Anne B Reiff (Anna Bess Buchanan), 92, of DuBois died peacefully at her home on Monday, February 28, 2022, under the care of the Penn Highlands Hospice.
She was born in Beechwoods, Jefferson County, PA on February 22, 1930, the daughter of Don Vitelle Buchanan and Margaret Louisa (Smith) Buchanan.
Anne graduated from DuBois High School in 1948 and from Penn State University in 1952 with honors with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and minor in Music. She later obtained a Master’s degree in Education in 1957.
She taught in Clearfield, PA for 10 years, first at the Leonard Grade School and later as head teacher at the Third Ward School. She also served as a substitute teacher in the Brockway Area Schools for many years. Her passion for teaching continued throughout her life, whether it be in the classroom or leading sing-a-longs at church or community gatherings where she skillfully engaged youth and adults alike. Throughout her lifetime, she sought out opportunities to encourage people in their pursuits of music, art, education, or whatever endeavors they chose.
Anne was grounded in her faith and her calling was to share her musical talents. At the age of 5, she began piano lessons with her Aunt Besse Smith, and then began teaching herself to play the organ at the Beechwoods Presbyterian Church. Later she studied piano and organ with teachers in Dubois and at Penn State. While living in Clearfield she served as choir director for the Clearfield Presbyterian Church for 9 years.
After her marriage in 1962 to the late Richard Hayes “Dick” Reiff, she moved back to Beechwoods. Shortly thereafter she began her 46-year tenure as organist at the First United Presbyterian Church of DuBois where she also served as an elder, deacon and member of the Presbyterian Women’s Association.
Anne believed that the organ made a significant contribution to every service and often expressed “I just enjoy playing.” She also valued getting to know many people through music, including ministers, choir directors, choir members, guest musicians and congregants. Anne’s organ and piano playing graced hundreds of weddings, funerals, concerts, and social gatherings. Anne’s remarkable musical talents included her ability to sight read any piece of music laid before her and her skill for playing by ear any tune you could name or hum.
Anne had an extraordinary knack for connecting with others and making them feel special. Wherever she went, whether a trip to the grocery store, getting lab work done, or eating out, she made a point of asking those she met about how they were doing and their families. She was genuinely caring and the people she connected with could feel that.
Anne was also community minded as an active member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), forming many friendships that lasted a lifetime. She helped lead a monthly book group that began as part of AAUW and later included other women she met over the years. She was also a stalwart member of the DuBois Community Concert Board. At her 90th birthday celebration in 2020, with more than 200 attendees, Anne was the only one who knew every person, representing the broad array of relationships formed throughout her life.
She was adventurous and at times fearless, as exemplified by her travels with her husband Dick around the country in their sometimes-cantankerous antique Nashes. She was also a tremendous correspondent with family and friends, who will miss Anne's aptly personalized cards, sent for all occasions.
What Anne held most dear throughout her life was her family – both her immediate family and a very large extended one. Words can’t convey the pride and joy she experienced whenever she had the opportunity to spend time with her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and other relatives. Family holiday gatherings with her husband, parents, brother and sister-in-law and their large family, son and daughter-in-law and grandchildren, and daughter and her partner were the highlights of her year, as were celebrations of her loved ones’ many significant life events including graduations, marriages, anniversaries, births, and other accomplishments.
She was predeceased by her parents, her husband, her brother, Norman Don Buchanan, and sister-in-law, Linda Lee (Andrew) Buchanan. She is survived by her children: Eric Buchanan Reiff and daughter-in-law, Jami Rubin, of Ghent, NY and their children Daniel Phillip Rubin Reiff and Hannah Louise Rubin Reiff of New York, NY, and her daughter Margaret Hayes Reiff and her partner, Naomi E Braine, of Brooklyn and Kingston NY; her 5 nieces and 5 nephews: Molly Buchanan (Dave Atkins), Joy (Tucker) Paterson, and Jill Buchanan (Scot Paterson) all of Woodward, PA, Andy (Kay ) Buchanan of Lancaster, PA and Lee Ann Buchanan of Denver, CO; her 9 great nieces and 8 great nephews: Zachary (Kristen) Buchanan, Jesse (Allison) Mellon, Celana Mellon, Lydia Paterson (Matt Schell), Jeremiah Paterson (Laura Nelson), Miles Paterson (Natalia Galan), Hunter Remer, Shona Paterson, Corina Remer, Willa Paterson (Alex Sims), and Wesley Stover; and her 2 great great nieces and 3 great great nephews: Jett Mellon, Zoë and Maya Buchanan, and Micah and Morgan Paterson; 5 first cousins Lee (Jane) Smith, Mary Jane (Jack) Bleil and Jean Whitsett; as well as numerous other beloved members of her extended family, particularly Susan Carlson and her “adopted” family of Thomas and Lillian Smith and their children and grandchildren.
A Celebration of Anne’s life was held on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. The service was recorded and is available for viewing on her church’s Facebook page at: https://fb.watch/bydBec_e4k/.
At Anne’s request donations can be made in her memory to the fund to maintain the pipe organ that she helped raise the funds to purchase and have installed in 1981. Please send donations to: First United Presbyterian Church Organ Fund, 43 W Scribner Ave., DuBois, PA 15801.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Leo Nedza Funeral Home of DuBois. Online condolences can be made at www.nedzafamilyfuneralhomes.com
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