Obituaries
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Chapel: 1235 Walnut Street, Bedford, VA 24523 | Office/Visitation: 317 West Main Street, Bedford, VA 24523

Obituaries

Evelyn Harper Albritton

albritton evelyn mfolderEvelyn Albritton, 71, died peacefully at her home in Bedford, Virginia with her family by her side on June 21, 2017. Born June 24, 1945 in Atlanta, Georgia, Evelyn is the second of eight children. She embraced life. She loved to travel and experience new places with her family. Her home was always filled with love, laughter and the aroma of fresh-baked goodness. Whether she was sewing, baking, crafting or working in the yard, her endless energy made her a force to keep up with. She loved going to sporting events and was always the number one fan of her grandchildren, regardless the sport, time, or distance. Evelyn is preceded in death by her parents, Hattie Mae and Rudolph Harper; a brother Randolph Harper; and a sister Patricia Robinson. Evelyn is survived by her husband Bert Albritton; son, Randy Albritton of Roanoke, VA; daughter, Jody (Tony) Hurt of Bedford, VA; two grandsons, Ty Albritton of Roanoke, VA, Derek Anderson of Lynchburg, VA; two granddaughters, Brielle Hurt and Jayden Hurt, both of Bedford, VA; sisters, Ethel (Jay) Fulmore of Perry, GA, Margie Holland of Oglethorpe, GA, Fran Harrell of Cairo, GA, Gail Parsons of Butler, GA; brother, Donald Harper of Oglethorpe, GA; 15 nieces and nephews; 31 great nieces and nephews, and countless more that called her mom or grandma. Evelyn faced down Ovarian Cancer with incredible adversity, dignity and determination since her diagnosis in 2009. Never losing her passion for life, she continued to be adedicated grandmother, mother and wife. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to American Cancer Foundation, P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123. Services will be held at Stone Church of the Brethren, 2162 Forest Ave, Buena Vista, VA, 24416, on Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 2:00p.m., with Pastor Jerry Ruff officiating. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Evelyn requested to be cremated and her ashes will be interred at the family plot in Horeb Baptist Church Cemetery, Taylor County, GA. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Robert Emerson "Robbie" Waller

On June 17, 2017, Robert Emerson Waller, namesake of his maternal and paternal grandfathers, was carried to Heaven, where his roads are all paved and the chrome is already polished. He fought a valiant and brave battle before cancer claimed his body. He was not a scholar of the Bible; he was a living example of the Golden Rule. For those who knew him, all would tell you that he did everything with love and attention to detail, no matter what it was. When he gets to Heaven, the Highwaymen should be singing Amazing Grace with the Sons of the Pioneers in the background to welcome his beautiful soul. Robert, 54, of Bedford, was born on December 16, 1962. He graduated from Liberty High School in 1981 and pursued a career in auto body repair and restoration up to his passing. He owned his business and received too many certificates, awards, accolades and praise for his work to list. He was an accomplished musician on the mandolin and guitar. He loved Bluegrass and loved to get on the dance floor with everybody. He enjoyed sports, hunting, fishing and restored antique guns and rifles for himself and his son. There are many beautiful cars and trucks in Bedford today with his handprint on them. Robert leaves behind his first born and only son, Cody Robert Waller, his partner in life, Tammie Williams; his Mother, Susie Waller; and his sister and brother, Janet and Wayne, who all grieve his sudden departure and remember his giving heart. Left also to mourn his loss are his neices, Stephanie Kuper, Suzy Simmons, and Ashley Blake, and one nephew, Brandon Waller. Robbie was a treasured and precious nephew to his paternal Aunt Polly Howell and Uncle Bailey Waller, his maternal Aunts Virginia Hanes, Virgie Marsh, and Emma Thornton, and his Uncles Burke King and Roger King. In celebration of his light and his life, a Memorial service will be held 2:00 p.m., Saturday, June 24, at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut Street, Bedford, VA 24523. The family will receive friends immediately after the service. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Jerry Preston Dodd

