Ralph Bernard Reeves III
April 2, 1947 – February 24, 2018
Ralph Bernard Reeves III, the publishing pioneer and entrepreneur, civic and community leader, literato and patron of the arts, died peacefully in his home in Raleigh on February 24, 2018. He was 70 years old. A Raleigh native and life-long resident, Bernie was born to architect Ralph Bernard Reeves Jr. and Frances Campbell Reeves on April 2, 1947. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother, Ross Campbell Reeves.
Bernie is survived by his beloved wife, Katherine Reid Reeves, his son Ralph Bernard Reeves IV of Raleigh; his son Daniel MacQuarrie Reeves of Richmond, Virginia, and his wife, Kelly; his sister-in-law Robin Neuschel Reeves of Norfolk; his niece Cameron Reeves Poynter of Norfolk, her husband William, and their children Will and Jack; his nephew Peter Campbell Reeves of Richmond, his wife Tayloe, and their daughter Alice Campbell Reeves; his father and mother-in-law, Donald Menzies Reid Jr. and Christina Taylor Reid of Wilmington; his sister-in–law Christina Daerr Reid of Raleigh; and his brother-in-law Donald Menzies Reid III of Wilmington, his wife Suzanne, and their son Donald Menzies Reid IV. Bernie attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he received a BA degree in History. He would continue to study history and take every opportunity to educate others on the subject through lively, impromptu lectures.
Bernie began his professional career selling radio and print ads before he became a marketing consultant for FMI. In 1978, Bernie found his true calling when he launched Spectator Magazine, the first city weekly in the South and the first editorial engine that covered the rising tide of the Triangle identity. Through its content, and its extensive regional Calendar of Events, Spectator effectively established “The Triangle” as a multi-city cultural enclave and advertising market. Spectator was also the region’s first weekly alternative magazine to be produced on newsprint and distributed free on newsstands.
As publisher and editor-in-chief, Bernie authored Spectator’s weekly editorial, “Mr. Spectator,” which his small army of full-time staff and freelance contributors often used as a term of endearment for the man himself, even when the Conservative ideology and pull-no-punches opinions he espoused in his editorials infuriated the more Liberal among his team. It should be noted that he contained his opinions – at least in print -- on page four. He never expected nor suggested that any other element in the magazine reflect his thinking.
Bernie founded Triangle Business Journal in 1985, the first business weekly in North Carolina, whose success he soon followed in Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem by launching Triad Business. For several years, Bernie published North Carolina Architect, the official periodical of the North Carolina chapter of the American Institute of Architects. (AIA NC). He also published the Raleigh Bicentennial Magazine in 1992 and co-founded the North Carolina Film & Video Festival in 1995. In 1999, Bernie and his wife, Katie, launched Raleigh Metro Magazine, a glossy, sophisticated city/regional magazine whose coverage expanded from the Triangle to the coast. For Metro, he wrote “My Usual Charming Self,” an opinion piece whose title was a tongue-in-cheek reference to Bernie’s willingness to forego polite decorum when an occasion warranted it. An outspoken advocate for Conservative politics, he was not always defined as a Republican. However, his politics were solidified when he ran for US Congress in District 13 in 2010 and was defeated by a “Tea Party” Republican in a runoff. Throughout much of his career, Bernie was a champion in his fight against the PC movement and the dismantling of traditional studies in all levels of education. He also believed that intelligence was the calculus of the modern era. Bernie created the Raleigh Spy Conference in 2003 to address the mounting flow of declassified information available since the end of the Cold War, correcting the historical record. Bernie was a producer of several intelligence documentaries and he was executive producer for “Moving Midway,” a documentary by Godfrey Cheshire.
Bernie Reeves received many awards for his work, both professional and in service to his community, including the Benjamin Fine Award for Educational Writing, the Governors Business in the Arts award, the Isosceles Award from AIA NC’s Triangle section for distinguished service by maintaining coverage of the architectural profession in both Spectator and Raleigh Metro. He received the Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit from Preservation North Carolina for his publications’ coverage of historic preservation. And in 2011, the Association of Retired Intelligence Officers honored him with its Intelligence Community Award for founding and producing the Raleigh Spy Conference.
Bernie served on numerous community boards and advisory committees. He was the first chairman of the Raleigh Downtown Advisory Committee and a three-term president for Hilltop Home, a residential care facility for severely and profoundly disabled children. He served on The English Speaking Union’s board of directors and on the Business Advisory Committee for the Office of the Secretary of State, Arts and Humanities, at UNC. He was an advisory committee member for the Raleigh Hall of Fame and Theatre in the Park, and served on the Nike Tour board for the Boys and Girls Club of Wake County. He was also a member of many business and social organizations, including the Fifty Group, the National Press Club, the OSS Society, AFIO, The Captain Cook Society, the Sphinx Club, and the Four Seasons Cotillion.
He loved playing golf at the Carolina Country Club and holding court at the 19th hole. He was a pioneer, a visionary, and a raconteur. To most people in his orbit, he was always the smartest person in the room. Bernie Reeves loved his family and his hometown deeply. His devotion to elevating the community in which he lived and worked was tireless and palpable at all times. A memorial service will be held on Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 11:00am at Christ Episcopal Church, 120 E. Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC, followed by a reception.
*** Special Thanks to his talented medical team and Centerpeace Home Healthcare. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to Transitions LifeCare, the North Carolina Heart and Vascular Hospital, Hilltop Home, or Christ Episcopal Church.
- Memorial Service Thursday, March 1, 2018
Ralph Bernard Reeves III
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March 2, 2018
From the early 1960s at the Carolina Country Club to the freshman year in Craig Dorm at UNC to the later years of the Metro Magazine, the Spy Conference and informal conversations on a wide ranging topics, I found Bernie to be genuinely unique, provocative, and informative. Sadly this brilliant light of your personality and wit has been extinguished. Bernie you will be missed, my friend.
February 28, 2018
I spent quite a bit of time with Bernie at a local medical facility, and though I was a novice of history he entertained every thought I spoke with detailed commentary. What is most rewarding about Bernie was his great ability to give a hard truth without apology and reward me with that same truth to empower, and to apply to the best of my abilities. Thank you Bernie rest well my friend......
February 26, 2018
So sorry for your loss. You and Bernie shared such a full life. I'm sending prayers for you and your family to find peace during this time.
February 26, 2018
Will miss you. Definitely one of the real characters I hav e known. RIP Bernie✝
February 26, 2018
Dan and family, So sorry for your loss. Your Dad was loved by all who knew him and will be missed. You all are in my thought and prayers. Connie Hogan
February 25, 2018
Bernie was one of a kind! He will be greatly missed.
Sending love to you Katie
Patsy and Benson Campbell
February 25, 2018
Katie, Dan and Bee,
What a guy! Once in a lifetime someone like Bernie comes along and you are blessed! Love, prayers and hugs for each of you all. He owns a special place in our hearts!
Benson and Patsy Gallagher Campbell