By RICK BADIE
AJC.com April 07, 2009
Emory Reeves was called the mayor of Crabapple because he cared so much about the rural north Fulton County community.
He fought to preserve its rustic charm as traffic and sprawl encroached an area known as a haven for antique lovers. Emory and Virginia Reeves owned and operated Crabapple Corners Antiques, a blue and white building near the intersection of Birmingham Highway and Broadwell and Mayfield roads. Late AJC columnist Celestine Sibley was a regular at the shop. She held book signings there for decades.
Emory Reeves, a World War II veteran, retired from BellSouth after 36 years.
Mr. Reeves was usually the first person to greet shoppers when they entered the store. He’d talk incessantly, wear a smile and offer shoppers a free Coke, said Dolle Reeves, his sister-in-law.
“He had these small bottles of Coca-Cola — you know sometimes people can’t drink all of those big ones,” she said. “That became one of his trademarks. He loved to laugh and have a good time. Very hospitable.”
Emory B. Reeves, 87, of Atlanta died Saturday of a suspected heart attack at St. George Village in Roswell. A graveside service is 11 a.m. Tuesday at Westview Cemetery. H.M. Patterson and Son, Arlington Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Reeves retired from BellSouth after a 36-year career. That’s when he started helping out at the antiques shop. The Reeveses also owned a rug store in the same area; they sold both businesses four years ago.
Mr. Reeves was called “The mayor” for a good reason. He wanted what was best for the Crabapple community and worked to that end. One example: In 1998, he and other business owners opposed a developer’s plan to build 11 office buildings in the area. Mr. Reeves convinced the county that antiques and offices would be a poor fit for an already busy intersection. The county shot down the $10 million project.
“They called him the mayor because he was the head of the community,” said family friend Georgene Fitts of Roswell. “He was wonderful.”
Mrs. Reeves said her brother-in-law got a kick out of being called mayor. But he took seriously all the honorary title entailed.
“He wanted the best for Crabapple,” she said, “and he didn’t mind taking his time to see that the Crabapple community received recognition.”
Ms. Sibley, the AJC columnist, became good friends with Virginia and Emory Reeves. When she died in 1999, Mr. Reeves was quoted in a story that appeared in The Atlanta Constitution. “Readers have been dropping off flowers,” the World War II veteran said. “She signed books here for more than 30 years for us. I was known as Mr. Crabapple and she was known as Miss Sweet Apple.”
Additional survivors include his wife, Virginia Reeves of Atlanta; and a brother, Frank Reeves of Milton.