E.R. Reece, 94, of Norman, Oklahoma, died Wednesday, March 7, 2018. He and his twin brother, B. F., were born February 19, 1924, to Sallie Alma Pulliam Reece and Calvin Lafayette Reece in Klondike, a community near Pauls Valley. He was one of thirteen children.
He and Marcelle Johnston were married in 1942 and had two children, Donna Murray and Kenneth Reece. In 1976, he and Nancy Bamberger were married.
He worked from the time he was a young boy, and did not have a formal education, but it did not prevent him from excelling in life. He was honored by Wynnewood High School in 1990 with an Honorary High School Diploma, which he appreciated greatly.
He served in WWII (Pacific theater) and Korea in the 24th Infantry, aka Victory Division, and was highly decorated for his service. He was a warrior on the battlefield even recounting having met General MacArthur while he was in a foxhole. He suffered radiation poisoning at Hiroshima and frostbite in Korea, but nothing stopped him. He suffered from those injuries the rest of his life. Anyone who knew him knew there were no excuses, and yet he had a soft, quiet and gentle side.
He and his brothers, B. F. and Joe, were general contractors. E.R. and Joe eventually formed Reece Bros., Inc., and it was the largest public utilities company in Oklahoma at one time. They had jobs in all parts of Oklahoma and parts of Texas. Many of his employees went on to become contractors because of his mentoring.
He was the consummate entrepreneur having business interests that included a gold mine in Colorado, oil and gas wells in Oklahoma, and a developer of commercial and residential properties. His businesses varied as wide as convenience stores, an insurance company, race horses and even a record production company. He also flew planes, although using his identical twin’s license served as certification since it has “his picture on the license”.
After retiring from the construction business, he attended auctions in which he bought and sold heavy equipment because he could repair most anything. He spent most days at his farm on Ladd Road where he had horses, cows, cats, dogs and almost any kind of animal you could imagine. He had a kinship with animals especially with his devoted companion, Maysie, a Jack Russell terrier, who was by his side the last 12 years until she died just before he made his last run at life in September.
He was an avid reader and story teller recounting adventures, usually involving war and work. He was gentle yet tough, and he always made you feel he had time for you. He protected the weak and vulnerable.
E. R. is survived by his wife, Nancy of Norman, OK; his sister Joy Tate of Oklahoma City, OK; daughter Donna Murray of Oklahoma City, OK; son Kenneth Reece of Purcell, OK; granddaughters Ashley Arnold and husband Greg of Dallas, TX; Christian Murray of San Francisco, CA; and great granddaughter Carsen Reece Kunzman of University of Miami.
His step children are Ken Sanders and wife Clara of Keller, TX; Robert and Deborah Sanders of Edmond, OK; Carol Sanders and Partner Heidi Ferenz of Galveston, TX; and John Bamberger and wife Tiffany of Frisco, TX.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings in order of birth: Obern, Earl, Ernest Calvin, B.F., Joseph Augustus, Willie, Edna Mae, Mayme, Gladys, Jeneva, and Reba Jane.
Services have been placed under the care of Havenbrook Funeral Home. Visitation will be Sunday, March 11, 2018 from 1:00-6:00 pm. Services to remember E.R. will be Monday, March 12, 2018, 1:00 pm at Havenbrook Funeral Home, 3401 Havenbrook St., Norman, OK with burial to follow at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Pauls Valley, OK
Memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association.