Helen Audrey Reece


November 23, 1942 – April 14, 2023

Helen led an interesting life. Born in Globe, Az. on Nov. 23, 1942, she and her identical twin, Mildred, were quite well known. This was especially true when they were very young and rather high spirited. Their mother once said, “I had to halter and tie them together to maintain any control when doing my downtown shopping.”

After their school years and becoming more disciplined, Helen married Duane Reece. He, with a lifetime ranching and rodeo history, made their home at the Reece Ranch where Dripping Springs Wash meets the Gila River between Globe and Winkelman. Their two children were born there, but soon after they moved to another section of the ranch. After the kids became of school age and without bus service, Helen had to drive them to school in Winkelman. To avoid the difficulty of traveling back and forth over a rather rough road, she found a day job in town at the school cafeteria, then as Clerk of the Justice court. The aged J.P. then retired and Helen ran for office. In 1978 Helen was elected for Justice of the Peace and reelected five times. She retired in 1998 after 20 years of service when the court was combined with that in Globe.

As the election results proved during her time of tenure, she became quite revered in Southern Gila County. It was just her nature to try doing her very best for the people. Even after retirement, and for years, she would receive calls day and night from those who hoped she could help solve their current problems. Husband Duane once threatened to tear the ranch phone line down if she didn’t try limiting the calls.

On a lighter note, she often said that performing weddings was her most enjoyable task, and those of a great number! When once asked how many, she said “close to a thousand.” Even total strangers throughout the state often sought her out after hearing of her wedding rite style.

Her very favorite though, were those that she with Duane might require traveling for a distance to perform. They regularly were for those acquainted with Duane and held on cattle ranches. Although she never involved herself in a great deal of the actual ranch work, she cooked for “many’a roundup crew” and was well received by all. She often said that those times were about as close to a vacation as they ever had in nearly 60 years of marriage, what with Duane forever concerned with the ranch and cattle.

Helen is survived by husband Duane, son Corbet (Gina) Reece, daughter Kaycee (Mike) Jones, four grandchildren Austin Stratton, Wheeler Reece, Aisa (Jeremiah) White and Audrey Reece, and soon to be four great-grandchildren.

Private services will be held at a later date.