Bruce Reeves 11/15/1933 – 04/13/2024

Bruce Reeves obituary, 1933-2024, Walnut Creek, CA

Services will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal, Walnut Creek, April 27, 2-4 p.m.

Bruce Reeves died on Saturday, April 13, at the age of 90, a mere 10 weeks after the death of his wife of 67 years, Carlene. Bruce was probably best known as a high school and college English teacher, teaching thousands of students from 1958 until 2013: at Pittsburgh High School, Acalanes High School (Lafayette), Las Lomas High School (Walnut Creek) and Diablo Valley College. He developed and taught countless classes in English, writing, critical thinking, the Bible as literature, mass media and propaganda, and drama.

Born Francis Brewster Reeves in 1933, to Peggy Stewart Bean and Francis Brewster Reeves of Blue Bell, Pa., Bruce felt fortunate to have grown up on a farm: he said, “My greatest stroke of luck was to be raised on a farm during the Depression, and learning from my parents, not with the help of technology, how to deal with my problems.”

He was blessed at the same time to have attended several well-regarded schools: Plymouth Meeting Friends School (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.), Chestnut Hill Academy (Philadelphia), Westtown School (near West Chester, Pa.) and Haverford College (Haverford, Pa.), where he received his bachelor’s degree. His education was a life experience he praised and talked about many times.

The influence of Quakerism (Plymouth Meeting, Haverford) instilled in Bruce a love for the simple and well-spoken.

Eventually he received his master’s degree in English education from Stanford, and his teaching credential from UC Berkeley.

While attending Haverford, Bruce met musician Carlene Chittenden who attended Haverford’s sister college, Bryn Mawr (Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania). In 1956, after graduating from their respective colleges, they were married and ultimately ended up in Walnut Creek in 1964, where they raised their four children, Bruce, Tim, Wendy, and Matt, instilling in them an enduring love of both language and music.

Bruce was known as a loyal friend as well as a reliable organizer. He spent time as his teachers’ union President and as the Vice President of the DVC Faculty Senate. He coached high school speech, drama and music groups. He led and coached lay readers at his church, St. Paul’s
Episcopal in Walnut Creek and helped support a men’s breakfast group there for many years. He had numerous hobbies and passions: writing (he was proud of his published letters to the editor in the New York Times), editing others’ books and articles, gardening, the clouds, birds, religion, music, photography, family history, and the study of historical gravestones.

Bruce particularly cherished being able to “come home from work for 55 years to the sound of piano and harpsichord coming from Carlene’s studio.”

Bruce is survived by his children, Bruce Reeves Jr. (Sarah), Tim Reeves (friend, Durwood), and Wendy Reeves-Hampton (Brian); his (adoring) grandchildren, Melanie, Lila, Tyler and Will; and his sister, Barbie. He was predeceased by his wife, Carlene; his son, Matt; his brother, Bill; and his sister, Ginni.

A joint memorial service for both Bruce and Carlene will be held Saturday, April 27, at 2:00
Carlene’s obituary can be viewed here:

Published by San Francisco Chronicle on Apr. 19, 2024.

Bruce was an admired colleague, loyal friend, student and community supporter.  He is missed by those of us who knew him and appreciated all he contributed to the DVC and DVCRA family.  Bruce preceded me on the DVCRA Board; he continued to be a role model, a person who worked diligently to ensure our organization would continue to flourish.  Below, I am reprinting the majority of the text of the Certificate of Appreciation we gave him when he retired from the Board:
Our deep thanks to our friend and colleague, Bruce Reeves, whose relentless energy and creativity has sustained and inspired us for many years:
steadfast supporter of DVCRA and DVC for countless years, initially stepping in to help Jeanne Hymer and Bill Harlan shore up the Association in 2002; meticulous maintainer of the Directory, reaching out to colleagues when contact was lost; shaker and mover to restore the archives and preserve the institutional memory; compassionate communicator of the passing of colleagues, and director of the phone tree to ensure the information was disseminated to all, regardless of access to email, thereby earning the moniker Digby O’Dell; creator of directional signs to the DVCRA luncheons, helping those of us who might go astray find our way; finder of apt quotations for everyday life; ….

Nancy Zink
DVCRA Liaison