Ann Koncar Reiss(1930 - 2014)

Ann Koncar Reiss (1930-2014) Following a full and vibrant life, Ann Koncar Reiss passed away on June 1, 2014, in the company of her children. Ann was born in 1930 in Michigan, shortly after her parents' arrival from Bosnia. In stories, she recounted working as a girl to help her family, and childhood pleasures including ice-skating and swimming on the Great Lakes. Ann grew up in Detroit's tightly knit Yugoslav immigrant community during the great auto boom and Depression-era strikes. WWII brought news of relatives fighting with the Yugoslav Partisans against Nazi occupation. These times and events shaped her world view. Ann had a passion for knowledge and loved school. Taught to read at five by her father, her first job was to prepare neighbors for their US citizenship exams. As a high school student, she won a scholarship to the University of Michigan, becoming the first in her family to attend college. Following her graduation in 1952, Ann taught school in Detroit. After marrying, she continued teaching in New York City. Later, she and her husband moved to northern California where she raised her family. She imparted her love of the state's diverse landscapes to her four children, Rebecca, Diana, Suzanna and Andrew Reiss. Starting in 1988, Ann nursed her daughter Rebecca, a public health worker, through illness to her death in 1991. Locally, Ann volunteered in community groups from La Leche League to scouting groups. She also supported national efforts for peace, civil rights and environmental protection. Throughout her life, Ann energetically pursued her keen interest in history, anthropology and the arts. She made ceramics and relished gardening. She also served as a docent at San Francisco's Asian Art Museum, and was an avid supporter of the Marin Theater Company. Ann spoke English, Serbo-Croatian and Spanish. Her respect for diverse cultures led her to host guests from all over the world. Ann had an ardent commitment to her children seeing and knowing a wider world. She traveled independently on five continents, meeting and learning locally from all she met. Ann was deeply loved by her children and grandchildren Andrew and Anthony Reiss, and Shail Sierra-Koncar. She will be greatly missed by family and the many friends who knew her. A memorial service will be held on July 20 at 1:00 p.m. at the Falkirk Cultural Center and gardens, 1408 Mission Ave. at "E" Street, San Rafael.

Published in Marin Independent Journal on June 22, 2014