Bennie Boyd Reeves, 91, of Irrigon, Oregon, passed away, October 27, 2017. He was born January 30, 1926, in Galesburg, Illinois, to parents Ernest Thomas and Florence Rachel (Winder) Reeves.
The family moved to Umatilla, Oregon, when he was 6 months old and there he grew up in a loving family with an older brother, Harold, and four younger sisters, Dottie, Norma, Rita Jean and Patsy. He attended Umatilla schools, graduating in 1944. He loved sports and would say that is what kept him in school.
Upon graduating, he reported for military service in the United States Navy, serving two years from May 1944, receiving an honorable discharge with the rank of Seaman First Class May 19, 1946. During World War II, he was deployed to the Armed Guard Center (Pacific). He served on the SS Jack Stinger and the SS Coquille and was discharged from the Navy in Bremerton, Washington. He was the recipient of the Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal, the American Area Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.
He was married to Joyce Arlene Barnett from 1947 to 1967. They had two children, Sandi and Marlin. In 1968 he married Maxine (Nielsen) Reeves; she passed away in 2007. Maxine had four daughters, Carleen, Carmen, Lynn and Leslie, who became part of Bennie’s family.
Throughout his life Bennie enjoyed gardening, woodworking, fishing, dancing and watching sports. He appreciated Native American culture and loved western movies. He never met a stranger and was known for his affectionate nature and his playful sense of humor. A hardworking man, he was employed at the Umatilla Army Depot from where he retired after 30 years as a machinist. After enjoying retirement for a short time, he began working for Columbia Jr. High in Irrigon, until he decided to “really” retire.
He was an active life VFW member, something he was always passionate about. He held offices, was in Color Guard, and participated in many activities.
He is survived by children Marlin, Sandi, Carleen, Carmen, Lynn and Leslie, and sisters Norma and Rita Jean, in addition to numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by parents Ernest and Florence Reeves; brother Harold Reeves; sisters Dottie Stephens and Patsy Hutchinson; wife Maxine (Nielsen); grandson Steven Reeves; and great-grandson Austin Reeves.
A Celebration of Life service with military honors will be held at Burns Mortuary chapel, Hermiston, Oregon, Friday, November 3 at 11:00 a.m.
Those who wish may make contributions in Bennie’s memory to the VFW Avenue of Flags at the Hermiston Cemetery.
Please sign the online condolence book at burnsmortuaryhermiston.com
Burns Mortuary of Hermiston, Oregon, is in care of arrangements