Rev. Dr. Beth Glick-Rieman died at her home in Ellsworth, Maine, on May 13, at the age of 94. She had moved to Maine in May 2015 in order to live with her daughter, Dr. Marta Rieman, and son-in-law, Dr. Bart Clayton, who cared for her during those last years. They were assisted by their daughter, Emma Rieman Richards, an RN. Previously, Beth lived in Richmond, California from 2001-2015.
Beth was a writer who had five books published in her lifetime, and the book she had finished in the weeks before she died, To Die Is Gain, will be published posthumously. In her last years she led several writing groups, notably the “Write For Your Life” group that met at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, and a similar group in Ellsworth. Her most recent book, The Unfinished Feminist, was published by Arc Light books in 2015.
Beth Glick-Rieman was born as Elizabeth Cline Glick, on Oct. 2, 1922. She was born to Effie Iwilla Evers Glick and the Rev. John Titus Glick, in Timberville, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley, and named after her grandmother. Her father was a minister of the Church of the Brethren and a farmer, and her mother raised 12 children (Beth was the fifth). Later the family moved to a farm near Centerville, Virginia, where they were able to grow enough food to mostly feed all of those hungry mouths.
Beth attended Bridgewater College in Virginia, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Music Education in 1944, and after college she became a public school music teacher and organist in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. There she met the man who would become her husband, Glenn Walker Rieman, a math teacher who would go on to become a psychologist for the Veteran’s Administration. After they were married (6/7/47), they moved to Pittsburgh, PA to go to graduate school, where Glenn received his Doctorate in Psychology, and Beth got a Masters degree in Religious Education (1950). Over the course of their married life they lived in Hollidaysburg and Altoona, PA, Dayton, OH, and Bridgewater, VA, (where they moved to take care of Beth’s aged father, after Glenn retired ). Glenn died on Oct. 31, 1980 of a heart attack.
Beth was a woman who gave a lot to family. She spent a number of years trying to get pregnant, and when it finally took, she gave another 27 of her good years taking care of her five children. She set some of her own vocational hopes aside, as her culture asked her to, and she did it because it was what she wanted to do. Family meant that much to her. She is survived by three children, Dr. Jill Christine Rieman Klingler (of Cinti., OH), Dr. Marta Elizabeth Clayton Rieman, (Ellsworth, ME), and Eric Glick Rieman, MFA (Berkeley, CA). Two of her children died before her, Peggy Ruth Rieman (age 19), and Linnea Rieman (stillborn at term). Beth is also survived by nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
She taught piano lessons in her home as her children grew up, and the house was always full of music. When most of her children were grown, and after the death of her eldest (Peggy), she returned to her career aspirations and her eagerness to change the world for greater good, and began studying at United Theological Seminary, in Dayton, Ohio, receiving a Doctor of Ministry degree at the age of 51. She started a new career as an advocate for feminism in the Church of the Brethren shortly thereafter (the church she had grown up in, and the one that drove her crazy, but that she couldn’t abandon, as that would be “throwing out the baby with the bath water”).
She became an ordained minister of the Church of the Brethren (an historic peace church) in 1975. Beth’s growing advocacy and knowledge of feminism became one of the burning lights of her life during this period. When her position of “Person Awareness Coordinator” was undone by the church, because the church balked at her attempts to help it re-vision itself in a feminist direction, she moved on, and started working as a consultant, group facilitator, and writer.
During this period she became a member of the Association For Creative Change, and met people worldwide who wanted to help society evolve. Eventually, she started her own consulting company, Human Empowerment In Religion and Society (HEIRS), and worked in a company started by her good friends, Rev. Kenneth Mitchell and Rev. Carl Crider (Another Way). This work led her to move to San Diego. Her consultant days were filled with helping groups with their process — church groups, the East LA school district, and many other situations where a mediator was needed to teach communication. She also worked with youth at the Church of Canada’s Naramata Center, in Naramata, British Columbia.
In 2001 she moved to Richmond, CA to be closer to her son Eric’s young family, and because she needed more help (as an elder) than she had before. Her little house on Van Fleet Avenue was a refuge to grandchildren and their friends, and a sanctuary where she wrote, sang, taught, and made sour lemonade from the lemons that she grew in her backyard garden. She had help from several live-in family members as she strove to maintain her independent lifestyle, notably Tacey Rieman Clayton (grandchild), Tina Rieman (great niece), Grace Rieman Clayton (grandchild), Cord Sargent (grandchild- in-law), and Emily Kinzie Roberts (friend and almost grandchild).
Beth was a believer in Ecumenicism and was a representative of the Church of the Brethren to the World Council of Churches. She was a lifelong pacifist, and an advocate for peaceful methods to make changes to corrupt systems. She marched with the Peace People movement in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. She was an activist for political change throughout her life, writing letters, protesting, and making calls to her political representatives to promote peace and justice.
Beth believed in spirit and mystery. Her Brethren heritage instilled in her a will to create positive change in society. She had a strong affinity for the religious feeling that the natural world evoked in her, and the warm feeling of community, and she called this, and a sense of Love/Presence, God. She believed in her power to change the world in a positive way, and she worked hard toward this goal and mentored others to foster the drive toward it in them. She loved children, roses, music, walking on the beach, and hiking in the mountains. And she loved butterflies. We miss you, Beth, and we’ll always love you.
Beth is also survived by four of her siblings, Margaret Hunkins (of Ashland, OR), Joseph Glick (of Harrisonburg, VA), Ruth Welliver (of Lewisburg, PA), and Stanley Glick (of Centerville, VA).
Memorial services will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 121 Bucksport Rd in Ellsworth, ME, on Saturday, July 8, at 2 p.m., and at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (1 Lawson Rd., Kensington) on Saturday, Sept.30, 1 p.m.