For­mer jour­nal­ist, mu­sic store owner dies

El­iz­a­beth Comte Reis­man was 55

Connecticut Post - - NEWS - By Ethan Fry

WEST­PORT — El­iz­a­beth Comte Reis­man, a for­mer award-win­ning jour­nal­ist and the owner of Cre­ative Mu­sic Cen­ter in Mon­roe, died Wed­nes­day at the age of 55.

She was di­ag­nosed with glioblas­toma, an ag­gres­sive brain can­cer, in Au­gust 2016, ac­cord­ing to her hus­band, Michael Reis­man.

Friends and fam­ily re­mem­bered her as a tire­less sup­porter of mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion who sup­ported a litany of lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions and mu­sic groups, in ad­di­tion to giv­ing schol­ar­ships to lo­cal youths for les­sons and in­stru­ment rentals.

“Her per­son­al­ity is such that she would come into a room and just lighten up that room,” said Kate Rich, who now runs the store. “There was a bright­ness and a di­rect­ness about her that made her very ap­proach­able.”

Reis­man served on the boards of di­rec­tors of the National As­so­ci­a­tion of School Mu­sic Deal­ers and the National As­so­ci­a­tion of Mu­sic Mer­chants, which listed the Cre­ative Mu­sic Cen­ter among in its list of the Top 100 Mu­sic Deal­ers na­tion­wide in seven of the last eight years.

Joe La­mond, pres­i­dent and CEO of the NAMM, said Reis­man’s ded­i­ca­tion to mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion went be­yond the Mon­roe area, tak­ing part in the group’s “fly-in” to Washington, D.C., to lobby law­mak­ers to com­mit more fed­eral fund­ing to mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion.

“As a com­mu­nity mu­sic store, she re­ally set the tone for what a lo­cal busi­ness could be,” La­mond said.

Rick Sad­lon, di­rec­tor of mu­sic at Darien Pub­lic Schools, said Reis­man was a re­cip­i­ent of the Con­necti­cut Arts Ad­min­is­tra­tors As­so­ci­a­tion Ad­vo­cacy Award for her “ex­em­plary ser­vice to mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion com­mu­nity.”

“We al­ways felt that she was a strong ad­vo­cate for us and she was a team mem­ber in our cor­ner to pro­mote mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion through­out our state,” Sad­lon said. “She will re­ally be missed a lot by many of us.”

Be­fore run­ning the mu­sic store on Route 25 in Mon­roe, Reis­man worked as a jour­nal­ist, first re­port­ing on the sports busi­ness for pub­li­ca­tions in­clud­ing The Sport­ing News and The National Sports Daily.

She went on to Forbes and Smart Money mag­a­zines, where she won three National Mag­a­zine Awards, and Golf Di­gest, where she led the launch of Golf Di­gest Women and served as its manag­ing edi­tor.

Reis­man left jour­nal­ism in 2002 to re­turn to her first love — mu­sic — hav­ing played flute with the Oak­land Youth Sym­phony Or­ches­tra and the Bay Area Wind Sym­phony while grow­ing up in Cal­i­for­nia.

As her hus­band, Michael, re­called Thurs­day, their daugh­ter, Saman­tha, was tak­ing pi­ano les­sons in Mon­roe when they learned the store would be clos­ing in 2002.

“About an hour later (El­iz­a­beth) said ‘You know what? I think we should buy the store,’ ” Michael said. “She was a very de­ter­mined lady when she made up her mind on some­thing.”

Un­der Reis­man’s own­er­ship, the store moved from a 500-square-foot space in the back of a com­mer­cial condo com­plex to a new 5,000square-foot build­ing that now has 10 stu­dios and dozens of em­ploy­ees.

Rich said Reis­man was a very dear friend in ad­di­tion to be­ing her boss.

“I can’t tell you my grat­i­tude for be­ing lucky enough to have our time to­gether,” she said.

Michael Reis­man echoed the sen­ti­ment.

“It’s a real loss but she had a very full life in 55 years,” he said.

Con­trib­uted photo

El­iz­a­beth Comte Reis­man, an award-win­ning for­mer jour­nal­ist and the owner of Cre­ative Mu­sic Cen­ter in Mon­roe, died Wed­nes­day. She was 55.

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