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Alice Reid

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Alice Reid Obituary
Reid, Alice

Ithaca: Alice Reid, 88, co-founder and Artistic Director of the Ithaca Ballet for 50 years, died on Sunday, May 1st, 2011 at the Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca following a period of declining health.

An inspiration to hundreds, perhaps thousands of aspiring dancers and artists, Alice lived her life to the fullest. Growing up in near poverty in Flint, MI, she was able to learn ballet through the IMA, (Industrial Mutual Association) sponsored By General Motors and other industries of that era. She excelled in academics, as well as sports, and played in her high school string quartet, and was Valedictorian of her High School class at Beecher High School (Flint, MI) in 1940. Alice received a full scholarship to Michigan State University, becoming the first in her family to attend college, where she graduated with High Honors and a double major in Art and Mathematics in 1944. During WWII, Alice was employed as an engineering aide at Pratt Whitney, where she designed a flange and an air-intake pipe for the 28 cylinder radial engine, the last of the propeller planes.

After the war, Alice went back to school to receive a Master of Arts degree where the Major in Studio Painting program was designed specifically for her.

While working on her Master's degree, Alice met Tom Reid (J.T. Reid) at Michigan State, while he was a PhD student in Animal Nutrition. They married in 1945 and moved to Ithaca in 1948 where Tom earned a full Professorship at age 31. He remained at Cornell's department of Animal Nutrition in the Agriculture school until his death in 1979.

In Ithaca, Alice continued to pursue her passion for the Arts. After meeting Romanian emigre Vergiu Cornea she co-founded the Ithaca Civic Ballet in 1959, precursor to the now Ithaca Ballet Company. For the next 50 years, Alice nurtured and cultivated the fledgling ballet company, creating costumes for hundreds of ballets, using her painting skills to create more than two dozen backdrops, and making choreographies for countless ballets. Foremost in Alice's mind was that the ballet company must have a studio home, and a theater to perform in, both of which she accomplished. For more than half a century, keeping the ballet alive and vibrant was Alice's greatest love and most fervent interest. It was here, as a ballet teacher, with a uniquely generous, giving, warm, intelligent and incredibly welcoming personality, Alice touched countless lives for more than 50 years. Her ballet school never turned away anyone who could not afford ballet lessons.

Alice is survived by son, J. Douglas Reid; twin daughters, Sarah Rose Reid (Chris Adamson) and Nancy Susan Reid (Jim Long), Gwen Lavinia Reid and Cindy Ann Reid (Al Micucci); a grandson, Peter Benjamin Doll, a professional ballet dancer.

Following Alice's wishes, there will be no funeral services and a memorial to celebrate Alice's life will take place at a future time. Contributions in memory of Alice Reid can be made to the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, 309 N. Aurora Street, Ithaca, NY 14850 towards the creation of the Alice Reid Endowment Fund for the Ithaca Ballet. Please make checks payable to the Community Foundation and add "Alice Reid Endowment Fund/Ithaca Ballet" in the memo line.


Published in Ithaca Journal on May 5, 2011
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