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June 24, 1931 ~ August 22, 2022 (age 91) 91 Years Old
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Ebb Willis Reeves, 91, of Tulsa, OK, passed away on August 22. Kind, generous, brilliant, pragmatic, thoughtful, gracious, witty, humble, loyal, a leader, a mentor, a healer, a friend, a father, a romantic -- just some of the many words that come to mind when those who know him think about Ebb. He was also the king of the slightly off-color dad joke or humorous rewrite of traditional song lyrics to entertain his kids and grandkids.
Following graduation from the University of Texas at Austin in 1952, Ebb was a pharmacist at his family-owned drug store in Denton, TX – Reeves Drug. After a 24-month stint in the U.S. Army he returned to Denton, where he and his wife, Barbara Wheeless Reeves, had three children. He continued his pharmacy career while attending medical school at the Kansas City College of Osteopathy and Surgery. Ebb graduated second in his class and expanded his family with one more child before moving to Tulsa, a city he would call home and where he would build his professional life for most of the rest of his time on earth.
Ebb was not in Tulsa long when he lost his wife, Barbara, to encephalitis. He continued to raise his four children as a single working dad, with much help from his family, friends and his new Tulsa community. In 1970 he married Norma Kay Thompson Swank and added another beloved daughter and sister to this now family of seven.
A well-respected and beloved family practice physician in Tulsa for decades, Dr. Reeves delivered more than 2000 babies and cared for multiple generations of families. He was active in his professional associations, serving as the president of the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association and as a lifetime member of the American Osteopathic Association. He also led the medical team at the Oklahoma Osteopathic Hospital (now the OSU Medical Center) as the Chief of Staff in 1977-78. Over the life of his career, he held many other leadership positions, including as Chairman of the Osteopathic Hospital Founders Association, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City, Trustee of the Oklahoma State University Medical Center Trust and many more.
He was frequently honored for his service and dedication to the medical profession and to his community. Dr. Reeves was named the Outstanding Physician at the Oklahoma Osteopathic Hospital in 1990, received the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Oklahoma State College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1990 and the Doctor of the Decades Award from the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association in 2011. Also in 2011, he was named an ICON for Oklahoma State University for his service to the school and the integral role he played in connecting the osteopathic college as a vital addition to the university.
He moved from Tulsa to St. Louis where he was an administrator for the Deaconess Medical Center until his retirement in 1996. He lived out his retirement years in Tulsa, where he continued to act as a surveyor of internships and training programs for the American Osteopathic Association and to serve on the Credentialing Subcommittee for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Oklahoma.
Throughout his career, he considered it an honor and a privilege to help educate and support medical students as a teacher, a mentor and a professional guide. In fact, his final wish was that his body be donated for scientific use at an osteopathic college so students can perfect and better their craft and to pay it forward for a profession that had served him well.
Ebb Reeves is survived by his beloved wife, Kay, and his five children: Pamela Reeves Thomas; David Reeves and his wife, Cindy; John Reeves and his wife Heather; Ellen Swank; and Sally Reeves Ray and her husband Bill. He was also a beloved Papa to 15 grandchildren and GG-Pa to four great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Anna Reeves Holzer, and her three sons, his sister-in-law, Mona Whitmire and her husband Mark, as well as her two children and many other nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Ebb’s memory to one of the following organizations that were important to him: Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine or the Oklahoma Osteopathic Founders Foundation.