Mary Kerr Reaves
Born Mary Craig Kerr in 1928 in Bremerton near Seattle, Washington, to Agnes Belle Hendricks Kerr and Asel Baylis Kerr, as a Navy family they moved 20 times in 25 years from coast to coast including Coronado, Newport, Quantico, Vallejo, Charleston ... but Long Beach is where she felt most at home, as she explored the city by bicycle to downtown, Belmont Shore, and The Pike.
In 1945 she moved to Oakland, California to study Art History at Mills College and UC Berkeley where in 1951 she received her Master of Arts degree with thesis titled “Eastern Elements in the Art of the Severi at Rome" and in 1952 her B.A. in Library Science. She worked as a Research Librarian at UCLA and at USC's Doheny Library, authored a paper on Antoine Caron's painting “Astronomers Studying an Eclipse," and she worked part time cataloguing the Ernst Zinner collection at San Diego State University.
In 1955 she married Gibson Reaves, whom she had met in Berkeley, at her home in Pasadena on San Pasqual Street. He had become a professor of Astronomy at USC, and she enjoyed the life of a faculty wife, often entertaining his colleagues and students at home. After their son Benjamin was born they lived in Baldwin Hills and she became a full time mother. She enjoyed playing the piano - everything from Schubert to Russian folk songs, and singing “Que Sera Sera" while Ben played in the sunny backyard. She always had one or two cats at home, who particularly enjoyed Chopin's “Grande Valse" (Opus 18).
In 1969 the family lived in Switzerland during Gibson's sabbatical, then moved to Palos Verdes where she was active in the “Save Our Shoreline" movement and the incorporation of the city of Rancho Palos Verdes. She enjoyed studying languages including French, German, Latin and Japanese which helped when visiting Ben during his years working in Japan.
After Gibson retired from USC she cared for him until his death in 2005, then after living alone for a few years moved to an assisted living community in Los Gatos, where she met many new friends. She said it reminded her of dormitory life at college! She is survived by her son Benjamin Kerr Reaves, and granddaughter Grace Hori Reaves who resides in Santa Monica. She will be missed by all.
After a small memorial service in Pasadena, California, by Thanksgiving a video will be posted on the internet at http://brss.us/mary