Basketball 03

Joe Lee Reaves

May 27, 1950 ~ November 5, 2021 (age 71) 71 Years Old


Joe Lee Reaves

May 27, 1950 ~ November 5, 2021 (age 71)

Joe Lee Reaves was born on Saturday, May 27, 1950 in Bolivar, Tennessee. He was the youngest of eight children born to the late Bertha Reaves-Calloway and Richard Randolph.

His funeral service was held on Saturday November 13, 2021 at 1:00 pm at the Mt. Olive MB Church  with Pastor Burnett Messenger in charge.  Burial was in the Church Cemetery and Dixie Funeral Home was in charge of the professional service.  

Joe was educated in the Hardeman County School system and attended the segregated Bolivar Industrial High School and graduated in the class of 1969. In high school, Joe excelled in sports and became a local basketball standout playing the forward position for Bolivar Industrial High School Red Devils boys basketball team. Growing to a height of 6ft 5inches by his senior year, Reaves’ size and high-level play caught the attention of several college recruiters including UCLA and Kentucky. Upon graduation, he chose to stay close to home and accepted a full scholarship to the smaller Bethel College in McKenzie Tennessee. In 1971, Joe was united in holy Matrimony to Norma Jean Woods. To this union, three children were born. While playing for the Bethel Wildcats, he would set and break several school records and he still holds the record for most rebounds in a single game. Joe was an All-American Candidate averaging 23 points and 12 rebounds in his senior season. This caught the attention of NBA scouts and in the 1973 NBA draft, he was the 3rd round 42nd pick by the NBA Phoenix Suns, and later went on to play with the Memphis Tams. In 2009, Joe Reaves was inducted in the Bethel University Sports Hall of Fame and in 2014, Bethel University held a special ceremony to hang his Jersey in the new sports plex.  

Joe L. or Hook as he was affectionately called by friends and family, was not only known for being a basketball star, Joe was also a talented artist, carpenter, and seamstress. Forever the serial entrepreneur, Joe attended the Chicago School of Tannery and Fashion Design then returned to his community to open Reaves Fashion Designs in the lower East Side of town. Joe also owned a restaurant, a skating rink and even perfected his skills as a DJ at the legendary Dr. Boogie’s.  

In his later years, Joe enjoyed aiding his children in various capacities. Whether it be assistant coaching with his son, providing valuable insight on his son’s construction projects or actively participating in his daughter’s senior exercising program (Seniorsize), he cherished time with them all. In his final years, Joe would break many chains, re-affirm his personal relationship with Christ and go on to enjoy a close relationship with his children, grandchildren and great grandson until his passing.   

He leaves to cherish his memories, 3 brothers and 3 sisters, Laura (Wilber Oneal) Dean, Richard (Evonne) Reaves, Paul (Hester) Reaves, Rosetta (Denzil) Reaves, Louise (Charles) Hays, and Archie (Golda) Reaves. He also leaves one daughter, Twanna Reaves (Ken); two sons, Toman (LaKitta) Reaves and Shemon (Tosha) Reaves all of Jackson, Tennessee; three granddaughters, two grandsons and one great grandson, Sherrell (Phillip) Johnson, Keyann Reaves, Jamaya Burkley, Cameron Bufford, Toman Reaves, and great grandson Myles Taylor Johnson and many other relatives and friends.  

He was proceeded in death by his mother Bertha Reaves-Calloway, wife, Norma Jean Reaves and sister, Ruby (Hughland) Lake.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joe Lee Reaves, please visit our floral store.

 Service Program


Public Viewing
November 12, 2021

12:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Jerome Boyd Chapel at Dixie Funeral Home
750 Bills Street
Bolivar, Tennessee 38008

Funeral Service
November 13, 2021

1:00 PM
Mt. Olive MB Church
11210 Highway 125 S
Middleton, Tennessee 38052


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