Ms. Reeder (“Ginger” to almost everyone), was perhaps most widely known as the long-time Neiman Marcus fantasy-gift wrangler. For many years, she searched for and found the wildest and most intriguing gifts for the annual Neiman Marcus Christmas Book. Most Octobers, she appeared on NBC’s TODAY SHOW, revealing many of the most dramatic and intriguing NM Christmas Book items.
Ms. Reeder was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, a city whose residents and culture remained engrained in her life until her death. Charisma, wit and charm were inherited family traits, but Shreveport was where she realized and harnessed the power those traits had in developing deep and lasting friendships, a talent she exhibited throughout her life. Ms. Reeder frequently credited much of her success to experiences in her first (high school) job—at Shreveport’s iconic gospel, soul, and blues radio station—KOKA, where she incubated her lifelong love of music and her appreciation for the diversity of life experiences.
During the AIDS epidemic in the mid-1980’s, St. Thomas the Apostle Church was one of the very few churches in Dallas to accept those who are openly-gay as part of their community. St. Thomas became an extended-care family for a number of HIV+ people, often very sick, who sought spiritual support but had found themselves unwelcome at surrounding churches. Ginger served in multiple leadership roles at St. Thomas, for over 30 years. From early on, she applied her commitment, work ethic, and leadership skills to difficult challenges.
Mary Virginia Reeder was born in Austin, TX, on November 3, 1959 to James Arthur and Leone Guthrie Reeder. She attended St. Joseph Catholic School and St. Vincent’s Academy, in Shreveport; later graduating from Hollins College with a B.A. in American Studies and English, in 1981.
In the fall of 1981, she moved to Dallas. Her world grew dramatically. Professionally, she found very cool things to do where she could apply her style, charm, and unique talents, including roles that allowed her to travel the world and develop skills in merchandising and retail at the Dallas Museum of Art, as well as 21 years at Neiman’s, ultimately occupying a position that Oprah Winfrey said was one of the very few she might be willing to trade for. Along the way, she acquired life-long mentors in Bob Wilson, Roger Horchow, and Stanley Marcus.
Ginger had two children, who were in awe of her for every second they were in her life, even when she tried (and very often failed) to embarrass them. In a life that could not have been more glamorous and adventurous, it was her children who were her greatest source of enjoyment and pride.
She was a brilliant wordsmith who loved to read, laugh and tell stories. Blessed with insatiable curiosity, Ginger was an original thinker constantly on the lookout for a new book, artist, musician, movie, and gadget to share with others. In her 50’s, she especially enjoyed listening to Lucinda Williams and Al Green during monthly drives to Marfa, TX, where she made great friends who turned into soulmates (as she was known to do). The profound and enduring positive impact she had on everyone she met emanated from the ease with which she made friends and her generous willingness to share her time, talent and ideas. She was loved and admired by a legion of devoted family, friends and colleagues whose lives she enriched.
Ginger is survived by her two children, James Vroom, of Denver, CO, and Grace Vroom, of Austin, TX, and her husband, Joe Patterson. She is also survived by her stepson, Jacques “Bunky” Vroom, of Dallas, TX; her brother, James Reeder, of Houston, TX; her sister, Elizabeth Neubauer, of Blandford, Nova Scotia; and their spouses and children; as well as many extended family members whom she loved deeply.
We would love for you to join us in celebrating her life through a service of stories and music at The Kessler Theater in Dallas, TX on Saturday, February 17th at 1pm. A reception will follow in the same space. The service can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/910876084
In lieu of flowers or any other support for this service, please consider donating to St. Thomas or The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration if you're able.