It was “Hello pardner” to every man and “Hello darlin’ ” to every woman. Hoap Reeves Jr. was known for striking up a conversation that way.

About Hoap

Age: 76

Occupation: Retired restaurant owner.

Community: Charleston

People will remember him: As a witty, outgoing man with a kind heart.

Affiliations: Ashley River Baptist Church, the Charleston Rifle Club, Masonic Lodge, Pythagorean No. 2, Knights of Columbus and a life member of Elks Lodge No. 242.

Survivors include: Wife, Brenda Walker Reeves; children, Susan Reeves, Hoap “Chip” Reeves III (Karen), Mark Reeves (Ellis), George Reeves (Rhonda) and Kathy Howe (Ricky); grandchildren, Ryan, Chase, Seth, Elizabeth, Tamara, Ashlyn, Katie, Bubba, Brittanie, Bryce, Jordan, Ricky, Orry and Kersten; two great-grandchildren, Riley and Jaxon; and two sisters, Louise. McMillan and Ruth Clark.

He loved to mingle. Whether walking around his barbecue restaurant or visiting a place for the first time, it’s one of the things he did best.

The former police officer would sometimes pretend to be a tough guy, just to tease, but he was a “Teddy bear at heart.”

That’s how Reeves’ five children will always think of him, says his son, Hoap III.

“As tough as he had to be when we were growing up, we could go to him with anything and he would understand. Sometimes we got tough love, but we grew up learning to respect everyone around us (as a result).”

The elder Reeves, who rose to the rank of lieutenant in the Charleston Police Department, twice won the policeman of the year award, says Brenda Walker Reeves, his wife.

When he left the department after 10 years, he worked as an investigator for Pritchard, Myers, Morrison & Bloom, a law firm. Then, Reeves established a popular barbecue restaurant and catering service.

He was born April 2, 1937, and died July 2.

He learned the restaurant business after purchasing one of Duke’s Barbecue Restaurant’s locations and starting Reeves’ Restaurant and Catering in West Ashley. Reeves was such a natural for that type of business, many thought he’d been around restaurants and catering all of his life, but in fact, his father and grandfather were in the shoe repair business. They owned Reeves & Son on King Street.

“He and a few family members would cook 200 to 300 pounds of barbecue, two to three times a week,” his son says.

“And he made the best hash and rice and the best macaroni and cheese ever. He loved to talk to people,” says his son.

“He put everybody’s picture on the restaurant’s wall,” his wife says.

“He’d always have a funny story to tell you. He’d always perk you up. He always had that twinkle in his eye.

“Over 670 people signed the (funeral register) book. That was quite a testimony to him. I am still getting cards and things in the mail, even today,” she says.

“We were not people of financial means, but we had some wonderful family vacations,” she says. “We had a pop-up tent and every year we went somewhere. We always had a station wagon full. We had five children.

Faith, family and friends were important to him, she says.

“He just loved his family, they came first. Even if our children were wrong, he would tell them they were wrong, but he’d take up for them.

“He’d been my sweetheart since I was 14. We would be married 55 years this November. I was number one, always. He was a good man.”

Reach Wevonneda Minis at 937-5705.