Jerry Preston Dodd, 73, of Randolph, went home to be with his Lord after a brief battle with cancer on Monday, June 12, 2017. He was born on August 4, 1943, to the late B. F. Dodd and Vera Thomas Dodd.   He was predeceased by a brother Benny Ray Dodd. Jerry is survived by a brother, Thomas Franklin Dodd, Phenix, and sisters, Anita Dodd Garrett (Sandy), Lynchburg and Vera Kay Hamlett (Gilbert), Charlotte Court House and numerous nephews and nieces. Jerry was a graduate of Virginia Tech, enjoyed hunting, collecting NASCAR memorabilia and restoring antique vehicles. A memorial service will be held Sunday, June 18, 2017, 5 p.m. at the Appomattox Baptist Temple, 8364 Red House Road, Appomattox, Virginia 24522. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Charlotte County Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 330, Keysville, VA 23947 or Relay for Life, c/o Sheila Dodd, 471 Nollie Road, Phenix, VA 23959 on memo line: Jerry Dodd. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford 540-586-7360.

Samuel Vaughan Wilson

Wilson Samuel 2Samuel Vaughan Wilson (93) died June 10, 2017 of lung cancer at his home in Rice, Virginia. A revered and beloved figure, and known affectionately as “General Sam,” Lieutenant General Wilson served 37 years in the U.S. Army, retiring in 1977. In June 1940, at 16, he walked seven miles through the nighttime rain from his family’s tobacco farm in Rice to the Army National Guard Armory in Farmville, VA, where he lied about his age and signed up. When he graduated from OCS at the age of 18, he was the Army’s youngest second lieutenant. General Wilson became a living legend in intelligence and special operations. During his military career, he co-authored legislation establishing the U.S. Special Operations Command and helped create the Delta Force — the Army’s premier counterterrorism unit. Fluent in Russian, he was designated the first general officer to serve as defense attaché to Moscow. An expert in “counter-insurgency,” he coined the term, writing the Army’s first program of instruction on how to do it and fight it. General Sam was an early recruit to the Office of Strategic Services in 1943. Later, his commanding officer termed him the best lieutenant fighting in Burma with the renowned “Merrill’s Marauders.” During his career he saw service variously in Russia and Vietnam, ran CIA Cold War operations in Berlin, served as Assistant Division Commander for Operations of the 82nd Airborne Division, and commanded the Sixth Special Forces Group. He played a key staff role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. In addition, he served as Deputy to the Director of Central Intelligence for the Intelligence Community, and as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Following his military career, he joined the faculty of Hampden-Sydney College as a professor of political science. He went on to become president of the college for eight years, and after founding Hampden-Sydney’s Wilson Center for Leadership was named to its first Wheat professorship. A long-time member of the Hampden-Sydney board, when commending General Sam’s “great wisdom,” described him as “one of the most significant presidents in the school’s history; he led and inspired every man he met to be a better man.” Over the years many in the nation’s military and civilian leadership, and notably in its intelligence community, have held soaring opinions of General Sam — among them at least six Presidents as well as George Allen, Charles Robb, Paul Trible, Alexander Haig, David Petraeus, Richard Helms, John O. Marsh, Bobby Ray Inman, and Edward Lansdale.

