COLUMBIA — Ever since he was a kid, Dusty Reeves loved to cook.
"He would go over to his grandmother's and ask 'What's for dinner?' and she'd say 'Well, what're you cooking?'" his mother, Teresa Reeves, said.
Mr. Reeves was getting ready to begin a culinary arts program at Hickey College in St. Louis to pursue his dream to work as a chef in New York City.
Dusty Allan Reeves of Miami, Mo., formerly of Columbia, died Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, after a car accident near Slater. He was 19.
He was born on Sept. 17, 1993, in Santa Anna, Calif., to Aaron Spade of Warrenton, Va., and Teresa Reeves, of Miami, Mo.
While attending Hickman High School, Mr. Reeves got involved in the school's vocational culinary program, which solidified his desire to become a chef.
"He just excelled in it," Teresa Reeves said, recalling a time when he cooked her signature spaghetti but added a personal twist.
Mr. Reeves graduated from Hickman in 2012, not long after becoming a father to Kara Michelle Reeves.
"He would spend all of his time with her," Teresa Reeves said. "She was his princess."
Mr. Reeves wanted to take his daughter to New York City with him and provide for her by working as a chef, Teresa Reeves said.
Mr. Reeves could always make family and friends laugh or smile. He was never short on giving out hugs, she said, and he would show up at random times to pull someone into a embrace.
"He was a very popular kid," Teresa Reeves said. "He would give hugs to his teachers and do the goofiest things to make you smile."
Reeves' lifelong friend Amanda Gruber shares that sentiment. Gruber said when a friend of Mr. Reeves went through a hard time, he was there to help make the best of a bad situation and focus on the silver lining.
"We'd joke, argue and tease each other like an old married couple," Gruber said. "You couldn't not laugh around him."
She said because they knew each other for so long, the pair experienced the awkward tension that comes with friendships between girls and boys in grade school.
"Fourth and fifth grade is that awkward time where you can't be friends with boys," Gruber said with a laugh. "We had to pretend that we didn't know each other."
Even though the duo got teased for being friends when they were young, he was like a brother, she said.
"We introduced each other to friends as 'my brother' or 'my sister,'" Gruber said.
No matter how far apart they were, they knew they were only a phone call away.
Mr. Reeves is survived by his daughter, Kara Michelle Reeves of Miami, Mo.; his father, Aaron Spade of Warrenton, Va.,; his mother, Teresa Reeves of Miami, Mo.; his stepfather, Kenny Wall of Mount Juliet, Tenn.; a brother, Joshua Reeves of Slater; his maternal grandfather, James Reeves Sr. of Waverly; maternal grandparents, Charles and Kathy McMellen Hostetter of Slater; a maternal great-grandmother, Peggy McMellen of Slater; paternal grandparents, Richard and Theresa Spade of Warrenton, Va.; a nephew, Jonathan Reeves of Slater; three aunts, Debbie Countryman of Nevada, Mo., Debbie Gruber of Iberia and Susan Reeves of Slater; and four uncles Matt Gruber of Iberia, Ernest Reeves of Higginsville, James Reeves Jr. of Glasgow, and David Reeves of Malta Bend.
Memorial services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at Slater United Methodist Church, on the corner of Emma and Morgan streets, with the Revs. Adam Snell and Ed Algya officiating.
Memorial contributions can be made to a trust fund for his daughter, Kara Reeves.
Weiker Funeral Home, 202 W. Emma St. in Slater, is in charge of the arrangements.