Local Obits

Obituary of Phineas Kennedy (PK Ken) Reeves


Phineas Kennedy Reeves aka PK or Ken, age 91 of Ithaca, NY passed away Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at Kendal at Ithaca.


Born on January 26, 1932 in Kendallville, Indiana, he was the son of the late Alfred Kennedy Reeves and Marjorie Buell Reeves. Shortly after Ken was born the family moved to Cortland, NY and then Ithaca. Ken graduated from Ithaca High School in 1949.

In 1951, Ken enlisted in the US Army and was sent to Korea in March of 1952 where he was wounded with artillery shrapnel. He was honorably discharged in March of 1953. He received a Purple Heart and Combat Infantry Badge for valor. Upon his return, Ken went to work at Cornell University in the Carpenter Shop and then to National Auto Weld for two years. In October of 1955 Ken joined the Ithaca Fire Department, and as a career firefighter, drove every piece of equipment in the department. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1964. Ken went on to be promoted to Assistant Chief, then Deputy Chief and a short stint as Acting Chief. He retired as Deputy Chief from IFD in 1987 after 31 ½ years of service. While in the fire department, Ken partnered with Martin Mikula in the G & H Fire Extinguisher Service eventually selling to Edward Sharp. Following retirement from IFD, Ken was too young to sit idle so in 1988 he went to work for Saulsbury Fire Equipment for the next 10 years. When the retail division was sold to Greg Fitts, he went to work for Greg at Lakeffect Outfitters in Groton, NY for two years. When the retail store closed, Ken went to work for Fingerlakes Electric Supply Company, finally retiring for good in 2012. Ken met Carol Cornish in 1964 and after a short courtship were married on January 23, 1965. Their courtship began after Carol would pass by Central Fire Station and visit with the firefighters sitting in front of the station. Ken became curious and eventually discovered her name and eventually asked her out.

Ken had a tremendous love for and fascination with trains and local train history. Ken and his boyhood friend, Jerry Jones would jump on the caboose of the Lackawanna Railroad and ride up South Hill to the switchback starting Ken’s fascination. They took many trips together by train on the Lehigh Valley and Black Diamond trains. One favorite was to travel along Cayuga Lake to Auburn on Lehigh Valley’s gas/electric “Doodlebug.” This led to his interest in model railroading with a N-Scale model railroad in the house with realistic scenery and operation. He also had a keen interest in the seashore and ships which developed while vacationing in Maine. He started building boats from kits and eventually discovered he could plan and build them from scratch. It was more challenging but also more satisfying. His collection of model boats include old time fishing schooners, tug boats, Coast Guard Bouy Tenders, Container Ships and freighters. Ken was a member of the Ithaca Yacht Club for many years and was Commodore in 1992. He has also been a member of the Ithaca Elks Lodge since 1982.

Ken is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Carol Cornish Reeves; he had four children from a previous marriage, three of whom survive, Craig K. (Jan) Reeves LaPoint, Londy J. (Ed) Powers and Jeffrey L. (Cindy) Reeves LaPoint; 12 grandchildren; numerous great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and other extended family members. In addition to his parents, Ken was predeceased by his son, Bradley Reeves LaPoint and siblings, Ann Elizabeth Cope, Marian Olmstead Reeves and Alfred Kennedy Reeves Jr.

Calling hours will be held from 4-6 pm on Thursday, May 11, 2023 at Bangs Funeral Home, 209 W. Green St., Ithaca. A Celebration of Ken’s Life will be from 2-4 pm on Sunday, June 11, 2023 at Stewart Park Large Pavilion. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Ithaca Lodge #636 BPO Elks, 124 Coddington Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850 for Building Fund, Dictionary Project or Scholarships or Ithaca Fire Department, 310 W. Green St., Ithaca, NY 14850.

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