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Sugarman Sinai Memorial Chapel

458 Hope Street, Providence, RI

OBITUARY

Marcia B. Reback

December 28, 1944September 26, 2019

REBACK, MARCIA B., 74, passed away Thursday, September 26, 2019. Born in 1944, the daughter of the late Ruth Gladstone and William Reback, Marcia began her life in Fall River, Massachusetts. Following the death of her father when she was just nine, Marcia and her mother lived with relatives in Florida before moving to Rhode Island.

Educated at Hope High School, the University of Rhode Island and the University of Connecticut, Marcia became an elementary school teacher in the Providence school system. Her passion for equity and justice led her to pursue a more administrative career, eventually serving as the President of the Providence Teachers Union, the President of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals and the Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers. Her keen interest in the labor movement also led her to serve as the Vice President of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO. Marcia was well known publicly for her fierce representation of teachers, garnering her the nicknames of “Bulldog”, “Sphinx” and “Mother Teresa with an Attitude” from the Rhode Island press. Lesser known, but equally important, she was a champion of students’ rights, advocating for children on several national committees.

Retirement did not dampen Marcia’s enthusiasm for justice. She served on the Labor Relations Board, the Rhode Island Retirees Pension Committee, as well as on the State Investment Commission. She never forgot her roots, and contributed generously to the Hope High School Dollars for Scholars fund. An active participant in the Rhode Island Democratic Party, Marcia also contributed to those politicians who echoed her views on labor and education. Marcia will be honored with the first ever Frank Montanaro Sr. Award. The award was created by the Democratic Party to honor those who sacrifice on behalf of organized labor.

To her friends and family, Marcia was so much more than her public image. She was the conscience and life coach to many, and never failed to lend a helping hand to anyone who needed her advice or help. She had a keen sense of humor, a soulful laugh, and an unwavering stare that let you know if you crossed the line. She had many diverse friends, valued them equally, and managed to blend them all into the tapestry of her life. Her appetite for her life included relishing a good meal in the company of her friends, making her a most treasured dinner companion. She loved a good movie with a happy ending and had a lifelong obsession with Frank Sinatra’s music. She also appreciated her solitude, reading voraciously in the company of her beloved cats; Stevie Brown, Samantha, and Miss Kitty. Marcia’s kindness, intelligence and dedication to doing the right thing will forever be remembered and emulated by those who knew her well.

She is survived by Beverly and Frank Prosnitz, Gail Gladstone, Marty Kantrowitz, Jack Friedenn, Harvey Reback, David Reback, Charles Reback, and Marlene Haslam.

Funeral services will be held Sunday, September 29th at 10:00 AM at Sugarman-Sinai Memorial Chapel, 458 Hope St, Providence, RI with burial following in Agudas Achim Cemetery, 440 Newhall St, Fall River, MA. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to Friends of the Providence Animal Care and Control Center. Following burial, family and friends are invited to her residence. Shiva will be held Wednesday and Thursday 2-4 PM and 6-8 PM and Friday 2-6 PM.

Services

  • Funeral Service Sunday, September 29, 2019
  • Burial Sunday, September 29, 2019

Memories

Marcia B. Reback

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Barbara Rosenbaum

September 29, 2019

It was my pleasure to have worked with Marcia. She was a great leader, a strong and insightful woman, who gave her all for the Providence School Department. She will be missed.
My deepest condolences to her family and friends.

Roger Boudreau

September 27, 2019

She was a lioness who advocated for her Cubs. She made the world a better place for her students, her colleagues, her union members, and for all who were privileged to have been a beneficiary of her counsel. She was my mentor and my friend 💙❤️

Carlotta Martell

September 27, 2019

I worked with Marcia as a Providence teacher. She was our Union President and teacher at Joslin Street School(William D'Abate) when I met her in the 1970's. She was a true leader, an intelligent and principled person. She fought for our students as well as for us teachers. I am truly saddened by her death. I will miss her and never forget her. Goodbye Marcia. Love, Carlotta

J Michael Downey

September 27, 2019

Rhode Islasnd Council94 members, appreciate all Marcia has done for workers in our state.
We remember her as our Lady of Labor.
She and her entire family are in our thoughts and prayers.

Marie Corkery Troy

September 27, 2019

I can't believe Marcia is gone. To me, she was and always will be a force of nature. Last night, I told my daughter stories of Marcia's strength and fortitude and she responded, "It sounds as though your friend was a remarkable, complex person and a true fighter," and I think that sums her up perfectly. To myself and the other Providence teachers who were lucky enough to have her as a Union President, Marcia was a much fiercer Norma Rae. She didn't need to stand up on a table and shout to get us what we needed and deserved, she could get people to listen simply using her wit, intelligence, and a never-ending commitment to teachers' and students' rights. I feel honored to have known her, laughed with her, and, as a teacher, been supported by her. She will truly be missed. Love you, Marcia. I will never forget you.

Kathy Sullivan

September 27, 2019

As a retired Providence teacher, I can honesty say Marcia was the best. I don't know any Providence teacher Marcia didn't have a positive effect on. She was a true leader. She certainly lived a life worth living.

Ruth Stanleyy

September 27, 2019

Marcia and I were not close in high school even though we worked on a number of the same things; newspaper, yearbook, senior play. However at a HS reunion she invited me to go with her and her friends to Alaska on a cruise. We went but the ship had no propulsion so they gave us a chit for another cruise of our choice and sent us home. Undaunted we chose a cruise which included Russia. We had a glorious time. She made it special by adding the niceties of a tour guide in England and a car ride with guides in Russia. She made sure I got to a McDonald’s for a frappe and we got bandaids for our blisters. It is a memory I’ll always cherish. She was a powerhouse and a wonderful friend. I’ll miss our FaceTime chats. My love to her family.

Jenna Karlin

September 26, 2019

A real loss. It’s not easy to be a female labor leader in RI - Marcia was always an inspiration. I always enjoyed learning from her stories of labor’s past and watching her tenaciously stand up for the dignity of all workers.

Vivian and Dan Weisman

September 26, 2019

Marcia was a strong, smart, and witty woman. We have fond memories of working with her on the Providence Dropout Prevention Collaborative, CLOC, and the AFT/AFL-CIO, and enjoying a day at Polo.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY