Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Reavy Hawthorne Giles (1896-1936)

Portrait from the 1933 West Virginia Blue Book.

  The political star of Reavy Hawthorne Giles shone briefly during the early 1930s, as he served as both a state legislator and actuary of the state compensation department prior to his death at age 39 in February 1936. The son of Oscar and Mary Etta Giles, Reavy Hawthorne Giles was born in Myndus, Virginia on April 27, 1896. He would attend school in the state of his birth and during adolescence completed a "bookkeeping-secretarial course."
  A veteran of the First World War, Giles was a pilot with the 21st, 85th, and 284 Aero Squadrons. With a brief mention of his war service being given by the West Virginia Blue Book, no other source details the particulars of his military service or area of deployment in Europe. Following his return from the war, Giles married in June 1920 to Juanita Stella Shumate (1896-1981), with whom he had one son, Reavy Hawthorne Jr. (born 1921), who would later lose his life in an airplane crash in France in April 1946.
  A bookkeeper and accountant prior to his entering state politics, Giles won election to the West Virginia House of Delegates from Greenbrier County in November 1932, garnering 9,257 votes on election day. He took his seat in January 1933 and was named to the committees on Insurance, Labor, Medicine and Sanitation, Mines and Mining, Printing and Contingent Expenses, and Railroads. 
  Giles' tenure in the legislature proved to be brief, and just two months after taking his seat resigned in March 1933 to accept the post of actuary for the West Virginia Compensation Department. He would be succeeded by H.L. Van Sickler, who was appointed to his vacant seat. Giles continued to serve as actuary until his death at age 39 on February 28, 1936, at a veterans hospital in Huntington, West Virginia. Despite being in the prime of life, Giles is recorded as having been ill for more than a year and his death was attributed to "a complication of diseases." He was later interred at the Wildwood Cemetery in Beckley, West Virginia. Giles was survived by his wife Juanita, who later remarried to Fred Clark Hardman, who predeceased her in 1953

Giles' death notice from the Charleston Daily Mail.

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