Starine Reese, a United Way executive who was responsible for funding community projects in five counties, died Feb. 6 of cancer, her family said. She was 60.
Ms. Reese was in charge of distribution of grants to nonprofit groups as vice president of community impact for United Way California Capital Region. She oversaw relationships with 140 local agencies that partner with the United Way in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties.
"Starine had a nickname: 'The Velvet Hammer,' " said Steve Heath of United Way California Capital Region. "She was very firm and very focused. But she had a remarkable ability to get along with people and understand their concerns and listen."
Ms. Reese was an active volunteer and fundraiser during 17 years at United Way California Capital Region. She previously worked as director of community services at the Presidio in San Francisco.
Born in 1951, Starine Louise Cheek grew up in Huntington Beach and earned a clinical psychology degree from California State University, Fullerton. She worked as a Salvation Army counselor in Los Angeles and a family therapist for the city of Garden Grove.
She was divorced from her former husband, William Reese, and lived in Roseville.
Survivors include her daughter, Alexandra of Chico; sister, Linda Wilkerson of Lincoln; and brother, Marc Cheek of Blackfoot, Idaho.
A celebration of life is set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 25 at Masonic Lodge No. 64, 1000 Duchow Way, Folsom. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Ms. Reese may be made to United Way California Capital Region or American Cancer Society.