Surrounded by her three sons, Charlotte Howlett Reinemann, a lifelong Medfield resident, died peacefully on Sunday, November 10, 2019 at The Thomas Upham House in Medfield after a long illness. She was 86 years old. Just two weeks earlier she had been performing Broadway show tunes on the piano while her housemates sang along.
Born in Boston to the late Leslie and Edith Howlett, she was raised and educated in Medfield graduating with the class of 1950. She earned a BS in Library Science from Simmons College in Boston in 1954 and moved to New York City where she worked at the New York Public Library. In 1957 she earned a Masters Degree in Education from Harvard University. Returning after graduation to her work at the New York Public Library, she met and married Richard Louis. After living in New Jersey near Richard’s parents for several years, she and Richard moved back to Medfield in 1965. She worked part-time at the Needham Public Library while raising her young family, later becoming the librarian with the Dover-Sherborn Regional Junior High School, where she worked for 25 years. Charging herself to instill a love of reading in those young teenagers, she never insisted that books be returned, happy to know they were with her students. As she wrote to the editor of the Boston Globe opposing an effort at book banning, “my job is to light candles, not extinguish them.” Her home was always warm and welcoming with an extra dinner setting or two always ready; you just were never sure what exactly would be coming out of the pot on the stove. While her boys were growing up, the house and yard contained an ever changing collection of animals: rabbits, lambs, piglets, goats, ducks, chickens, cats and dogs.
She was an active member of The Episcopal Church of the Advent in Medfield and the Medfield Historical Commission. Her many adventures included a trip to Zimbabwe where she fell in love with the people and their culture, a sabbatical in London and another sabbatical to care for her first grandchild. In her retirement, she enjoyed playing the piano and learning to play the organ, singing with the choir and spending time with her family and friends. In the morning, any variety of music could be heard coming from her prized Steinway grand piano. And on most warm afternoons her laugh could be heard on the back porch as she enjoyed a libation marveling at the hummingbirds just on the other side of the screen. Parties at her home were famous and infamous, most ending with riotous jam sessions among all those in attendance using the great variety of musical instruments she collected over the years. It was a life lived to the fullest.
Charlotte was married for 58 years to the late Richard Louis. She leaves three loving sons, Peter H. Reinemann and his wife Christine of New Canaan, CT, Michael R. Reinemann and his wife Stephanie Williams of Beverly, and R. Louis Reinemann, Jr. and his wife Deborah of Dover. She also leaves six grandchildren, Elise, Eric, his wife Amanda (nee Marcelle), Peter Jr., Matthew, Luke, and Heidi, and one great granddaughter born earlier this year, Charlotte Mae.
The Funeral Liturgy will take place Saturday, November 30, 2019 at 11:00 AM at The Episcopal Church of the Advent, 28 Pleasant Street, Medfield with The Reverend Marc Eames, Rector, officiating. Donations can be made in her name to the Medfield Public Library or the The Episcopal Church of the Advent, Medfield.