William Reeves

On Monday, September 16, 2019, the Reverend William Reeves, loving husband and father of three children, passed away at Cedarfield, after a period of declining health. The oldest of three children, Bill was born in Southport, Conn., on September 3, 1934, to William Reeves and Elizabeth Lee Chappell Reeves. He grew up in Southport, Conn., singing in the boys choir at Trinity Episcopal Church and sailing on Long Island Sound. Bill attended Phillip’s Academy Andover and received an undergraduate degree from Yale University, a masters degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard University and a Master of Divinity from The Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. A lifelong educator, Bill began his teaching career at New Asia College in Hong Kong as one of two “Yali bachelors” selected to participate in the Yale in China Program. In 1963, following his ordination to the Episcopal Ministry, he moved to Honolulu, where he served as Head of the Religion Department and Director of Admissions and College Counseling at Iolani, an Episcopal day school. During his time in Honolulu, he became a champion of contemporaneous social justice issues. In 1970, Bill was named Headmaster at Chatham Hall, a girls boarding school in Chatham, Va. During his tenure there, he also served briefly as both chaplain and Religion teacher. In 1976, he became Headmaster of the Collegiate Boys School, a position he held for a decade. When Collegiate was restructured into an upper school and middle school, he was instrumental in the design of the new middle school, which he then headed for five years before stepping down to become Director of Faculty Development and Senior Ethics teacher. While at Collegiate, he was a powerful force for innovation, open-mindedness and inclusivity. Religion was always an important part of Bill’s life. As an ordained Episcopal priest, he ministered to many diverse congregations over the course of his professional career. In Richmond, Bill served as both lay priest and interim rector at numerous Episcopal churches, including All Saints and St. John’s where his 4th great-grandfather, William Fitzhugh Lee, had also served as Rector in the 1800s. At the time of his death, Bill was Priest in Residence at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Richmond. In retirement, Bill enjoyed traveling to see friends and family, cheering on the Cougars and the Seahawks, counseling those in need of solace or spiritual guidance and sailing in Urbanna. He was never happier than when sailing his Wind Dancer in a stiff breeze on the Rappahannock. Bill was a people person. He inspired and challenged those around him and possessed the rare gift of seeing the innate goodness in everyone he met. Friends and family will remember him for the many lives he touched and for all he left behind – generosity of spirit, kindness, caring, compassion and creativity, wit, wisdom, joyful enthusiasm and the ever present twinkle in his eyes. Bill was predeceased by his parents; and his grandson, Zackary Reeves Dolan. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jane Weisenbarger Reeves; and three children, William H. Reeves of Honolulu, Hawaii (Debbie Berger), Hannah Reeves Cook of Carlisle, Mass. (Tom Cook), Molly Reeves Dolan of Richmond (Matt Dolan); as well as three grandchildren, Eliana Jade Reeves, Kiara Lily Reeves and Wila Sage Reeves Cook. He is also survived by his sisters, Carol Parke of Richmond and Ann Reeves of Redding, Conn.; and 13 nieces and nephews. The family wishes to thank the Cedarfield Community for their extraordinary care and compassion especially during the final chapter of Bill’s life. A memorial service will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Grace Street on Saturday, September 28, at 11 a.m. with reception to follow at the church.


Bill and I were roommates in our junior and senior years along with Skip Vilas and John Oates (four years). Upon graduation, Bill moved to Hong Kong as a teacher in the Yale in China program. While there, he contracted amoebic dysentery and had to come home for treatment which he received in Boston (I not sure which medical facility). He spent several months in recuperation at his parents’ home in Southport, CT, during which time I was able to spend weekends with him, while the ship to which I was attached was in the Philadelphia Shipyard. Our relationship remained very close until he died. Ed Selig and I were the only classmates who attended Bill’s funeral in Richmond, where he had lived for the greater part of his adult life.