Cover photo for Reba Cotton's Obituary
Reba Cotton Profile Photo
1937 Reba 2022

Reba Cotton

August 25, 1937 — February 19, 2022


On August 25, 1937, Reba James Cotton was born Reba James Vonner, as the fourth child to Constance and John A. Vonner in Lovelady, Texas on a farm owned by her grandparents Belle and Robert Vonner. Although her middle name James came from the Bible, Reba did not like having a boy’s name and told people “Jane” was her middle name. While her father joined the Navy, Reba enjoyed her childhood living on the farm with her Grandparents until the age of ten.

When her father came home from the Navy, the family moved to Waco, Texas. Reba loved being a tomboy. Her brother Alvin taught her how to shoot marbles, and she then taught other boys the same. Reba would proudly reminisce, “I was the greatest tomboy ever!” Climbing trees, eating persimmons, and playing with a cow named Nelly until her father sadly slaughtered it.

Reba’s father bought her two cap guns after seeing her popping caps with a rock. Reba at the age of twelve worked for a white lady and earned $1 each time she cleaned the woman’s kitchen. She spent that money on caps for her cap gun.

One day, Reba’s father John took the cap guns off her wrist and stomped them on the floor and said to her, “Now it’s time for you to become a young lady!” Being rebellious, Reba still played with her marbles and guns until he caught her. He pulled over his belt, about to whip her, and Constance, her mother said, “John, don’t hit her.” At the age of thirteen, Reba accepted her father’s request.

Another time, Reba was growing an interest in music and pretended that she was playing the piano on her dresser. Constance saw this and said, “John, please get her a piano.” He got her a piano, and while at AJ Moore High School, she also learned to play the trumpet and ran track until graduating in 1955.

Before graduating high school, she met Richard Long, a nice tall man in the Air Force. She dated Richard for about six months until she got pregnant. Her father John, who moved to Denver invited her to come. Reba went to Denver to stay with her father and “Skip” was born, whom her father affectionately called him.

After Skip was born, three days later, Reba missed her mother, so she took the train back to Waco on Dearborn Street.

Back in Waco, Reba went to Walker’s Auditorium for a magic concert. Brook Benton was performing, and there she met Leston Reeves. Leston fell in love with Reba, along with Skip, and he took them on a trip to Tucker, Texas to meet his family. Reba got pregnant soon after, and Leston’s family was happy to see them marry before Leston Jr. was born. Her grandmother affectionately called “Momma Missy” made her a beautiful dress, and they had a Church wedding. This wedding took place in 1958.

Leston, being in the US Army received orders to go to Germany in 1959. Reba and Leston returned to the States in 1963. With the new addition of their daughter Bridget, Leston was transferred to the State of Washington. In Washington, their next daughter Bevla was born, and the then family moved to Denver, where Rene was born four years later. Reba and Leston later divorced in 1978.

Reba met her second husband Joseph Bates at the Dahlia Lounge nightclub in Denver. To this union, their daughter Balyn Bates was born in 1979. Reba was a loving and devoted wife and mother. Reba and Joseph later divorced in 1991.

In 1994, Reba returned to Waco, Texas. Sitting outside on the porch of her home, she met her third husband Michael Cotton when he was walking in the neighborhood. They married in 1995. Michael Cotton was the son of one of her high school classmates Floyd Cotton Jr. Michael shared many happy times with Reba until his death in 2016.

In addition to being a devoted homemaker, Reba was employed as a Teacher’s Aide for Stedman Elementary School in Denver. In 1978, she became a Child Daycare provider in her home and enjoyed taking care of kids for 41 years.

A woman of faith, and belief in the Lord, Reba became a member of several churches in the city including King Baptist Church, Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, and Macedonia Baptist Church. She enjoyed attending Saturday morning bible study at Macedonia where she played the piano during song time. She also participated in a women’s missionary group which played musical selections for the residents at the Denver Rescue Mission.

As an Eastern Star member since 1972, she became a worthy Matron and “went to the East” for six years. Leston, her first husband convinced her to join the order of the Eastern Star and Reba enjoyed everything about the order, volunteering at games. “People loved hearing my voice,” Reba said.

Often complimentary towards others, she maintained a cheerful outlook despite becoming physically disabled in 2007. She enjoyed listening to a variety of music, viewing religious television programs, game shows, sports, and the opportunity to spend time with family and friends.

Reba will be missed by her family and friends, with her warm smile, and her complimentary heart. To know Reba was to love her.

Reba James Cotton peacefully departed this life to the embrace of the Lord on February 19, 2022, in her home in Denver, Colorado. Those left to cherish her memory and mourn her loss include three sons; Skip (Jymmetta) Reeves of Denver, Colorado, Leston Reeves Jr. of Denver, Colorado, Rene (Carla) Reeves of Denver, Colorado; three daughters Bridget Reeves of Beverly Hills, California, Bevla Reeves of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Balyn Bates of Englewood, Colorado; One sister, Mary Scott of Denver, Colorado; Ten grandchildren; Seventeen great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Reba Cotton, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, March 3, 2022

4:00 - 7:00pm (Mountain time)

Pipkin Braswell Chapel Of Peace

6601 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80220

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Friday, March 4, 2022

Starts at 11:00am (Mountain time)

Pipkin Braswell Chapel Of Peace

6601 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80220

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Private Interment

Fort Logan National Cemetery

4400 W Kenyon Ave, Denver, CO 80236

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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