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Nova Elmer Reaves

Nova Elmer Reaves was born May 5, 1912 in Texas County, Missouri, the sixth child of Jesse Monroe and Lule Jane (Brown) Reaves. He passed away August 21, 2009 in a hospital at Carbondale, Illinois, at the age of 97.

On December 22, 1934 he married Frieda Marie Kessler, daughter of George and Bertha Kessler. In 1948 and 1952, Nova and Frieda adopted two sons, Bruce and Brice.

Nova lived the first 23 years of his life on the family farm about ten miles northwest of Cabool, Missouri. He attended Freely Give Elementary School, Gravel Point Elementary and Gravel Point High School, graduating from Mountain Grove High School in the class of 1931.

Following graduation, he obtained the qualifications and became a teacher. He taught four years at Barnum Elementary, two years at Freely Give Elementary and two at Mt. Zion Elementary schools. He continued earning college credits from Southwest Missouri State Teacher’s College, now Missouri State University, during the summer terms and taking correspondence courses.

His teaching was during the depression years and times were hard. He decided to move to Illinois where teachers’ pay was a little higher than in Missouri.

After moving to Illinois, he continued working toward a bachelor’s degree, which he received in 1957 from McKendree College, Lebanon, Illinois. His teaching career in Illinois included three years at Union Prairie, four years at Oskaloosa, two years at Iola, and 21 years at North Clay Elementary and North Clay High School. He served as superintendent of education and natural history at the Clay County Fair for the Clay County Schools for more than 20 years, all of the while operating a farm.

In 1965 the family set up the first coin-operated car wash in the county and soon established The Reaves Mobile Home Court in Louisville, Illinois, which they operated for about 15 years. They eventually converted the space into a beautifully landscaped home in which they spent their retirement years.

Nova enjoyed his lawn and garden with grafting as one of his hobbies; he was able to grow as many as four different apples on one tree. Another of his hobbies was designing and piecing quilts. He and his wife, Frieda, each had their own sewing machine.

During their busy lifetime, the family always found time to go on interesting vacations from east to west and north to south in the United States of America.

Nova Elmer Reaves was preceded in death by his wife, Frieda Marie Reaves; his son, Bruce; his parents; five brothers, William Dillard, Ernest Ercle, Clarence Taft, Darrel and Wayne Cleon Reaves; and two sisters, Bertha Mae Smyer and Esther Clementine Reaves.

He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Brice David and Barbara Reaves; three grandchildren, Douglas, Michelle, and Bryan and his wife; one great-granddaughter; a sister, Helen Laffoon; a brother, Herschel Reaves; and several nieces and nephews that will truly miss him.

Funeral services were August 25, 2009 at Frank and Bright Funeral Home, Flora, Illinois. Interment was in St. Stephen’s Cemetery in Flora, Illinois, under the direction of Frank and Bright Funeral Home.

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