Harold Bruce Reece, 87, of Dawsonville, died July 12, 2018.
Harold was born in Dawson County on Jan. 4, 1931 to the late Charlie and Vera Reece; he was the second of four boys. Harold lived his entire life in Dawson County and was married to the late Jeannette Bruce. Harold was a lifelong member of Bethel Baptist Church where he accepted Christ and was baptized on the fourth Sunday of August, 1943.
A simple man with a fifth grade education, who had always worked for someone else, he decided in the mid-1980s to venture out on his own and opened Reece Tire Service. He specialized in basic auto maintenance and delivered old fashioned local customer service. Prior to owning his own business, Harold worked almost 4 decades for his longtime friend, Gene Gilleland, at Gilleland Gulf Station where Harold built a strong personal reputation of providing down home friendly customer service.
Harold was known for his keen sense of humor, his quick wittiness and fast come backs. Harold could share insightful local stories passed down by his friends and family as well as those stories that he stumble upon himself over years of community service. Having never met a stranger, Harold could meet a person for the first time and assign them a “nick-name” that not only summed up their personality but would actually stick with them for a lifetime.
Humor aside, Harold will be truly remembered for his willingness to extend a helping hand to those in times of need, as well as his desire to make sure local neighbors could safely get back and forth to their work and medical appointments by assisting them with basic auto repairs often at little or no cost to them during difficult times. He believed in giving people a hand up.
Harold also served his community in various ways. His greatest was serving as the first volunteer fire chief of Dawsonville back in the late 1950s and 1960s. During the devastating tornado of 1974 that tore through the west side of Dawson County, Harold kept the Gulf Station open all night to provide gas and service to emergency vehicles and rescue units that were brought in from surrounding counties. Harold was recognized for his years of community service by the Dawson County Emergency Services when they presented him with their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.
Having grown up on a family farm in the 1930s, Harold always thought he should have a few hogs around to grow and sell to friends looking for home grown meat. In his down time, he enjoyed vacationing in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where he would walk on the hot sandy beach for miles.
His wife, Jeannette Bruce Reece; his parents, Charlie and Vera Reece; brothers, James Reece, Charles Reece, and Gerald Reece; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Leonard and Lille Bruce; sister-in-law, Dessie Lou Bruce Wallis; brother-in-law, Cleve Bruce; niece and nephews, Karen Heard, Donald James Reece, and Ricky Wallis, preceded him in death.
Survivors include his daughter, son and their spouses who he loved like his own children; Diane and James Satterfield of Dawsonville, and Stacey and Mandy Reece of Gainesville; his two grandchildren who he loved and cherished greatly, Andrew Reece and Morgan Reece, both of Gainesville; sister-in-law’s who he considered as sisters, Opal Fowler Reece of Alpharetta and Estelle Chastain Reece of Gillsville; nieces and nephews, Charlotte Reece, Sam Reece, Fred Reece, Dwayne Reece, and Randy Wallis and Kim Williams; former daughter-in-law, Lydia Oglesby Hayne; aunt, Arlene Swafford; numerous cousins and many, many friends also survive.
Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. July 16, 2018 at Bethel Baptist Church with Rev. Jason Hamby, Rev. Stephen Davis and Rev. Corey Gilleland officiating. Interment followed in Dawsonville Memorial Gardens.
The family received friends from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 15 and from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. July 16 at Bearden Funeral Home.
Bearden Funeral Home of Dawsonville was in charge of the arrangements.