Ann Reardon

Ann Reardon, who devoted her life to encouraging art, music, food, and people, died in her home Aug. 10.

She chose joy over pain, imagination over boredom, and love over fear.

One of her goals was to develop art education for everybody. More than a decade ago, she chaired the visual arts committee at Orcas Center. During the last three years, she headed the senior visual arts committee at the Orcas Senior Center.

During this latter time, she presented memorable looks at the body of work of many local artists, among them Salim Bailey, Caroline Buchanan, Michele DeLong. Joe Floren, Carol Gill, Andrea Hendrick, Dan Kenney, Alice Logan, Louellen McCoy, Bob Otis, Bill Trogdon, Liz Waterman, and, at the urging of several who knew the quality of her work, Ann Reardon herself.

With her own exhibit, she refused to put captions on her work. “I want people to think about a painting,” she said.

New track lighting in the Lundeen Room, for which she had advocated, was placed in her honor by the Orcas Photographers Group last year.

Born Ann Marie Tanous Oct. 8, 1932 in Hettinger, North Dakota, she moved with her family to Carmel, Calif. at the age of two. She attended San Francisco College for Women, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History in 1951 and apprenticed with artists during several years of graduate work that included study with the head of the art department at the University of Austria in Vienna.

She married Don Reardon in 1952. He was with the Atomic Energy Commission and its successor, the Department of Energy. For several years, she and friends owned and managed an art gallery in Malibu, Calif. that specialized in contemporary art.

They spent two years in Vienna while he was doing a study on nuclear proliferation. Because she was an accomplished pianist, Vienna provided a time and place she especially enjoyed. They spent the next two and a half years traveling and tenting around Europe in a van. Altogether, they visited some 24 countries before moving to Orcas in 1985.

With Frederica Kundig, she started the Women’s Study Group, about 15 years ago, in which members reviewed books and studied national and international issues regularly.

“She was wonderful at entertaining people from all over the world,” recalls her husband.

Another friend, Heidi Lindberg, noted, “She was always practical, always upbeat, and a magnificent cook. She never made anything seem like a chore. If we were complaining about something, she’d say, ‘That’s the way it is,’ and laugh.”

She leaves her husband, Don; two daughters, Roslyn O’Reardon, RN, of Talent, Ore., and Karen Pritchard, an artist who lives with her husband in Rancho de Taos, New Mexico; and a granddaughter, Veda, a son, David, preceded her in death.

A memorial service will be held at the Orcas Senior Center at 4p.m. Friday, Aug. 19. Her ashes will be scattered near Parker’s Reef.