeed Edmund Blank as Principal for sixteen (16) wonderful years. I have nothing but wonderful memories of this special family and my nearly 30 years as Teacher, Assistant Principal, and Principal. May God Bless Ron & Diane for their goodness, and may he continue to bless their three children, as well as all members of the extended Reece family. Rest in Peace, Diane; Rest in Peace! Sincerely, Mr. “J.” Former – Principal of Three Rivers High School
Thanks for the kind words. I would love to chat over the phone sometime to catch up, preferably after this week. We are conducting a private graveside service tomorrow (May 7) afternoon. I have included my contact info.
I am deeply saddened to hear of Diane’s passing.
Diane worked with my mother Vicky Boughton at Armstrong International and became great friends with my parents even after my mother passed my father would go visit with Diane not only at the holiday seasons.
In fact I have a wonderful picture of the two of them in front of a Christmas tree where Diane resided.
Thoughts and prayers for all the families 🙏
With my deepest
Gail Boughton Brady
I went To High School with Diane (and Ron) , and later lived close to them at Sourh Shore park in Florida. My Wife Diana and I enjoyed many fun times with Diane at South Shore Park in her later years and kept in touch after she moved back to Michigan. We will miss her cheerful demeanor and our fun times together
It really wasn’t a surprise to read of Diane’s passing but it is sad to know that such a friendly and artistically talented lady is no longer with us. I met Diane at the Portage Senior Center where we worked together creating greeting cards for sale. I last saw her at Friendship Village where she was entertaining visiting friends with her cheerful chatter. She was a lovely person and it was always a pleasure to be in her presence. My condolences to her family.
I’ve known Diane for most of my life (Ron was my childhood school superintendent) and she was always a joy to work with and talk to at Armstrong. We will miss her at Armstrong ladies & retiree events and I send my sympathies to her family. RIP Diane!
I have a lot of fond memories of spending time with Diane over many years. I will miss her smile and friendliness. She was full of enthusiasm and always made me feel like she was happy to see me. Although I had not seen her at a tailgate at Jeff’s for awhile now, I would still find myself looking for her and missing her. I’m glad she is resting in peace now after a life well lived and loved.
Diane and Ron were 2 great people and real fun aunt and uncle to be around! Saw them quite a bit for such a big family and had many good times with them at their lake house as well as golf functions and get togethers. We also enjoyed their visits to Naples where they often stayed with my parents. Diane will be missed greatly by me and my family. May she Rest In Peace. Kim Francisco and family.
Aunt Diane was a wonderful lady with great love in her heart. She was always so thoughtful. She always knew when our birthdays were and either called or found us a special something to celebrate. I enjoyed spending summers on Fisher Lake with her the most!
Growing up in the Snyder family was the best. We had so many aunts, uncles and cousins. I remember lots of trips up north. A huge caravan of campers and kids. I remember walking T Falls with Ron, Diane, kids and lots of other family and the Reece 4th member, Rusty. We walked that trail before it was a trail and Jenny was just a little thing. Ron had to carry her on his shoulders for most of it. Lots of campfires and family shared dinners. Ron always so happy and Diane so sweet and loving. I wish the whole world could have the childhood experience our parents gave us.
I’m sorry Jenny, Tammy and Jeff for your loss. Especially at a time when you can only get virtual hugs from everyone. However, I bet the hugs and love have not stopped as all our loved ones are together once again. What a big, happy, loud welcome your mom received. You can almost hear the roar.
Both Ron and Diane were special people in this community. They will be fondly remembered by many of us who knew them and by their wonderful family. Three Rivers was blessed to have them here, and it’s sad that they didn’t have more time to enjoy their retirements. They will be missed. ❤️
I worked with Diane when I lived in Three Rivers, so sorry for your loss