Jim Bob's memoir
JAMES ROBERT REEVES
December 24, 1946 – February 13, 2023
James Robert “Jim Bob” Reeves was born on Christmas Eve, 1946, to a devout Methodist couple, M.B. and Nan Liner Reeves, and was baptized at Crabtree Methodist Church in Haywood County. After a childhood at Crabtree, and upon influence of his parents and pastors, Jim Bob felt called to ordained ministry as a teenager. He received an Associate of Arts degree from Brevard College in 1966, an Artium Baccalaureus degree from Scarritt College in 1968, a Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School in 1971, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew University in 1986.
Jim Bob received his Local Pastor’s License in 1966, was admitted to the Western North Carolina Conference in probationary membership and ordained as a deacon in 1970, and was admitted in full connection and ordained as an elder in 1974.
Immediately after finishing Duke Divinity School, he went on an archeological dig in Israel for three months, having been appointed as a missionary through the General Board of Missions. After returning to the United States in September 1971, he received a special appointment to his home church, as the associate pastor of Crabtree United Methodist Church. In 1972, the Rev. Don Haynes had the privilege of asking for Jim Bob to be appointed to join him as one of the pastors at Burkhead United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem. With his youth, his warm smile and personality, and his bright mind, he was immediately beloved. Jim Bob remained at Burkhead for a year after Don was moved in 1973, and they remained close friends.
Jim Bob's service in the WNCC included: Student, 1970-71; Missionary, General Board, 1971; Associate, Crabtree (Waynesville District), 1971-72; Burkhead (Winston-Salem), 1972-74; Union Chapel-Chestnut Grove (Thomasville District), 1974-78; McKendree-Rocky Mount (Statesville District), 1978-84; First (Valdese), 1984-88; New Salem (Statesville District), 1988-90; Maylo (Gastonia), 1990-94; Denver (Charlotte District), 1994-97; Pisgah (Gastonia District), 1997-2001; Christ Boulevard (Statesville), 2001-08; and McKendree (Gastonia District), 2008-12. Jim Bob retired in 2012.
For 25 years, Jim Bob was director of the School for the Licensing of Local Pastors for the Western North Carolina Conference and served two quadrennia on the Board of Ordained Ministry.
In 1978, Jim Bob was introduced to Robin Alexander by Joan Haynes, with whom Robin was teaching at South Iredell High School. After their “love at first sight” and a brief courtship, they were married on March 25, 1979! The Rev. Donald Haynes heard their vows at Central UMC in Mooresville, Robin’s home church. To their marriage were born three lovely daughters—Anna Elizabeth, Sarah Katherine, and Laura Nan. Sarah has been mentally challenged since birth and since age 29 has lived in a caring environment at Twenty-Third Street Group Home in Newton, N.C.
Jim Bob's and Robin’s lives and ministry were changed forever when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1982 at 35 years of age. His theological reflection on that debilitating disease was that it gave him more empathy with parishioners who suffered incurable and/or terminal illnesses. He soldiered on with grit and grace. The love and courage he and Robin shared enabled him to continue “under appointment” for another 31 years!
Upon Jim Bob’s retirement in 2012, he and Robin remodeled his childhood home on Reeves Cove Road in Haywood County. The house was built in 1866 after his great-grandfather returned from fighting in the Civil War. The Reeves' family farm also provided the stones for the Lake Junaluska Memorial Chapel.
Jim Bob and Robin were active at Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church; Jim Bob had a beautiful voice and was especially active in the chancel choir. Although his mobility was limited, Jim Bob remained active in his garden by crawling on his knees to pick beans. He also loved refinishing furniture, and his greatest joy was spending time with his three daughters and his grandchildren: Heggie Richardson, Reeves Mann, and Archie Mann.
In recent years, he contracted other highly limiting diseases and, in the words of King David, “went the way of all the earth” on February 13, 2023. His memorial service was held at Long’s Chapel UMC, with the Rev. Chris Westmoreland officiating. Jim Bob's wife, Robin, and their daughters, Anna and Laura Nan, provided the eulogy.
Having been released from his earthly body, Jim Bob has now been able to fully embody his favorite verse, Isaiah 40:31: “...but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Donald W. Haynes and Robin Alexander Reeves