Louise H. Reaves
November 26, 1917 – January 5, 2013
Victoria "Louise" Henshaw Reaves of Sun City, Arizona passed away peacefully from Alzheimer's at her home Saturday, January 5, 2013 with her children by her side. Louise was born on November 26, 1917 in Martinsburg, WVA to Edgar Levi Henshaw and Victoria Florence Langford Henshaw. Louise loved growing up in West Virginia and spoke fondly of weekends spent with her father at her family's apple orchard which was a haven amidst the Great Depression. In 1933, while singing in the choir, a handsome new blue-eyed acolyte, James "Jim" Muncaster Reaves, caught the attention of this sixteen year old. After two years of Sunday school and youth group together, Jim knew he had found that rare woman whose outward and inner beauty were equally matched. Louise's love of the water kept her in the pool throughout her life so her first job teaching lifesaving classes was a natural fit. She went on to attend Potomac State College of WVU where she studied accounting and business administration leading to a position at Potomac Light & Power. In September, 1942, Louise enlisted in the WAVES (Woman Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, a WWII division of the Navy) where she was assigned to the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts in Washington, DC. One morning at 10 a.m. while at work, she received a life-changing phone call from her mother telling her that Jim Reaves, who was on a ship in the Panama Canal, was taking leave to marry her before attending Gunnery School. On January 17, 1944 with written permission from the Chief of the WAVES to wear a wedding dress and her sister Margie at her side, Louise Henshaw married the love of her life at Trinity Episcopal Church, their mutual home church in Martinsburg, WVA. Louise went on to join a select group of WAVES at Officer Training School (OTS) at Smith College and then to the Naval Supply Depot in Oakland, CA. While Louise was in California with the WAVES, Jim was in the South Pacific where he saw Hiroshima two weeks after the atomic bomb. This event had a huge impact on their future as it lead Jim into the ministry where he eventually became a chaplain in the U.S. Army. In 1947, after three years of marriage, they finally made their first home together in Alexandria, VA where Louise worked at Virginia Episcopal Theological Seminary where Jim was a student. Nine months later, they welcomed the first of their four children in October, 1947. The ministry and later the Army lead the growing Reaves family from Alexandria, VA, to Elm Grove, WV, St. Albans, WV, Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, Whappinger Falls, NY, Nieul-sur-Mer & La Rochelle, France, Munich, Germany, Fort, Benning, GA, Fort Huachuca, AZ, Tucson, AZ, and finally, in 1976, to Sun City, AZ. where Jim served as the first rector of All Saints of the Desert Episcopal Church until his retirement in 1985. Louise was an active member of the Sun City community as well as a member of MOWW (Military Order of the World Wars). Throughout their many moves, Louise provided an incredible home for her family and epitomized the strength, grace, discipline, hospitality, and devotion required of both a military spouse and a pastor's wife. She enjoyed playing the organ at church and singing old hymns. In retirement, they continued to travel the country they loved so dearly spending time with family and sending postcards signed with her signature "xoxo" from the far reaches of the globe. She leaves a legacy of unconditional love, time, and constant devotion to her family that will make her greatly missed. She is preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, James Muncaster Reaves, and her sister, Margaret Ann "Margie" Henshaw Zarnfaller. She is survived by her four children and their families: Ann Henshaw Reaves Burr (Craig) of Buckannan, WV; Helen Victoria "Vicki" Reaves Segraves (Ed) of Atlanta, GA; John Paul Reaves (Elizabeth) of Las Vegas, NV; and Matthew "Matt" Lewis Reaves (Dawn) of Fountain Hills, AZ; as well as three granddaughters who called her “Weezie”: Melanie Reaves Davis Bracey (Stuart) of Atlanta, GA; Lillian Grace Reaves of Reno, NV; and Samantha Brook Reaves of Fountain Hills, AZ. She is also survived by her brother-in-law, Frank M. Reaves (Jane) of Potomac, MD as well as many wonderful nieces, nephews, cousins, and family friends. A private family memorial service will be held on Friday, January 11, 2013 at All Saints of the Desert Episcopal Church in Sun City, AZ. Those desiring may send contributions in Louise's memory to All Saints of the Desert Episcopal Church, 9502 W. Hutton Dr., Sun City, Arizona 85351.
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