TRENTON — Phyllis Clayton Rees, much loved wife of Peter Rees and mother of Amy Rees and Jenny Rees, died peacefully Oct. 8, 2012, at home with her family. She was born in Oakland, Calif., in 1926.
She led an amazing adventuresome life, living in France and traveling around Europe for years as a young woman, 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 supported him with enthusiasm in everything he wanted to do. They had met while hiking, and they spent their honeymoon in Baxter Park. 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 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, 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. 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 on intimate scenes of nature in Acadia National Park.
Phyllis is survived by Peter, Amy and Jenny; her grandchildren, Michelle and John; and her new great-grandson, Desmond; her sons-in-law, Rob 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.