  • Former CIA Director Richard Helms said General Sam “never hesitated to take on the secret jobs which entail no reward.”
  • Pete Schoomaker, former Chief of Staff of the Army, said of him: “I think of General Sam as the ideal polymath Renaissance Man…warrior, scholar, diplomat, leader, and sage.”
  • Lynn Novick, Florentine Films said: Early in our project, Ken Burns and I were extremely fortunate to be introduced to General Sam Wilson, one of the most brilliant, honest, and authentic human beings we have ever encountered. We will be forever grateful to him for sharing his deep insights into the Vietnam War, one of the most divisive and complex events in our history. We feel his loss most acutely."
  • Joseph Galloway, war correspondent and co-author of “We Were Soldiers Once and Young,” found General Sam “a prince of a man and officer and thinker and doer. He lived the words Duty, Honor, Country every day. His like shall never pass this way again."
  • Novelist Charles McCarry said of his life-long friend "General Sam Wilson may well have been the ultimate citizen the founding fathers had in mind when they created our country. In dangerous times, he rose from the people to positions of high influence but all his life remained one of them. His deeds on the world stage were great and their effect on history was by no means small. His fame was quiet, as Sam, for whom duty was its own reward, wished it to be."
  • LTG Patrick Hughes, former DIA Director said of his predecessor "It is one thing to have been a great man for a brief period of time. It is another to have a sustained history and character of such esteem that one can call you among the greatest of the Greatest Generation."
  • LTG James Williams, former DIA Director: "He was first and foremost, a gentleman. It followed then that he was also a scholar and a soldier, cited for heroism, who truly inspired his men and his officers. No challenge was too great and no obstacle too severe."

Among General Sam's various other honors, he was a member of the U.S. Army Infantry Hall of Fame, the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame, the U.S. Military Intelligence Hall of Fame, and the U.S. Attaché Hall of Fame. He was a recipient of: the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star (Gallantry) (twice), the Legion of Merit (twice), the U.S. Army’s Distinguished Service Medal (thrice), the Office of National Intelligence's Distinguished Service Medal (twice), the U.S. Special Operations Distinguished Service Medal, the CIA Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the William Oliver Baker Award (Intelligence), the Arthur D. “Bull” Simons Award (Special Operations), the National Defense Industrial Association’s Rylander Award for Special Operations, and the Military Intelligence Corps Association’s Knowlton Award. General Sam also held an Honorary Doctorate in Laws from Hampden-Sydney College, an Honorary Doctorate in Letters from Longwood University, and an honorary doctorate in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University. In 1992, the Virginia Cultural Laureate Foundation named him its Cultural Laureate for Public Service.Samuel Vaughan Wilson was predeceased by his parents, Helen Vaughan and Jasper D. Wilson; his brothers John D. and William L.; his sister Virginia W. Druen; and by his wife Brenda Downing Wilson. He is survived by his brother James B. Wilson; his sons Samuel V. Wilson, Jr. (Jane Carol), Jackson B. Wilson (Jane), David. J. M. Wilson, and William W Tennis II; by his daughters Susan V. Wilson, and Frances Gwin Tennis (Jason); and by his wife Virginia H. Wilson.Memorial services for General Sam will be held at College Church, Hampden-Sydney College June 23 at 1:00 PM. The family asks that donations in his memory be made to the Samuel V. Wilson Scholarship Fund or The Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest at Hampden Sydney, VA, 23943. Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, is assisting the family.

