Edith Irene Reynolds 1928 - 2021

Edith “Duffy” Reynolds, retired Linfield professor and long-time community member, passed away peacefully the morning of Sunday, August 22, 2021.

Edith was born November 1, 1928, in Dalhart, Texas, to Albert and Vio (Randel) Reynolds. When she was five years old, the family drove with their belongings to California, escaping the Dust Bowl. Edith began her schooling in Pasadena before her family relocated to Grants Pass, Oregon. The family survived the Great Depression by tending their milk cows, gardening and canning. Edith’s mother wanted piano lessons for her daughter and traded vegetables from her garden for lessons. Edith would often play the piano in the evenings, a brother on either side, and the three of them would sing together.

When she was a teenager, the family moved to Springfield, Oregon, where she became close friends with a girl at church who encouraged her to go to college. Edith had always been an excellent student and followed her friend to Linfield. She quickly learned of the prohibitive costs and worked many long hours cleaning and working on campus to pay for her education. Edith enjoyed being at Linfield. She made many lifelong friends, loved her dorm and her classes, took on numerous leadership roles, and became a devout fan of Shakespeare and the Wildcats. Edith was the first person in her family to attend college, graduating in 1951 with a major in English and a minor in Home Economics.

Edith taught junior high and high school briefly in Gaston and Helix, respectively, before receiving a letter from the head of the Linfield Home Economics Department asking her to return and join the faculty. Ms. Reynolds was a beloved and sought out professor of Home Economics for more than 30 years. The younger generations of her family who attended Linfield were amazed by the deep affection her students felt for her. Edith invested extra time helping students with their work and encouraged them through the ups and downs of their personal lives. She conveyed to each student her warmth and confidence in their success.

She was an artist, designing clothing and historical costumes for Linfield’s theater and opera workshop productions. In addition to sewing and clothing design, she taught weaving and wove beautiful wall hangings on the large looms in the Home Economics Department. Edith received her master’s degree in Textiles from the University of Tennessee, choosing this particular program because they were doing specialized research on the color blue.

In the years following her career, Edith invested in both Linfield and the McMinnville community. She continued designing and altering costumes for the Linfield theater, while also devoting weekly hours to support young readers at Newby Elementary School and volunteering regularly for church events. Even at 90 years old, she could be found on Mondays helping in the church office, an experience she thoroughly enjoyed. Edith was comfortable with people of all ages and related easily to whomever she was with, talking, laughing, and always being generous and kind. In 1992, she received a Linfield College Alumni Service award.

Edith was interested in the world, history and the arts. She was an avid reader and delved deeply into her own family genealogy. She traveled extensively with Sybil Seward, her best friend of 50 years, who chronically insisted upon mailing oversized and breakable treasures back to the States, much to Edith’s chagrin, but all arriving safely. Edith and Sybil shared many wonderful adventures together in this life, frequently trekking to Powell’s bookstore, touring the wine country, attending theater productions, visiting art exhibits and gathering with family and friends. Edith’s own watercolors were featured in several local showings, and inspired summer visits to Whidbey Island to paint with other artists.

Edith will be missed for her warmth, generosity and integrity. She was the epicenter of her large, extended family. She was the dependable big sister who could hold her own with her mischievous younger brothers, and whom they adored forever. Younger generations were always welcome in her home and heart. No matter what awkward phases of life they were whirling through, she always believed in them. Many family values and traditions, like Mahjong, Watanabe’s art, traveling, and the piano she continued to play, began with time spent in Edith’s home.

Edith is survived by one of her two younger brothers, and many extended family members. A graveside service will be held for her family.
Remembrances may be given to Linfield University or First Baptist Church, McMinnville. To leave online condolences, please visit www.macyandson.com

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