Eleanor M. Reese

Eleanor M. Reese

Eleanor M. Reese

ALTAMONT — Eleanor M. Reese, a tough woman, had a long Civil Service career while raising three daughters.

She died on Nov. 30, 2023 at the age of 93, in her Altamont home with her daughter Susan by her side.

“She was a good woman,” said Susan Tymchyn, her youngest daughter. “She was my best friend.”

Ms. Tymchyn also said, “My mother was a tough woman.” She overcame hardship with resiliency and was capable on her own.

“She changed the oil in her own car and in her tractors,” said her daughter. “She did things I couldn’t do.”

Ms. Reese was born on Aug. 6, 1930 in Albany.

Her mother, Lillian Shutter, cleaned houses and her father, William Shutter, drove trolley cars in the city. The family lived in an apartment on West Street in a building that is now condemned, Ms. Tymchyn said.

While Ms. Reese enjoyed tap-dancing as a child, it wasn’t until she moved out to the countryside of Altamont that she blossomed.

“She loved being outside,” said Ms. Tymchyn. “She had a vegetable garden and a blueberry garden and 20 or 30 fruit trees.” She also loved her horse, Benny, who lived in a barn next to her home.

Ms. Tymchyn and her husband, Rick, lived next door to Ms. Reese. “Anytime she needed repairs, Rick was there to help” while Ms. Tymchyn would cook, mow, and in later years be her mother’s caregiver.

Ms. Reese had graduated from Albany High School in 1948 and, after a blind date, set up by a cousin, with Herbert Becker, she married him on Sept. 2. 1950.

Mr. Becker was a roofer and, with the help of friends, built a house on Altamont Boulevard that had a beautiful white marble stone roof, Ms. Tymchyn said. That was the home she was born into in 1958.

“In 1960, when I was 2, my father left my mother for someone else,” said Ms. Tymchyn.

Ms. Reese supported the family with her work as a typist for the New York State Department of Civil Service, retiring at the age of 70 after more than 40 years.

“She absolutely loved her work,” said Ms. Tymchyn. “She loved the people she worked with.”

Her brother, Robert Shutter, lived nearby and would visit with his two children and was supportive of his sister, Ms. Tymchyn said.

“You could see some stress, but not often,” said Ms. Tymchyn of Ms. Reese managing as a single mother. “She didn’t yell at us … She worked really hard. She did everything she could to help us with schoolwork. She taught us right from wrong.”

Her three daughters helped with household and yard chores. “We mowed the lawn and pulled weeds,” said Ms. Tymchyn.

“My mother wouldn’t marry till after her children were grown because she didn’t want another man raising her children,” said Ms. Tymchyn.

“When my father left, his brother Jimmy built the house next to us and had the idea he’d move in on my mother,” said Ms. Tymchyn. “When I was 11, my uncle shot my mother.”

Ms. Reese was taken to the hospital and had a collapsed lung from the buckshot, she said. “There was a lot of blood.”

“My uncle committed suicide after shooting my mother,” Ms. Tymchyn said.

Herbert Becker also died by suicide, she said.

Ms. Reese married Harry Reese, the brother of a school friend, in 1983; they divorced in 1992.

“Although she went through many tragedies when we grew up,” said Ms. Tymchyn of her mother, “her three children are thriving.”

She concluded, “I look back, and it seems like a dream”


Eleanor M. Reese (née Shutter) is survived by her daughters, Joan L. Becker of Saranac, Michigan; Deborah L. Kirstein of Poughkeepsie, New York; and Susan D. Tymchyn and her husband, Richard, of Altamont.

She is also survived by her grandson, Mitchell V. Seymour of Albany.

“A special thank-you to Eleanor’s best friend, Dorothy, and the ladies who gave her care 24/7. She loved all of you,” said a tribute.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.

A Celebration of Life, by invitation only, will be held on April 13 at 1:30 p.m. at the American Legion Hall at 988 Altamont Blvd. in Altamont.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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