Jay Martin Reeves, Sr. of Garwood, passed away Jan. 9, 2017. Jay was born June 14, 1941 in Beaumont, Texas, to J.W. Reeves and Estelle Dedmond Reeves. Jay married Vera Caroline Smith on Jan. 1, 1960. Jay had honorably served his country in the US Army at the cusp of the Vietnam War. Jay was a voracious book reader, hunter and outdoorsman. He was a savvy poker player and he was an artist with an arc welder or acetylene torch. Jay was always willing to help a neighbor and he was the go-to guy when a neighbor needed to be pulled out of the ditch or nearby creek.
Jay lived abundantly, in spite of the calamities that life presented him. Jay’s early life was fraught with misfortune. He was separated from his family for financial reasons, and life in orphanages and foster homes did not bode well for him. Jay survived living on the streets for a year at the age of twelve before divine intervention interceded through the Kovar family. Mom and Pop Kovar soon embraced him as one of their own; this was an act of love that he would cherish throughout his life. Later he owned and operated his own full-service gas station before working in oil and gas for several Houston-based petroleum companies. In that time, he earned his pilot’s license and flew his own single-engine plane and just about anything else he could talk folks into letting him fly. After retiring due to the onset of Multiple Sclerosis, Jay and Vera moved to an acreage in the Rock Island/Garwood countryside where Jay built a home with his own hands complete with a pond and workshop. Jay found peace of mind amidst the host of maladies that accompany Multiple Sclerosis, and the aftermath of fighting and beating cancer, by working the land, welding, working in his shop and tending to the farm. He had surprised Vera by taking her to a stable to ride horses, and she was delighted to find that the horse she was riding was going home with her, hence the naming of her horse, “True” for a dream come true. This, of course, was just the first of many horses that followed. But as time went on in country living, Jay and Vera longed for more out of life; they both attended Wharton Community College and obtained their degrees in criminal justice. Jay went to work for the Eagle Lake Police Department and later the Colorado County Sheriff’s Department and finally concluding his law enforcement career as a police officer for the city of Weimar. He valued his time in law enforcement, having always been a people person, serving those in need and helping misguided children, which filled a living niche in his need to give something back.
Learning to be a parent was a process for Jay, but certainly a process he never gave up on and welcomed. He was active in coaching his son’s little league team, following him in FFA and enjoyed time hunting geese, deer and mule deer in Colorado. His twin daughters relished the many motorcycle rides, small plane flights, dune buggy rides and their dad’s competitive spirit as he sat in the stands at their softball games. He was a grandfather that enjoyed holding the babies and teasing them as they grew older. Yet pride would well in his chest as he watched his grandsons excel in baseball, his granddaughter graduate from Texas A&M, and another grandson quickly rise up the ranks in the USMC/Special Forces.
He lived to see his two great-grandchildren but as life would have it, ill health would keep him from making memories with them. No, life was never easy for Jay, living to experience that which life tried to keep from him was his daily charge. And to quote, in part, the words of John Gillespie Magee’s poem “High Flight,”: “I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace where never lark nor ever eagle flew – and while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space, put out my hand, and touched the face of God.” Jay Martin Reeves, Sr. lived and left a beautiful contrail behind.
Jay is survived by his loving family: twin daughters and sons-in-law, Carolyn and Tim Markham of Gonzales, Karen and Ramon Ramirez of Lake Jackson, son and daughter-in-law, Jay Martin Reeves, Jr, and Margaret of Katy; grandchildren, John Ross Ramirez, Holly Markham Cantu (Said), Brandon Reeves, Jeff Markham (Jackie), Audrey Ramirez, Wyatt Reeves, Jared Markham and Hayden Reeves; great-grandchildren, Savannah Marie Cantu and Avery Thomas Markham; and his beloved extended family, Shirley and Larry Pate, Eddie Kovar, Gary Kovar, Jack and Christy Kovar and Mary Kovar. He was preceded in death by his loving and doting wife, Vera Caroline Reeves, his parents, a cherished brother, Garth and dear Mom and Pop Kovar, Sherry Kovar, and Brenda Kovar.
A memorial graveside inurnment service will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Garwood or Rock Island Volunteer Fire Departments, the American Heart Association, or the charity of one’s choice. Services are under the care and direction of Seydler-Hill Funeral Home.