VIRGINIA FRANCES WALKER REEVES,
best known as the owner of Bells n’ Beaux and Images in North Little Rock, went to be with her Savior, Jesus Christ, this past Sunday at the age of 97. She died of natural causes. She leaves behind a legacy of kindness, faithfulness, generosity and love for family and many friends. Her faith and her positive outlook on life were a hallmark of her life.
She was married to her high school sweetheart, John Harold Reeves, for 53 years before he died in 1998. They lived, worked and raised their family on Park Hill. “Dende”, as she was known by many, was the mother of Sharon/Shay Freeman (Steve) and Pat (Randy) Herlocker, the grandmother of Ginny Miller, Jill Freeman, Leslie Davis, Ross Herlocker, and Clay Freeman and the great-grandmother of Madi and Michael Miller, Garrett, Walker and Drew Davis, and Avery Grace, Leighton, and Bowen Freeman.
In 1954 with the encouragement and support of John, Virginia took a leap of faith and with no real experience in retail, took on the challenge of starting Belles n’ Beaux, a children’s clothing shop that grew into serving teens, and then adults when it was renamed Virginia’s Images. Virginia was one of the original tenants of Lakehill Shopping Center on JFK, but due to the construction being several months behind schedule, Virginia was forced into receiving merchandise in her home. Within weeks, she and John turned their home on Skyline Drive into a temporary retail store with customers shopping in their living room, dining room, and bedrooms for several months.
Her life was her faith, her family and her dress shop of over 40 years. Customers were friends and many stayed in touch with Virginia for decades after the store closed in 1990. She then worked at Chandler’s Interiors for her dear friend, Tom Chandler until her late 80’s.
Virginia was always a self-starter, as she was raised by a single mom, Bessie Mae Atwood Walker after her dad, Bradley Rogers Walker, died when she was 12. She and her younger sister, Mary Ella, had some difficult years living in a small house on 16th street in NLR. Her mom worked at Ottenheimer’s during the day and took in ironing to supplement their income. Virginia recalled that in high school, the two sisters had three dresses each, one that they wore, one that they washed, and one that they ironed. Quite an auspicious beginning for a retail clothing store owner.
Always working hard with great determination, Virginia had the distinction of being the first female president of the student body at North Little Rock High School. The story goes, however, that her boyfriend, John Harold, was not beyond coercing votes.
Virginia was a member of Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock and a group leader in Bible Study Fellowship for many years. In her later years, she spent mornings in her “prayer time”, praying for each family member, as well as many friends and Christian groups.
The family is so appreciative of the staff at Brookdale Assisted Living, as well as Hospice Homecare. Tina, Chiquita, Tameka as well as Daniel, Victoria, Sharonda, Cammillia, Jacindy, Viki and Ken, and many others went above and beyond to make our mother’s last years extra special.
There will be a private family graveside service and, at a later date, a celebration of Virginia’s life at Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock. In lieu of flowers, Virginia had requested that any memorials be given to Fellowship Bible Church, 1401 Kirk Road, LR 72223 (fellowshiponline.com) or Hospice Home Care of Little Rock, 12120 Col. Glenn Road, #6400, Little Rock, Ark. 72210 (http://hospicehomecare.com/tribute-of-life-foundation). Online guestbook at www.SmithFamilyCares.com.