Clayton C. Reeve died on Sunday morning, February 7, at Alive Hospice. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Gail Thomas Reeve; son, Jonathan Reeve; grandson, Graeme Reeve; sister Delores Schroeder; and many other loving family members and friends.
Dr. Reeve was born in Aurora, IL, on July 9, 1936. A lifelong scholar, he obtained his bachelor’s degree from Beloit College; his master’s degree–funded by a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship–from the University of Chicago; and his doctorate from the University of Illinois, where he met his beloved wife Gail. Literature of the American Renaissance was his area of greatest expertise: his doctoral dissertation was about Nathaniel Hawthorne, although Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick was his favorite literary work of all. He taught for five years at the University of Kentucky before joining the faculty of Tennessee State University, where he remained for the rest of his career. In addition to his role as an educator at TSU, he served as Chairman of the English Department and later as Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences. One of the most satisfying aspects of his work involved grant writing, and his efforts in this regard produced several grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as Fulbright Scholarships to Germany, Greece, and Poland.
Dr. Reeve had wide-ranging interests. He loved Beethoven’s symphonies and the songs of Frankie Lane; films by Ingmar Bergman and shorts by the Three Stooges; paintings by Michelangelo and every home run ever hit by Ted Williams. He never met an animal he didn’t love. He doted on his grandson Graeme, taking him not just to classical music performances and fine restaurants but to Easter egg hunts and museums as well. Time spent with Graeme was a refuge from the illness that shadowed the last few years of Dr. Reeve’s life.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, February 11, from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, 900 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203. A memorial service will follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Dr. Reeve’s name may be made to Alive Hospice. Information about how to donate is available at www.alivehospice.org.