Benches to be placed in honor of Marietta woman

She’s remembered for her kind heart and her smile.

“We were married just five months shy of 60 years,” said Dick Reiner, 82, with a choked voice on Friday.

Reiner had just heard the news, that Marietta City Council had accepted his donation of two benches in memoriam of his wife, Phyllis Reiner, who at 78, passed away just more than two years ago.

“She was a good woman and she gained a lot of friends by working for the O’Neill Center,” described her husband. “She helped save a woman’s life when she went to clean for her but found Margaret laying on the floor from I think a stroke, Margaret always called Phyllis her guardian angel.”

Though Dick Reiner has since moved closer to family in Troy, Marietta was always a place he and Phyllis loved.

“We moved there in retirement, we wanted to be in a small town,” he said. “And she just loved Marietta, she made many friends, many more than me.”

So he reached out to city officials for avenues to have Phyllis’s memory preserved and Safety-Service Director Jonathan Hupp provided the idea of bench donations.

“We do have a very good program where individuals are able to pick between a stationary and swing bench,” described Hupp when he pitched the donation to city council this month.

Reiner elected to donate the funds for two stationary benches–which will now be erected weather-permitting in the next month by city crews, including an engraved placard in memory of Phyllis Reiner–one to be placed on the River Trail across from Buckley Island and the other to be placed at the O’Neill Center.

“They are really nice benches to remember your loved ones,” said Hupp after council’s acceptance of the donation Thursday.

The cost per stationary bench, including installation and engraving, is $1,500.

“Swinging bench costs vary based on the size and engraving options, but applications are available through the community development office or through the safety-service directors at the mayor’s office,” explained Hupp Friday. ” And with dedications we make every effort to notify and coordinate with the donor to plan a visit if they’re out of town.”

Connie Huntsman, executive director of the O’Neill Center, said she is excited for the donation and its planned placement.

“Do I ever remember Phyllis, what a sweet, sweet woman,” Huntsman recalled. “Every once in a while you have an employee that comes across your office who touches your heart. That was Phyllis, she had such a heart that wanted to help people, even in her retirement.”

She said she knew Phyllis’s love of Dick, too.

“They were a couple made in heaven, and Phyllis was one of those people who could come in after a hard day and still have a smile on her face,” she described.

Huntsman said the bench placement for the center in Phyllis Reiner’s memory will occur on the Scammel Street side, where vines currently creep along the ground by the sidewalk.

“We have a very large building, and it could be nice to have a place to rest right off the sidewalk there,” she explained. “We’re always so happy to see donations like this and encourage willing donors to take a look at our website to see our wishlist, too.”

At a glance:

• Two stationary benches will be placed, weather-permitting, by spring on the River Trail and at the O’Neill Center in Marietta.

• The benches will be erected by the donation of Dick Reiner, in memory of Phyllis Reiner, his late wife.

• For more information on the Marietta bench donation program contact the city development office or mayor’s office at 740-373-1387.

• The O’Neill Center is also in need of the following donations:

• Card tables for life enrichment activities.

• Linens for special parties that could also be used to expand building rentals.

• Chairs for Adult Day Center that are sturdy and easy to maneuver.

• Landscaping that would allow for increased safety and limited time for maintenance.

• Conference room table that is sturdy.

• Headsets for the computer lab to allow for private listening.

• Updated chairs for the computer lab.

• A television wall mount for lower level unit.

• A mounted, wireless projector that would allow for ease of electronic equipment in the multi-function room.

• Accordion walls for soundproofing in the multi-function room on the main level and around the computer lab.

• Matching funds for state and federal grants.

• Hybrid passenger vehicle for medical transportation to increase fuel efficiencies.

• Contact the O’Neill Center at 740-373-3914.

Source: Times research.