OBITUARY

Eddie Harold Reames Sr.

February 20, 1935January 20, 2021

Eddie Harold Reames, Sr., age 85, of St. Francisville, Louisiana, known to his friends as Eddie, and to his family as Harold, Daddy, or Papa, died peacefully in his sleep in the Butterfly Wing of The Hospice Care of Baton Rouge at the downtown Baton Rouge General, the hospital where his children were born. He never left the house without wearing blue jeans, a western shirt—always snaps, not buttons—Justin cowboy boots, and a cap or cowboy hat, depending on the occasion or heat of the sun. When he could no longer find the boot style that he preferred, he just kept duct taping the old pair. And if he met you at the feed store or farmers’ co-op, he would tip the brim of his hat and ask you how you were doing before moving on to talk about the weather. On extremely warm days, of which there are many in south Louisiana, his expression was usually, “Hot tomighty no.” The expression may have begun as “God almighty no,” but his church treasurer Methodist mother would surely have trained that out of him at an early age. Eddie grew up in Rogillioville, Louisiana, in West Feliciana Parish where he helped his father grow cotton, potatoes, sugar cane, pumpkins and watermelons. He developed skills as the best turkey caller in the parish, using his throat and mouth to call wild turkeys for the hunt. As a young boy, he would walk through the woods and hollows, crossing over a branch of Thompson Creek to visit his grandmother whom he called Mamma-Over-the-Creek. He raised and showed 4-H livestock and handled horses and mules on the family farm. He and his wife Virginia, who both attended Julius Freyhan High School, began dating at a 4-H picnic in 9th grade. Eddie played defensive and offensive end on the football team and later graduated from St. Francisville High School. He attended LSU for two years where he studied agriculture before marrying Virginia in 1956. In addition to his work as a farmer, Eddie worked as a technical operator at Texas Eastern natural gas pumping plant for thirty-four years. He and Virginia remained loving companions and were never separated in their 64 years of marriage until he was moved to Grace Health and Rehab Center in Slaughter, LA, in February of last year. Eddie was a lover of the land. He said that houses come and go but that the land is here to stay. He was a farmer of sweet and Irish potatoes, sugar cane, tomatoes, and huge plots of green beans, okra, watermelons, purple hull peas, and all of the wonders a south Louisiana garden can provide for its families. He and his father often raced to see who could produce the first tomato of the year and debated about whether Better Boys or Creoles had the best flavor. They also competed to see who got the least rain, complaining that the summer showers skipped their gardens that were no more than ten miles apart. Eddie also raised Angus cattle and Quarter Horses and supported his children in 4-H livestock exhibitions and rodeo competitions and all of the things he enjoyed while growing up. He spent his summers baling hay—square bales, not round—and working his cattle; spring was for new calves and breaking ground for the garden; and winter was spent fixing fence and searching his woods for the best cedar Christmas tree. Eddie also loved growing things. He was known for bringing home a menagerie of Catahoula curs, goats, pigs, chickens, burros, rabbits, peacocks, and even skunks. He created yard art out of old satellite dishes that became rose arbors and his father’s boots that became birdhouses, all painted yellow along with his fence posts to honor America’s soldiers and particularly his grandson when he was deployed to Afghanistan. And he grew plants from his mother’s garden—cuttings, seedlings, and bulbs of canna, altheas, sweet olives, crepe myrtles, Japanese magnolias, and gardenias. The rugged farmer never tired of the wonders of nature and loved to share the early spring return of purple martins and robins, the colors of a rainbow or sunset, the beauty of a newborn colt or calf, the intricacies of a spider web. All were magical to him. Eddie loved and supported his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and placed family above everything else in life. He loved country music, family trips to see bluebonnets in Texas, the Smoky Mountains, the Grand Ole Opry, and livestock shows. On one of those family vacations he sold tomatoes along the way to help pay for the expenses. He also loved Sunday dinners with his family, a tradition that his mother began by gathering her children and their children together after church for a huge spread of home grown vegetables, fried chicken, cornbread and whatever latest cake recipe she was trying. He took the role of fatherhood and grand fatherhood seriously and strived to guide, direct, and correct his children throughout their lives, but he also offered his love and support to the fatherless children of friends and family over the years. He took them hunting, helped them raise livestock for 4-H competitions, or guided them in training their horses. Eddie was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia Dipple Reames, who died just over six weeks before him. He is also preceded in death by his parents Eddie Flowers Reames and Mary Catherine Thoms Reames, as well as his sister Catherine Fay Foil. He is survived by his sisters Dorothy Temple and Doris Jeanette Brian. He is also survived by his children and their spouses Mary Reames, Ed and Julie Reames, Ruth Caillouet and Barbara Holland, and Al and Bonnie Reames; his grandchildren Daniel Caillouet and his wife Shira, Greg Parr and his wife Adie, Dylan Reames and his wife Leanne, Trace Reames and his fiancé Kaylan Wood, and Allison Reames; his great grandchildren Samantha Bradley, Harper and Paisley Caillouet, Adelyn and Aubrey Parr, Haley Reames, and Hudson Reames. The family will gather for a private burial in St. Francisville as Eddie has tipped the brim of his hat for the last time. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Alzheimer’s Association to fund critical research and family support for the disease that stole away Eddie’s memories in his later years or to The Hospice of Baton Rouge who cared for both Eddie and his beloved Virginia in their final days.

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