97-year-old West Point icon celebrates birthday with city-wide recognition

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, July 25, 2023

WEST POINT — Lots of long-time friends were at the home of Frances “Pal” Reeves Saturday afternoon to wish her a happy birthday. She’s a very wise and healthy 97. She has made her mark and enjoyed life to the fullest. She received a lovely surprise for her birthday – a proclamation signed by Mayor Steve Tramell declaring Saturday, July 22, Mrs. Frances Skinner McLane “Pal” Reeves Day in West Point.

Two members of the city council, Joe Downs and Sandra Thornton, were there for the presentation. The proclamation noted that she had been a lifelong resident of West Point and a caring mother of four sons, one of whom lives in Fredonia, another in Peachtree City, one in Athens and one in Boulder, Colorado.

“Mrs. Reeves has given her time and talents to the First Baptist Church of West Point, the West Point Woman’s Club, the Skinner Corporation, the banking industry and community development,” the proclamation reads.

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She has always placed great value on getting a good education. She graduated from West Point High School at 16 in 1943. She continued her education at Sullins Community College in Bristol, Virginia, before transferring to Mercer University, where she earned a degree in psychology. After raising a family, she returned to college to earn Masters and a Ph.D. in psychology from Auburn University in the 1970s. Some of her greatest work in the cause of humanity was to serve as a marriage and family counselor.

“The main thing was to be a good listener, and for them to know you wanted them to have the best outcomes,” she said Saturday. “People can figure out things on their own. You can help them do that. It always give me a great sense of satisfaction in helping people settle their differences.”

Mrs. Reeves said she has had a very blessed life. “The best part of my life is having been a Christian,” she said. “I have been involved at the West Point First Baptist Church for almost all of my life.”

The Chattahoochee River has been a big part of her life. She and her family lived on the east bank side of the river and had business interests on the west side. Her home on Francolyn Terrace offers a scenic view of the river. She went kayaking along it on one of her birthdays not too many years back. In her younger years, she loved to water ski on Lake Harding.

Like many long-time West Point residents, she knows the miseries flooding of the river can cause. From 1900 to 1975, there was an average of one flood per year in downtown West Point — seventy-five floods in seventy-five years. Having West Point Dam going into operation in 1975 has made a huge difference for the local area. In its 48 years of service, there has been only one flood in downtown West Point, one coming in May 2003.

“There have been some years where the river got out of its banks and got close to my house, but thankfully we’ve never gotten any flood damage,” she said.

“I have had a blessed life,” Mrs. Reeves said. “I love West Point with all of my heart.”

One of her favorite pursuits in the 21st Century has been her participation in Ms. Senior Georgia. She wore the crown one year. Several friends she has made through the pageant were at Saturday’s birthday party. They include other past Ms. Senior Georgias, such as Carol Eason of Hamilton, Alexis Paul of Jones Crossroads and Sandra Thornton of West Point.