Cecelia “Cil” was born and raised on the East Side of St. Paul. She was the last daughter born to George and Bernice Reese and grew up with 6 brothers and 6 sisters. She felt closest to her youngest brother Johnny and looked out for him all her life. Her older brothers nicknamed her “Sharky” when she was a kid and it turned out to be apt as she was a force to be reckoned with all her life. Cil loved growing up in her family and the neighborhood where there were lots of kids and she found her best friend for life in Ann Kromer who lived across the street. Cil was proud of her athletic abilities and in 8th grade she earned the Athlete of the Year award.
Cil graduated from Hill-Murray High School in 1977. She met her husband Bill at 16 and they married in 1980 and had two children Bill and Heather. Their marriage lasted 35 years when Bill sadly died too young at 57 in 2015.
Although Cil worked at a few jobs out of high school, she was proud when she landed a position working for Guidant (now Boston Scientific) in the 1990s. She was sharp and ambitious and worked her way up to an IT systems trainer which included developing system training and then traveling to Europe and Puerto Rico to conduct the training for employees.
Cil and Bill moved from Maplewood and bought a home in Oakdale in 1997 and raised their children. She and Bill loved their neighbors and the neighborhood and settled into their good life. They did extensive remodeling inside and out and Cil was actively involved in the planning and designing. She was proud of the results and the landscaping that was done gave her the chance to start gardening. She loved working in the garden, seeing it bloom and discussing all aspects of gardening with her sister Mary who was already an experienced gardener.
In addition to interior design and gardening, Cil had many interests. She loved riding on the back of Bill’s Harley for short or long rides in the countryside. Her favorite place to walk or bike was Lake Phalen and she did those often. She also enjoyed working out at the gym as it was important to her to stay healthy and fit. She loved traveling for her job and also personal trips. One of her greatest joys and memories was when she, Bill and the kids traveled to Europe for their family trip in 2011. She never stopped talking about that trip. It was a trip of a lifetime for her.
With all the good her life had brought to her, what Cil valued and cherished above all else was Bill, her kids, her family, extended family and friends. She loved sharing experiences with family and friends and had great memories from moments she had with all of them.
Regrettably, Cil was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2012 and she moved to assisted living at Cardigan Ridge in Little Canada in 2018. Although she missed her home tremendously, she came to enjoy her life and apartment at Cardigan Ridge. She was happy to meet so many nice residents and staff and loved the aides who assisted her. In the warm weather, she loved walking around the pond where she saw ducks, birds and other wildlife and then sitting in the gazebo enjoying the planters filled with flowers. She was especially grateful to her sisters Lorie and Sue, her sister-in-law Misty and her caregiver and friend Flory Katz for caring for her in the last years of her life.
Cil wanted to be an organ donor and that wish was fulfilled upon her death on May 10, 2023. She passed away surrounded by family. Her family expresses their profound appreciation of the care she received by all staff at Region’s Hospital and LifeSource.
We are thankful for the love and memories she brought to our lives and hope she is now surrounded by Bill and her other loved ones. Cil, may your new journey bring you peace.
Preceded in death by her husband Bill, parents George and Bernice Reese, in-laws Mike and Cheech Cairl, siblings George Jr., Michael, Linda Reese and brothers-in-law Aubrey Barker and Billy Ray Cairl. She is survived by her children Bill and Heather (Gary), siblings Gregory (Patricia), Thomas (Angelina), Mary Gieseking (Mike), Rita Clark (Mike), Lorie, Jerry (Carrie), Susie, Teresa Barker and John (Jean), sisters-in-law Barb Reese, Misty Tubbs, Darcy Cairl, brothers-in-law Jimmy Cairl, Clark Cairl, many nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews, cousins, best friend Ann Kromer and friend Mike Newman.
Visitation to be held on Wednesday, May 24 from 4-7PM with memorial service at 6:15 at Mueller Mortuary, 835 Johnson Pkwy., St. Paul. Memorials preferred to Struthers Parkinson’s Center or donor’s preference.