This article originally appeared in The Southampton Press »
Renee Schilhab Bullock, a former journalist, landscape designer, musician and documentary filmmaker, died of liver and peritoneal cancer at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., on June 14. She was 61.
She was surrounded by family and friends when she died. Together with her caregivers, family and friends, she waged a strong fight against this particularly aggressive cancer for more than eight months, according to her family.
The daughter of Hartwig and Hildegard Schilhab, Ms. Bullock was born and raised in Toronto. She maintained her Canadian citizenship throughout her life. She spent her teenage years in Scarborough and Thornhill, Ontario — suburbs of Toronto — and graduated from Woburn Collegiate High School in 1975.
After attending York University for a year, Ms. Bullock put her college education on hold and, together with other area musicians, started an “all-girl” punk rock band called the B-Girls. The B-Girls gained some acclaim in the Toronto and New York City punk scene in the late 1970s the early 1980s. The band opened for the Clash at venues in Toronto and at one time sang back-up vocals with Blondie.
After the B-Girls broke up, Ms. Bullock moved to New York City and worked her way through college, graduating from City University of New York with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and communications.
After a brief stint at a regional newspaper in Hamden, Connecticut, Ms. Bullock was hired as a reporter at The Southampton Press in 1989. She covered local government and wrote hundreds of articles and feature stories. She worked at The Southampton Press until 1994. Following her time at The Southampton Press, Ms. Bullock self-published a book of restaurant reviews called “Granny Poo’s.”
In 1996, Ms. Bullock moved to Washington, D.C., where she wrote some freelance articles for the New York Times and the New York Post.
Though busy raising two children, she began a new career as a landscape designer, taking a certificate course in landscape design at George Washington University. She worked with local crews in the D.C. area and designed and installed dozens of residential gardens, including hardscapes, water features, lighting plans, plantings and walkways. Her clients were always pleased with her work and would often tell her how they are reminded of her every time they go outside and see her handiwork, according to her family.
The most recent phase of her professional life involved an interest in documentary filmmaking. Studying again at George Washington University, she earned a graduate certificate in documentary filmmaking from GW’s Institute for Documentary Filmmaking. This involved learning how to handle the technical aspects of operating the camera and sound equipment, storytelling and concept development, as well as production and execution of documentary filmmaking.
Her team at GW produced an award-winning short documentary titled “Boys in the Boat” which chronicled the lives of young men with cognitive disabilities who enriched their lives by participating in a rowing program based in Northeast, D.C., on the Anacostia River.
Ms. Bullock had started work on a new film that examined the impact to an historic African-American community called Union Hill, in Buckingham County, Virginia, that is fighting to stop the construction of a gas pipeline through their community. Yogaville, a nearby ashram, and major environmental justice groups, also oppose the project.
Ms. Bullock was a devoted mother and wife and had many long-time close friends from each of the phases of her life. She was a great cook, loved to travel, eat barbecue, and listen to music, her family said.
She was always interested in other people and the stories they had to tell about their lives, according to her family, and was always there for her friends and they were there for her.
Ms. Bullock is survived by her husband, Tony Bullock, a former East Hampton Town supervisor; their children, Monty and Alex; her sister-in-law Lisa; her in-laws Charles and Susan; and her brother Gregory.
Ms. Bullock will be laid to rest at Cedar Lawn Cemetery on Cooper Lane in East Hampton. There will be a graveside service on Saturday, June 20, at 11:30 a.m. The family welcomes all friends of Ms. Bullock who are on the East End to attend.
The Reverend Denis C. Brunelle of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Hampton will officiate. Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton is handling the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Ms. Bullock’s name to the Tregaron Conservancy in Washington, D.C., be considered, at https://tregaron.org/donate/