Homer Frederick Reas, husband of Nancy Reas, died on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at the age of seventy-seven due to complications of dementia and diabetes. He had been living at Ashley Gardens, a dementia and Alzheimer’s facility in Mount Vernon for about a month and a half.
After twenty-eight years of marriage, in June 2011 Fred and Nancy moved from Altadena, California to Orcas Island, where they had regularly visited Nancy’s father Bill Urschel and step-mother Barbara during the previous twenty-five years. Fred and Nancy fell in love with Orcas, as everyone does, and spent four years planning their move before actually doing so.
Fred was born in Los Angeles in 1939 and graduated from Hollywood High School, Los Angeles City College, and California State University Los Angeles. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1957 to 1959 and afterward in the Naval Reserves. Fred earned a B.A. in Philosophy in 1966, a B.A. in Psychology in 1979, and a Master of Psychology degree in 1981. He was licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 1985. He worked as a social worker for Los Angeles County and later as a family therapist at Phoenix House, a rehabilitation facility for adolescents with substance abuse problems. In 2003 Fred retired and then waited patiently for Nancy to retire in 2010 so that they could fulfill their dream of moving to Orcas.
Probably only a few people on Orcas knew Fred since his illness began to increase significantly in 2013. However, those who did knew him as a gentle and honest soul with a witty sense of humor and twinkly-eyed smile. Woodworking, hiking, being out in nature, listening to classical music and Nancy reading to him brought him great enjoyment.
In addition to Nancy, Fred is survived by their goddaughter Erica Loewe of Los Angeles, sister and brother-in-law Susan and Stephen Winters of Pomona, California, sister-in-law Sandra Greasley of Lewisville, Texas, step-sister-in-law Holaday Mason of Venice, California, and numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews in California, Texas, and Colorado.
I want to thank the many people of Orcas who helped care for Fred in the past few years, including Hearts and Hands volunteers Elizabeth Star and Leif, caregivers Sue Rankin, Marie Nitz, Susan Brandford, Eirena Birkenfeld, Deb Lloyd, and Diane Kellerbatter, as well as neighbors in View Haven who gave and continue to give such wonderful support and love to us. Orcas is paradise not only because of its natural beauty, also because of the wonderful community we have. We are all blessed to live here. A private gathering will be held to celebrate and honor Fred.