Charlotte Reeves passed peacefully in her home at Bell Trace on June 27, 2012. She would have been 100 on July 16, 2012. Miss Reeves was the youngest of the three (3) children of Charles Alva Reeves and Maud Cooper Reeves. Her siblings, George Cooper Reeves and Virginia Reeves Keech, both predeceased her. She will be interred in the Old City Cemetery in Columbus, Indiana, with her father, mother, sister and other family members. She is survived by her nephew, William H. Sultan, and his wife, Betty, of Columbus, Indiana; niece, Sylvia R. Keane of Quicksburg, Virginia, and grandniece, Melanie; nephew, Richard Charles Keech, M.D., of Torrence, California; Peggy Keech, widow of G. Kent Keech, nephew, of Longwood, Florida, and her daughter, Amy Wamsley.
Charlotte was a very accomplished woman. She spent her early childhood in Columbus. Her folks encouraged their children in the joy of music and supplemented the same by a player piano and a closet full of piano rolls. Her father played guitar and “knew a lot of funny songs”; her mother and sister both played the piano. Charlotte started on the piano until she found an old fiddle in the attic. Her folks had it restrung and re-glued and she played it until receiving a full-size violin and violin lessons.
Eventually the family moved to Bloomington, Indiana. Her father opened Reeves Furniture Store on the north side of the square. Charlotte attended Bloomington High School. After high school, she attended Indiana University to “follow the good examples of my siblings,” initially pursuing Home Economics before transferring to the School of Music where she continued with her violin studies. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1934 “with distinction.” While at Indiana University, she was concertmaster of the Indiana University Symphony Orchestra for four years and soloist with the orchestra several times. She was the winner in 1935 of the State Young Artist’s contest and was awarded the Phi Lambda Theta award for outstanding achievement. She, her sister, and friend, Daisy Garton, played throughout Indiana as the Reeves-Garton Trio. This trio broadcasted weekly in 1935 over WHAS in Louisville. Charlotte played the violin, her sister played the piano, and Daisy played cello.
Her accomplishments on the violin led Charlotte to a small community of musicians in Indianapolis which eventually became the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Charlotte was an original member in 1935 and played with the orchestra for over forty years. She played in the 2nd and then 1st violin sections until her retirement. It is said that “there was seldom a time when she is not playing.” She joined musical ventures with various summer orchestras at Garfield Park, the Fairgrounds, and for a number of years with Starlight musicals, all in Indianapolis. As Charlotte stated for an article in the Star in July 1967, “her symphony and Starlight stints allowed her to ‘play’ all year round.” Her refreshing humor comes out of hiding when she describes her life: “I love books and records and automobiles … NOT cooking. I like my food more out of packages.” Upon retirement at age 72, Charlotte lived in Brown County, Indiana, until moving to Bell Trace in 1998.
Her love of live music caused her to purchase, as a gift to Bell Trace in 2007, a 1990 Steinway Model B piano which, according to all reports, has been enjoyed thoroughly by the Bell Trace residents and hundreds of IU Jacobs School of Music students. Charlotte always enjoyed the piano and violin recitals. She will be remembered for her generosity, friendliness, and love of music.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Bell Trace, 800 Bell Trace Circle, Bloomington, Indiana, on Tuesday, July 17, 2012, at 4:00 o’clock p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice I.U. Health-Bloomington Hospital.