Cynthia Louise Huff Hedrick

Hedrick CynthiaCynthia Louise Huff Hedrick age 64, found peace with the Lord Jesus on June 9, 2017, after a hard fought battle with cancer. She was born in Portsmouth, VA on July 10, 1952. She will be with eternal peace in heaven, preceding her is her mother Dorothy Huff, father Melvin Huff, and sister Susan Dillon. Surviving family is her husband of 23 years Jim Hedrick, Jim’s daughter Andrea Dawn Deppner and her husband Herky of Douglas, Alaska, close friend Charles Glenn Davis , his wife Missy and three children Riley, Tucker and Tanner of Daleville. Nikki Corcoran and her daughter Heather, her nieces Stephanie and husband Pastor Roger Hogan and their children Elizabeth, Chelsea and her husband Kyle Schymer and nephew Daniel Hogan, niece Shannon Moore and her daughter Korrie. Numerous relatives of the Arthur, Comer, Johnson, Daniel, Tomlin, Ellis, Hodges, and Stanley families. Cynthia traveled the United States after graduation from William Fleming High School in Roanoke, VA. Attended Nursing School in Roanoke, attended Virginia Tech, and holds a Bachelor Degree in Business from Lynchburg Community College. She has worked in her travels across the United States with Microsoft and in the development of promotional materials and models for Star Wars. She also worked in the development of robotics in its infancy. She was a publisher with a small printing press for business cards, and business promotional items. Cynthia held a realtor license; she was employed by a realtor in Roanoke. As a member of the NRA she was an advocate for gun rights and was an excellent marksman with handguns. In her younger days she was a member of the Civil Air Patrol at Woodrum Air Field in Roanoke, and enjoyed power and glider flying in Craig County. One of her many hobbies was as a puppeteer. She was employed by the Town of Bedford Police Department for 19 years, previously working in the planning and development department of Bedford County. Cynthia served as a volunteer with the D-Day Memorial from the first day of ground breaking and was a dedicated docent and tour guide to the many visitors of the D-Day Memorial. She was part of the Bedford Crime Prevention Coalition to address issues in the community through education and community. She supported events for the Prevention of Domestic Violence in Bedford. She volunteered with The Bedford Area Welcome Center for 15 years and enjoyed greeting visitors and helping to promote tourism in the Bedford Area. She was a member of the Bedford Elks Lodge #2844 serving as Lecturing Knight and newsletter editor. She was in the first class of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Citizens Police Academy.  She wrote computer articles for the Bedford Bulletin. Cynthia was an active member of the Christian Motorcycle Association in Roanoke and was inspirational in helping to organize the CMA Chapter in Lynchburg. As a co-rider with her husband Jim on their Harley and Suzuk -Trike participated in the Bedford Christmas parades, benefits for the Miller Home Toy Runs in Lynchburg, Prevention of Domestic Violence rides and many rides to support organizations and injured Police Officers. She rode in 14 trips with the Rolling Thunder POW–MIA Organization to Washington DC to serve and support the many veterans and riders going to the Vietnam Wall on Memorial Day. Her favorite trip was to Alaska to explore first hand, Alaska off the beaten path, with a day long hike across the Menedehall Glacier and trips to remote lakes via floatplane to watch Grizzly bears and eat fresh salmon off the grill and hike the back country. She was an avid gardener of both flowers and vegetables, with many beautiful flowers in the yard. Her photography had the quality of professional. She enjoyed the challenge of getting just the right angle and perfect picture, especially from the basket of a hot air balloon while participating as a valued crew member with several balloonists in the Bedford, Roanoke, and Statesville, North Carolina areas. Cynthia was proposed to by Jim while they were flying in a hot air balloon, piloted by Ed McDaniel over the Bedford Baptist Church, and were married in a field one early Sunday Morning with 5 different balloon crews in attendance. Cynthia attended several spiritual retreats at Camp Hat Creek in Brookneal, VA. She served on many servant-hood teams to share with other Christians the many gifts of grace and mercy of her Savior Jesus Christ. She served as the newsletter editor for several years for the spiritual retreat. Her beautiful smile and gracious life has been a shinning beacon of the grace light to others around her, showing the compassion, trust, love and inspiritation of her faith with The Lord Jesus. Her favorite song is “Just as I am”, in which she said people must accept who she was just as she had accepted herself. She attended Northminister Church in Roanoke, Bedford Presbyterian, Thaxton Baptist and is congregational member at Mountain View Church in Bedford. The people who knew Cynthia and who have been touched by her life have been blessed by a beautiful angel, who has fought a hard battle and has won the Peace and Comfort of Heaven in the final victory. You will be missed my Love. In lieu of flowers, Cynthia requested donations be made to the Bedford Community Health Foundation, 321 N. Bridge Street, Bedford, VA 24523 or Bedford Police Department, 215 E. Main Street, Bedford, VA 24523, attn: Bedford Crime Prevention Coalition. There will be a Celebration of Life on June 24 at Mountain View Church beginning at 11 am to visit with the family, 12pm Celebration Service and an hour after service for fellowship. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Barbara Alice Thurman Owen

