Kenneth Monroe Reaves, 84, of Columbia, CT died peacefully after a protracted illness at Hartford Hospital on the morning of Thursday, October 8. Born in Willimantic, "Ken" was a long-time resident of Connecticut. Ken enlisted in the US Navy as a Seabee from 1954 until 1958 where he served aboard the U.S.S. Wyandot. He looked back fondly at his time in the Navy, where he developed an appreciation of travel, visiting exotic places around the world. As a member of "Operation Deep Freeze II", he was part of a crew which explored the Weddell Sea in Antarctica, establishing a permanent scientific base on the Filchner Ice Shelf in 1957. Ken loved reading, gardening, playing poker, riding his vintage Harley Davidson, as well as spending time with his dogs, his family, and his friends. He was a member of local dart and golf leagues, as well as several fraternal organizations. Ever an avid, intrepid, and independent traveler, Ken would take solo skiing trips to the mountains of the Western US in the wintertime, usually followed by a month in the sun in Isla Mujeres where he would rekindle relationships with old friends, food, and drink. A member of the Carpenter's Union for over 40 years, Ken worked on many large building and highway projects, including both the Bissel Bridge over the Connecticut River on I-291 and the Hartford Steam Boiler office tower at One State Street, where he served as general foreman for Associated Construction Company. Ken was fiercely independent to the end. He was good-humored, quick-witted, and a stubborn New Englander. He enriched the lives of the many people he knew and loved. Ken was predeceased by his sister, Jane (Reaves) Kowalski. He is survived by his son, Michael of Orinda, CA and daughter Amy of Moosup, CT, as well as brothers Richard and William and their families, three grandsons: Samuel, Daniel, and Henry, all of California, and several nieces and nephews. The family would like to thank the Columbia Volunteer Fire Department, Potter Funeral Home, and the caring staff at Hartford Hospital who all helped Ken out during his final days. A graveside service will be held at Center Cemetery in Columbia, CT on Saturday, October 17 at 4 PM with a Celebration of Life for close friends and family at the family residence, immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Heart Association. To sign an online guestbook visit www.potterfuneralhome.com
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