Obituary: Sally MacLeod Reichert, 1948-2024 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Sally MacLeod Reichert, 1948-2024

Writer, photographer and artists’ muse with a gift for friendship

Published July 2, 2024 at 6:00 a.m.


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Sally MacLeod Reichert - COURTESY
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  • Sally MacLeod Reichert

Sally Parker MacLeod Reichert, daughter of the late Margery and Jack MacLeod and stepdaughter of the late David Glass, died in France, age 76, at her beloved home of 20 years.

After growing up in Washington, D.C., and Vermont, Sally attended the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Her life was a constant expression of originality and beauty, through her work as a designer, model, writer and photographer. Her kind and perceptive nature shone through warm friendships; she had a genius for living with style and sophistication, while maintaining a remarkable ability to delight in the simplest of pleasures. Her generosity extended to a series of cherished (formerly) homeless cats wherever she lived.

Sally met artist / writer / filmmaker Marcus Reichert when they were both freshmen at RISD. They were together across 50 years — a marriage of true artists, with a passionate commitment to creativity, intellectual honesty and conviviality. Sally and Marcus were part of the downtown Manhattan art scene for several years. Sally created hand-painted silk clothing, sold in a SoHo shop she co-established, and designed textile patterns. She worked for a time as a model, often posing for her dear friend, noted illustrator George Stavrinos. George’s images of Sally appeared frequently in New York Times ads for Bergdorf Goodman and Barney’s. Sally was photographed for Vogue Italia. Marcus’s confidante and muse, Sally was hugely talented in her own right. Several years of life in small-town North Carolina inspired her novel Passing Strange (Random House, 2002). “A sharply observed study of the many ways that people judge each other” (Booklist), it was named a best book of the year by the Los Angeles Times. She also wrote 13: Stories (Ziggurat Books, 2014) and additional unpublished short-form pieces.

Sally and Marcus went on to embrace ex-pat life in Europe, first in London, then Northumberland and Ramsgate, England, and later in a small market town in southern France.

Sally was a gifted photographer. Marcus gave her a small camera, intuiting that her artist’s eye would capture their surroundings in strikingly original photographs. On daily walks she amassed an archive of architectural and natural features, local people and animals, skies and trees — a detailed portrait of her adopted French town. Even after physical frailty limited her mobility, she posted two of her best shots each day on Facebook and delighted in the comments posted by her legion of FB Friends.

Above all, Sally adored Marcus Reichert — and it was mutual. Intimate photographs of Sally fill the pages of Marcus’s book Portrait of the Artist’s Wife (Ziggurat, 2012). On every project, from creating their next beautifully decorated home / studio / workplace to choosing the cover design for a new novel, they applied their individual talents, while also collaborating in a deeply bonded and respectful partnership.

Sally was widowed with little warning in 2022, right after Marcus and his crew had completed principal photography for a film (as yet unfinished) starring singer / actor Debbie Harry of Blondie – forty years after their collaboration on the cult film noir Union City. Sally faced the loss of Marcus with stoicism and gratitude for the life they had created, buoyed by the joie de vivre of local British and French friends and professionals and the long-distance support of family and old friends from everywhere she ever lived.

Sally’s life can be honored through any action against cruelty and injustice or in the savoring of any of life’s pleasures. (She would suggest some dark chocolate or dry rosé, ideally in the company of a purring cat.)

Survivors are sisters, Lauren MacLeod, of Rutland, Mass., and Anne MacLeod, of Vergennes, Vt.; sister-in-law, Melissa Reichert, of Shrewsbury, Vt.; stepbrothers, Dickson Glass (Mary), of South Burlington, Vt., and Gordon Glass, of Gulfport, Fla.; stepsister, Nancy Angelopoulos (Spyro), of North Haven, Conn.; and nephew, Luke Brownell (Cierra), of West Boylston, Mass. Sally is also mourned by a network of old and new friends, including Henry Carse, of Huntington, Vt., and Mark and Marie Luscombe-Whyte, Muriel Teissier du Cros and Stephane Marinangeli, of St. Hippolyte-du-Fort. There are no adequate words to describe the countless acts of loving kindness given to Sally; her American family will be forever in debt to those who supported her every day across more than two years, with infinite wisdom, sensitivity and tenderness.

A celebration of the lives of Sally and Marcus will take place in France in the autumn.

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