In June 1991, John survived a record number of bee stings. Papers in many states reported the incident.
The Tulsa World, June 10, 1991 - Dateline: Johnson City, Tennessee (AP)
A diabetic man was attacked by about 1,000 honeybees after he had an insulin attack and kicked a beehive, his wife said Sunday. The 66-year-old beekeeper, John Reeves, was hospitalized in critical condition Saturday. His condition was upgraded to satisfactory by Sunday ...
Reeves keeps the Italian honeybees as a hobby ... The insulin-dependent diabetic was attacked after he had an insulin reaction (his wife) said. "He started kicking, throwing his arms around and he kicked the bee hive, stirred up the bees. Naturally they're going to attack, any time you stir up bees," Mrs. Reeves said.
The ferocity of the attack in the Reeves' yard held off paramedics for 30 minutes. "They ... were aggressive," said assistant city fire chief, ... "When the paramedics tried to get near him, they would attack them."
The paramedics were the first to arrive and found Reeves on the ground near the hive. They donned protective clothing in an attempt to get to him, but the bees attacked. The paramedics called ... other fire fighters, who put on reflective aluminum suits and pulled Reeves to safety.
"His face was white with stingers. He was covered from head to toe. I've never seen that many bee stings on anybody. They were still flying around the ambulance and trying to get on us while we were loading him up."
... Three people worked for more than three hours pulling out stingers and still didn't get them all. Reeves was conscious when he was rescued. ... Virtually every part of Reeves' body was stung, including the inside of his mouth and throat, his eyes, ears, nose and extremities.
(The nurse) said, "I don't know how bad he was stung internally, but he vomited up quite a few bees, and one came out of his ear when they brought him in."
"Honeybees have been Reeves' hobby for 15 years and he has no plans to give them up," Mrs. Reeves said.
Willie Reeves Hardin Bivins wrote:
His cousins, May Joe and Rhoda Frances Craig, updated us often on his progress. He was on dialysis for awhile, and it was feared his kidneys would never function again, but he finally made a good recovery. I think this was the worst bee attack from which anyone had ever recovered.
The Craigs wrote in Dec 1991 that he was in the hospital for almost two months, but he had now completely recovered. "We call him, 'The Miracle Man.'"
In their 1996 Christmas Newsletter, the Craigs wrote: "This summer when we visited him one afternoon, he told us that he had been having trouble hearing, and finally when he became completely deaf, he went to the doctor. When the doctor washed his ears out, what would come out but 4 bees - after 5 years! - and he has them in a jar as proof!"
His diabetes is a common problem in his branch of the Reeves family. He is my second cousin; so for as I know, diabetes has not been inherited by any descendents of James Miller Reeves.
He died of kidney cancer 16 June 1999.
OBITUARY - Johnson City Press (TN) June 18, 1999:
JOHN J. REEVES
John J. Reeves, 74, 2949 Indian Ridge Road, died Wednesday, June 16, 1999, at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Mountain home.
Mr. Reeves was a lifelong Washington County resident and son of the late John D. and Annie Hatcher Reeves.
He was a World War II Army veteran, having served in the 143rd Infantry MDO-ETD.
Mr. Reeves retired from Burlington Industries after 44 years of service.
He attended 11-E Church of Christ.
Mr. Reeves was a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association.
He was preceded in death by one brother and one sister.
Survivors include his wife, Mrs. Elese "Peggy" Clouse Reeves; two sons, Ted Reeves, Johnson City, and Jim Reeves, Asheville, N.C.; one daughter, Peggy Stevens-Caven, Johnson City; one brother, Jack Reeves, Johnson City; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
FUNERAL NOTICE - Johnson City Press (TN); June 18, 1999:
MORRIS-BAKER FUNERAL HOME
John J. Reeves
Funeral services for John J. Reeves, 74, of 2949 Indian Ridge Road, who died Wednesday, June 18, 1999 will be conducted 8:00 PM Friday, June 18, 1999 in the Morris-Baker North Chapel. Mr. Fred Smith and Mr. Jim Zachary will officiate. Graveside services will be 11 AM Saturday in the Monte Vista Burial Park. Those attending this service are asked to meet at the funeral home by `10:40 to go in procession to the cemetery. Pallbearers will be Jason Stevens, Mark Reeves, Donny Collins, Darrin Calvin, Beryl Calvin and George Morelock. Honorary pallbearers are Jack Higgins, Jack Reeves, Ron Kent, Ronnie Ledford, Bud Kent, Horance Holtsinger, Bill Phillips, Junior Collins and Jim Jenkins. Mr. Reeves is survived by his wife, Elese "Peggy" Clouse Reeves; two sons, Ted Reeves, Johnson City and Jim Reeves, Asheville; daughter, Peggy Stevens-Cavin, Johnson City; brother, Jack Reeves, Johnson City; two grandsons, Mark Reeves and Jason Stevens, both of Johnson City; a grand-daughter, Tina Stevens-Collins, Johnson City; two great-grandchildren, twins Jeremy and Jonathan Collins. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 6 until 8 PM Friday and other times at the residence. Arrangements by Morris-Baker Funeral Home, 2001 Oakland Avenue.
JOHN J Reeves
PFC US ARMY
WORLD WAR II
JUN 4 1925 JUN 16 1999.