Cover photo for Charles Thomas Reaves's Obituary
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1937 Charles 2021

Charles Thomas Reaves

August 30, 1937 — December 1, 2021

Charles Thomas Reaves passed away at his home, December 1, 2021, which enabled him to join his heavenly family for his mother’s birthday.
Charles was born in Chanute, Kansas on August 30, 1937 to Edmund Noah Reaves and Ora Belle (Byram) Reaves.

Charles grew up along the banks of the Neosho River in Humboldt, Kansas and graduated from Chanute High School in 1956 where he was active in FFA and was on the judging team that went to Nationals and earned a Gold Emblem Classification in poultry judging.

He was part of a family of 10 children which includes Verna Rives, Jo Ann Storck, Eugene Reaves, Dorothy Setter, Larry Reaves, and Janet Reaves. He was preceded in death by siblings, Virginia Smith, Leon Reaves and Edmund Reaves, Jr.

Charles married Sharon Louise Nelson on October 17, 1958 at the Vilas Bethel Lutheran Church. They had 4 children, Cynthia Sue Cherry, Nelson Alan, Craig Thomas & Carl Dean (Jennifer). Charles was known as papa to Grandchildren, Dr. Mikaela, Kerstin & Bethany Cherry and grandpa to Clara (Jake Green), Abigale & Hunter Reaves. He has four Great-Grandchildren, Ella, Marlee, Avery & Ronnie Green. Charles is preceded in death by his son, Nelson (1962-1963) and Son-in-law Brent Cherry (1957-2010).

Charles started out his career doing construction, welding and running a gas station before joining his father-in-law on the farm in Vilas, Kansas. Charles put his construction and welding skills to work on many projects including building their forever home on the hill west of Vilas.

Charles was an early member of the Rural Fire Fighters in the area, an endeavor that his sons still participate in. The family has been members of the National Farmer’s Organization since 1960 and made many friends across the state while attending state and national meetings.

As a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Chanute, Charles was a member of various boards and committees. Charles and Sharon were leaders of the youth group early on in their marriage and again when their children were involved. Charles’s ability to encourage orneriness may have contributed to some of the shenanigans the youth group pulled such as riding the donkey into the church in between performances of the Living Nativity.

When it came to 4-H, Charles’s main part was in helping with the pigs and pulling the camper to the county and state fairs. This fall the Reaves family received the Wilson County 4-H Legacy Family of the Year award. As soon as the fair was over, the camper was restocked and we would head out on vacation. Every couple of years we headed to the Northwest to visit relatives and enjoy National Parks while listening to Charles on the CB radio where his handle was Cowpoke. Many weekends were spent at area lakes camping and visiting with friends. While there were many trips throughout the country, Charles especially enjoyed his fishing trip to Canada.

Charles was always at his children’s school events. He volunteered to be on the “chain gang” at football games so he would have the best view of the field while watching his sons play. Even though Parkinson’s had robbed him of much of his mobility, he attended as many events of the grandchildren as he could.

While Charles farmed, he was a cowboy at heart. He loved rounding up and working cattle with his neighbors in the spring. This group of neighbors was featured in Kansas magazine one year riding their horses and herding the cattle. We always joked that we had a father that was a centerfold since his picture was right under the staple. After feeding the cattle during the slower winter months he could be found at Fred’s Treds, Lenny’s gas station or Airgas drinking coffee and catching up on the latest gossip.

When Charles turned 50 the family held a Mountain Oyster Fry to celebrate. (Had to use up all those nuts from working cattle somehow) Charles would oversee the cooking of the mountain oysters, fish, chicken and whatever wild game needed to be cleaned out of the freezer while the 100+ friends and neighbors would provide the side dishes. They continued the tradition every Labor Day up until 2020 when just the family was able to carry on and celebrate his birthday.

Memorials may be made to Zion Lutheran Church or the Wilson County Rural Fire District and can be left with or mailed to the funeral home.

We encourage everyone to have a piece of pie in honor of Charles as every time he would come in and see a pie cooling on the counter he would ask “Who died?”

Visitation will be held Friday December 10, 2021, from 6-8 P.M. at Wickham Family Funeral Home 500 North Forest Ave. Chanute, KS 66720.

Celebration of Life Funeral Service will be December 11, 2021 at 1:30 P.M. at Zion Lutheran Church 1202 W. Main St, Chanute, KS 66720, with burial to follow at Vilas Bethel Cemetery.

Services are under the guidance of Wickham Family Funeral Home 500 North Forest Ave. Chanute, KS.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Charles Thomas Reaves, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, December 10, 2021

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, December 11, 2021

1:30 - 2:30 pm (Central time)

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