Vada (May) Reel of Austintown, will be honored by the congregation of Smith Corners United Methodist Church as musician for the past 75 years. This is part of the local church's celebration of 150 years of ministry on the corners of Kirk and Canfield Niles Road. A special recognition Sunday will be held at 10:45 a.m. Sept. 16 to honor Vada and her service as musician for half the history of this church, which serves many surrounding communities.
The public is welcome to attend and honor this dedicated volunteer, who will become 91 years old in November, and is still at the keyboard of her beloved church.
She and her late husband Jack were strongly involved in the growth and building of the current church building, just across the corner from the original structure. Her family has held positions of trustee, choir members, Sunday School teachers, financial chairmen, Church Council chairmen, and other volunteer posts.
Photo special to the Town Crier
Vada (May) Reel is still at the keyboard after 75 years of providing music for the congregation of the Smith Corners United Methodist Church.
Vada is still active in the United Methodist Women group in which she has been a member for more than 60 years. She was also a Sunday School teacher for many years. She maintains involvement with Dublin Grange, and previously was active in Extension and Farm Bureau. Many junior high and high school musicians requested her as piano accompanist over the years.
Vada began her tenure in 1936 at the age of 15, as pianist in the old brick building that served as the church from 1862-1962. Her dedicated service spanned the birth of her three sons: Kenneth, Gary, and Wayne, six grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Presently, her granddaughter Amy (Reel) Nash shares the musical duties, with one of them on the piano and the other on the organ. She has performed for 131 weddings, 25 funerals, and given piano lessons to 55 children, including her own grandchildren. She has accompanied a children's youth choir and an adult choirs for many years, requiring schedule juggling for practices and performances.
As a volunteer, she insists that her payment comes in satisfaction of the congregation's enjoyment of her music and ability to fit the theme of the service.