October 27, 1929 - April 25, 2017
Born in Stockton, Kansas
Resided in Albany, OR
Dee was the eleventh child of James Barney Rea and Amy (Bell) Rea, born at the very beginning of the Great Depression. Dee was a preteen when she and her widowed mother moved from their homestead in Kansas to Albany where others in the Rea clan had already found a fresh start. Dee attended Albany schools and worked various jobs as a young adult to help support her mother.
She was 23 years old and living in Denver when she met Arthur Hans Sass who was stationed at the Air Force base during the Korean conflict. She and Art married in 1954 surrounded by Art's family and friends in Nebraska. They made Fremont, Nebraska, their first home and welcomed son David Arthur in 1956.
The family moved to Albany after Art finished his course at Midland College. Son Danny Rea was born in 1957.
Dee was encouraged by her mother-in-law Calista Sass, an elementary school teacher, to complete her education. The studies prepared her to become an instructional aide for the Greater Albany Public Schools. Dee offered math and reading support for Sunrise Elementary School students. For nearly 20 years Dee was a champion of Sunrise children and made lifelong friends among the staff.
In retirement Dee continued her child-focused efforts by encouraging Nickolas, Brianna and Aaron -- her much loved grandchildren. Dee and Art had many happy years when they lived and shared the same Riverside Drive acreage as son David, his wife Melodi and their three children. They grew vegetables, raised goats as well as other animals and had a "Sass Iris" garden. The irises were developed by cousins of Art's grandfather in Nebraska and everyone in the Albany family helped create and tend the rainbow-colored flower display.
Dee also enjoyed cooking and prepping food for Albany Senior Center events and Meals on Wheels and crafted tasty soups for crowds (including her own extended family). Dee had an artistic flair for her home and garden and enjoyed thrift shopping and luncheons with close girlfriends and sisters.
Dee was preceded in death by her husband Art (1997), son David (2008) and all 10 siblings including her beloved older sister Maxine. She is survived by those who loved and cared for her. We will cherish the memory of Dee in her prime: a spunky, barely five feet tall, and defender of children.
A service of remembrance will be at Noon Saturday May 6th at Fisher Funeral Home. Private inurnment will be at Willamette Memorial Mausoleum. The Rea/Sass family suggests a gift to the Greater Albany Public Schools Foundation for elementary school grants as an appropriate way to honor Dee, in care of Fisher Funeral Home, 306 SW Washington St., Albany, OR 97321.
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Albany, OR US 97321