Muriel Reeves


In the spring of 1952, the North Davis Junior High School art students of Miss Muriel Reeves presented a special exhibit that showed off the talents of her 9th grade class. The art was hung in the school’s first-floor hallway next to the principal’s office and about twenty-five students exhibited their best work. Some of the pieces showed great artistic potential while others were mediocre at best. However, Miss Reeves showed such great pride in her student’s work that even the least talented of the class felt special. This was the hallmark of Muriel Reeves’ outstanding teaching abilities. She made each student feel special.

Muriel Reeves was born in Kaysville on March 26, 1897. Her father came to Utah Territory in 1869 and the Reeves’ settled in Kaysville where they maintained a large farm.

Muriel received her basic education in the Kaysville schools graduating from Davis County High School in 1917. She had a creative mindset and very early showed an interest in the fine arts. While at Davis High, she was for two years the manager of the debate squad, a staff writer and poet for ‘The Pendant’ (the school’s literary magazine), and two years a member of ‘The Davis’ (yearbook) staff.

The U.S. entered World War I just a month before Muriel graduated from high school and there was much talk about the Red Cross needing wartime nurses. With the war as a motivation, Muriel enrolled in a Dee Memorial Hospital nursing program. She easily mastered the fundamentals of nursing, but quickly realized that being a nurse was not what she wanted out of life. So, in 1918, she applied to be a teacher at the Kaysville Elementary School. This was the beginning of a 41-year teaching career. She taught in the elementary grades for many years at the Kaysville and Layton elementary schools and then moved to North Davis Junior High in the 1940s.

In all of the schools where Muriel taught, she incorporated art as part of her yearly instruction. She wanted her students to have an early introduction in the fine arts and hoped that just a little instruction in the basic techniques of painting would steer her students toward a broader understanding of all aspects of fine arts education.

During World War II, Muriel was teaching at the Layton Elementary School and here she became involved with wartime civilian support of the war effort. The Red Cross needed many items for the servicemen so Muriel organized a school production line where students knitted scarves, sweaters, beanies, socks, and put together toilet kit articles that were so badly needed by the troops. Thousands of articles were made by the students and teachers, boxed up under Muriel’s supervision, and sent to the national Red Cross for distribution in both the European and Pacific theaters of the war. And, it should be noted, that Muriel paid for a lot of the raw materials out of her own pocket.

In her personal life, Muriel enjoyed painting in both oils and watercolors. She completed hundreds of canvasses and many of her Kaysville neighbors purchased her local landscapes and still-life creations. However, painting was only one art form she enjoyed. She was an outstanding craftsperson and she helped young people and adults knit and crochet everything from sweaters to rugs.

Muriel lived all her life in the Kaysville home that her father and mother built. The Reeves’ 1900 ‘Victorian cottage’ was a Kaysville showcase. William Allen, the homes architect, used the Reeves home as an advertising tool for other single-level dwellings that he designed showing a home that had ‘great style and character’ and Muriel was especially proud of her home. On the south side of the house Muriel maintained a rather elaborate fish pond. The pond was stocked with large gold fish and the fish pond was an attraction for every kid in Kaysville. Often in the wintertime, the kids would visit Muriel on Saturday and help her chisel holes in the pond’s ice so that the fish could be fed and have sufficient oxygen to survive through the cold winter months.

During her teaching years, Muriel was an active participant in the Utah Education Association. She served on several county and state committees and was an advocate for many educational reforms. In 1954, she was elected as a Utah delegate to the National Education Association convention. She traveled with other Utah delegates to New York City and represented Utah teachers in discussions of school integration and other important national educational issues. She was joined in New York City by two of her Kaysville buddies – Zena Williams and Hanna Jarman.

Muriel retied in 1959. As a celebration of this special event, she and her good friend, Zena Williams, took a four-and-a-half month trip through Scandinavia, Europe, and Greece. The trip was well-planned and the two enjoyed a wide range of experiences.
During her 41-year teaching career, Muriel shaped and molded the lives of hundreds of kids. She set many firmly on the path of business, artistic, and personal success. Her caring attitude and individual attention to each student gave many the confidence and joy of learning and many citizens today look back at their time with Muriel Reeves with extreme fondness.

Muriel Reeves passed away in Clearfield, Utah on June 24, 1980, at the age of 83. She was buried in the Kaysville City Cemetery.


  • “Kaysville Ladies of Note – Muriel Reeves”, Our Kaysville Story Facebook post by Bill Sanders, November 4, 2022.
  • Photos courtesy of: Bill Sanders Collection, FamilySearch, Heritage Museum of Layton.