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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A passion for basketball

UPDATED: Sun., Jan. 31, 2021

Art Reuben, who died of COVID-19, is seen in an undated photo.  (Photo courtesy of the family)
Art Reuben, who died of COVID-19, is seen in an undated photo. (Photo courtesy of the family)
By Shawn Vestal The Spokesman-Review

Arthur Lee Reuben Sr. started playing basketball as a boy, and he kept playing his whole life – long after his body started sending him the signals to stop.

“He played in Hoopfest from when it first started, right up until he had his first knee replacement,” said his daughter, Sherry Reuben Abrahamson.

Art’s wife, Darlene, offered a correction: “Even after his first knee replacement.”

A member of the Nez Perce Tribe who grew up in Lapwai, Idaho, and lived most of his adult life in Spokane, Art played in Indian Country basketball tournaments from a young age, joined pickup games around town whenever he could, and took to the court with his children or grandchildren to coach and cajole. He was known as a smart, sneaky player and for his sense of humor in all things.

“He was good with a no-look pass,” Sherry said. “He would get us out on the court and hit us in the head with the ball when we weren’t looking. He called that the no-look pass.”

Art died Dec. 27 at age 78, after spending 10 days on a respirator at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, battling complications of COVID-19.

“We don’t really know where he got sick or how he got it,” said Sherry, who works at Maxey Law Offices. “Maybe just going into the grocery store or Walgreens or something.”

Art and Darlene married in 1963, and they raised eight kids in Spokane. He held a variety of jobs over the years: including working for the Forest Service in Idaho, and then Greyhound in Spokane. He finished his working years as a chef at retirement homes in the Spokane area. He retired in 2006 from Moran Vista Assisted Living.

In addition to basketball, Art loved hunting and fishing, spending time with his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and looking forward to the annual family hunting trip to Oregon’s Blue Mountains.

In his final days at the hospital, he FaceTimed with his family and was able to take joy in watching his granddaughter play basketball for Queens University of Charlotte – across the country in North Carolina.

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