Phyllis Clayton Rees

TRENTON — Phyllis Clayton Rees, much loved wife of Peter Rees and mother of Amy Rees and Jenny Rees, died peacefully at home with her family on Oct. 8, 2012. She was born in Oakland California in 1926.

She led an amazing adventuresome life, starting when as a young woman she lived in France and traveled around Europe for years, while supporting herself as an artist. She married Peter in 1961, and they were best friends as well as lovers for over 50 years. She encouraged him with enthusiasm in everything he wanted to do. They had met while hiking, and they spent their honeymoon in Baxter Park in Maine. They moved to Nigeria with baby Amy in 1964. Camping out in animal parks in East Africa, learning Yoruba, and driving north over the Sahara and to Norway were among her African adventures. Before her marriage she attended the Skowhegan School of Art, and obtained her master’s degree in art from Boston University. She was an accomplished pianist before arthritis harmed her fingers. A lover of music, hiking, sailing, art, nature, chocolate, friends and family, Phyllis led a full life despite increasing challenges of rheumatoid arthritis and other disabling conditions. Up to the end her unwavering optimism and ability to cope without complaint were inspiring to everyone who knew her. Hugely generous, Phyllis was also a fine cook, gardener, cat-lover and friend to many. She is known locally for her beautiful art work. Her paintings of natural scenes have been shown in several local galleries, and the National Park Service published a book of her paintings of intimate scenes of nature in Acadia National Park. Her goal was not to just make paintings, but to encourage people, especially young people, to pay attention to the beauties of nature, and to love what they saw. More of her work can be seen at

Phyllis is survived by Peter, Amy and Jenny; her grandchildren, Michelle and John; and her new great-grandson Desmond; her sons-in-law, Robert Lash and William Tefft, step-granddaughters, Miranda and Mackenzie; and her brother Fred Clayton in California.

No service is planned. Gifts in her name may be made to Friends of Acadia.

Know when to pay your respects.