Obituary | Marn Reich: 1937 ~ 2020

Marn Reich
Marion “Marn” Reich of Three Rivers, Calif., died of cancer Sunday, June 28, 2020, at Comfort Care, Kaweah Delta Hospital in Visalia. She was 83.
Because of coronavirus and the no-visitor policy, friends and family had to depend on the medical staff to keep them informed. Marn Reich

We are grateful for the care they gave her. —Family and friends of Marn Reich

Born in the Bronx on March 12, 1937, raised in Detroit, Mich., Marion Reich did not think she was creative. Her father designed jewelry in his business, thus creativity was not completely foreign to her.
Paint by numbers was boring. Acrylics too flat so she added a papier-mâché face. This was her first taste of three-dimensional art.
At 30-something Marion took up needlepoint. She designed her own pieces — a view of Tomales Bay from her Synanon office window and a copy of Picasso’s Guernaca. Marn Reich
Marion moved to California to live in Synanon for the next 20 years and worked in the law department. Synanon attracted her because the community helped people overcome abuses. She felt useful. In her 40s, Marion, with a group of Synanon artists, hired an art teacher who projected scenes on the wall for students to copy. 
When Marion left Synanon in her 50s, she changed her name to Marn, a shorter, snappier name, just like she was. She took an art appreciation class taught by Mona Selph, Three Rivers artist. In Mark Alstrand’s ceramics class Marn fell in love with clay.
“I teased Mr. Alstrand of being secretive,” she said. “He made the process of working in clay look easy.” It was not. But the more complicated, the better.
The final exam consisted of making a teapot; an object that is hollow, leak free, pours, and has a handle that stays attached. The assignment excited Marn. Marn Reich

Challenges are what keep you alive. —Marn Reich

Marn’s art education continued. She joined Marjorie Brandon’s collage workshop, took a welding class at the Mendocino Art Center, a clay mono print workshop in Petaluma, and many others. Clay is where she liked to play the most. 
Richard Flores at College of the Sequoias, suggested Marn enter the Sofa Art Show. That was the first time it occurred to her that others might enjoy her creations. Marn participated in eight out of the thirteen years that the Sofa Art Show was presented at the Arts Visalia Gallery.

Marn Reich
A whimsical ceramic fish created by Marn Reich.

“I love the whimsy of the show and the challenge of including a sofa in whatever art form one used. The people who participate are so much fun.” Marn Reich
The Tulare County Fair and Visalia Art League have awarded Marn ribbons for her sculptures. The prestigious International Small Teapot Show included two pots. Marn was among the original people who founded the Arts Consortium, Tulare County’s answer to an art council. 
Theater was Marn’s other passion, especially musicals. She was on the board of Visalia Community Players (Ice House Theater), hoping to influence the choice of plays. She had served on the Fourth Wall Board. It was around that time when she and Sherley Tucker joined forces. They shared a booth in Three Rivers many Novembers for the Senior League’s Holiday Bazaar arts and crafts show. 
Sherley Tucker built a ceramic workshop; Marn helped and participated. Marn and others met weekly to build, shape, carve, throw, glaze, and fire: the taste of community that Marn dearly loved. When Sherley knew she was dying of cancer she offered the workshop to those who lived in Three Rivers. Marn helped organize the group thus Sherley Tucker’s legacy lives on at Flo Arts Studio. And Marn’s memory will be whispering in the ears of her clay buddies as the work continues into the future, since she was an invaluable teacher to all. Marn Reich
“When you don’t have much money but have a strong desire to contribute, being a docent for Arts Visalia is an avenue to be of service,” Marn explained. “Being a docent gives me time to study the artwork in depth. Scheduled monthly, I don’t miss a show.” 
Marn’s home workshop participated in three of the eight times for the biannual Three Rivers Artist’s Studio Tour.
“I did not have to pack up all of my art to haul it, and not only do I get to share how I do the work itself, but others see my art collection as well. It’s a party, and I don’t have to leave home,” she said. 
Marn is the beloved daughter of the late Ruth and Laurence Reich. She is survived by her sister Judith and Jerry Kroot; Aunt Gertrude Goldstein; the late Benjamin Goldstein; Aunt Blanche and Oscar Comras (deceased); Uncle Emile and Eleanor Reich (deceased); cousins Madelyn and Albert Katz; Joel Goldstein and Reed Goodman; Donald Comras and Al Husted; Wendy Reich and the late Lloyd Reich; and her nieces, nephews, great-niece, and great-nephew. Marn Reich
Weaving people into her inclusive community was a never-ending task, and that includes the Synanon family that stretches across the globe, clay friends, local theatre supporters, the quilting circle at Comfort for Kids, the art community, and more.

Marn is sorely missed. 

8 thoughts on “Obituary | Marn Reich: 1937 ~ 2020

  • July 2, 2020 at 10:21 pm

    Well behaved women never make history. It is safe to say that Marn was not well behaved. She was always an inspiration. She was generous with her time and talent. I loved her and will miss her dearly.

  • July 3, 2020 at 8:06 am

    I.loved this free spirited amazing artistic woman. We came once a month to make sure her yard looked good. I looked forward to visiting with her. As the saying goes “Marn you will be missed”

  • July 3, 2020 at 8:18 am

    Marn invited me to lunch when I moved to Three Rivers. Artist filled the table at Anne Lang’s . She enticed me to try ceramics. A new adventure began and a friend as close as any i’ve had. Saying I will miss her does not begin to express this loss. Luckily we have memory so she can visit when we wish. Thanks to all who have offered to help Sarah Shena and me at this time. Bless you..
    Shirley Keller

  • July 3, 2020 at 9:54 am

    Every morning when we’re making coffee we see a dancing couple teapot on our windowsill and we think of Marn.
    Dan Brummitt and Edie Schroeder

  • July 3, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    I don’t remember Marn saying a bad word about anyone. Always ready to help. Always ready to lend an ear. What a wonderful friend to have known. Many happy memories.

  • July 3, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    Marn was a beautiful bright presence whenever I would cross her path, at many art shows, and frequently at the library,
    She always carried her books in a colored tapestry bag. Her clothes combinations were walking art displays, and very ethnic at times. She would always have time to raise her head, beam a smile, followed by a little giggle when you replied. I loved her genuine personality. Three Rivers has lost a true goddess. R.I.P. Sweetie

  • July 5, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    So sorry to hear of Marn’s passing. Her whimsical pieces adorn our windowsills and nooks both in LA and 3R. She was a reminder that life is meant to be enjoyed, and will be missed.
    Karen Bodner

  • July 9, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    That is an excellent photo of Marn, showing her delightful smile and twinkles in her eyes. She was so sincere and honest. I don’t think she knew how to tell a lie. I’m sad Marn has departed, but grateful to have met her.


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