Owen Barbara 2Barbara Thurman Owen died at Westminster Canterbury on June 9, 2017. She was born in Roanoke, VA on November 14, 1932 and she was preceded in death by her parents Alma Mullins Thurman and Harry Vernon Thurman, her brother Earl W. Keys and her sister-in-law and dear friend, Nancy R. Keys. She is survived by two daughters Sally Owen Conlon (Bob) and Susan Allison Owen (Mike Campbell), grandchildren Peter Conlon, Catherine Conlon, Marissa Conlon, Jackson Campbell and Lainey Campbell. Niece, Kathy Snowden (Rob) and nephews David Keys (Kathleen), Marshall Keys, great nephews Conor Keys, Michael Keys and Christian Snowden. Barbara was a long time faithful member of First Presbyterian Church where she served as both a Deacon and an Elder and taught 1st grade Sunday school for over forty years. She took great pride in her work in the Alumni Department at Lynchburg College receiving the Honorary Alumna Award in 1992. She very much enjoyed her LC coworkers, LC alumni and friends. Additionally, she had been an active member of The Junior Woman’s Club, Woman’s club, Ragged Robin Garden Club, Hobby Club and served as a Girl Scout leader. Among her many interest, which included spending time with her good friends, she was an accomplished seamstress and brightened the holidays every year with her distinctive handmade Christmas ornaments, including one made specifically for President Jimmy Carter. Toward the end of her life it was very important to her that she remain in her home as long as possible and many thanks to her wonderful caregivers who made this possible: Lerisa Rosser, Amber Reynolds, Kelsey Layne and Velma Jones. When this was no longer possible she received the compassionate care provided by the Drinkard 5th floor staff at Westminster Canterbury. A celebration of Barbara’s life will be held later this year with details to follow. In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Lynchburg College Annual Fund. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Teresa Ann McDonaldson Moser

Moser TeresaTeresa Ann McDonaldson Moser, 54, of Lynchburg, passed away Wednesday, June 7, 2017. She was born in Bedford County, on December 18, 1962, a daughter of Annie Mae McDonaldson and the late Bill McDonaldson. In addition to her mother she is survived by daughters, Mary Beth Wray, Shannon Kathleen Moser; grandsons, Jay Wray, Jeramiah Taylor; grandmother, Christine “Mama Tine” Eubank; step-grandmother, Jessie Gooden; as well as numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Bedford Rescue Squad, 311 Bedford Avenue, Bedford, VA 24523. A funeral service will be held 1:00 PM, Friday June 9, 2017, at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 710 Clay Street, Lynchburg, VA 24504 with Rev. Msgr. J. Kenneth Rush officiating. Burial will follow in Virginia Memorial Park. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at 12:00 Noon. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Elinor Jean "Tink" Sperberg Wilson

Wilson ElinorElinor Jean “Tink” Sperberg Wilson, 80, of Bedford, went home to be with her Lord on Friday June 2, 2017. She was the loving wife of Sherman Lee Wilson for 57 years. She was born on November 22, 1936, in Bedford County, a daughter of the late Elinor Goodman Sperberg and Edward Bane Sperberg. Elinor was a devoted member of Timber Ridge Baptist Church. She taught Sunday school, helped in Vacation Bible School, and was a member of the Women’s Missionary Union. She was a dedicated woman of God and was the backbone of her family. She taught her children and her grandchildren to care for and love all people, as she did. She was an excellent cook, and all those who knew her asked for her special yeast rolls. Her many talents were too numerous to mention. She will be greatly missed by her loved ones. In addition to her husband, Elinor is survived by her six children, Whorten “Bane” Bowyer and wife Janet, Faye J. Cumbee and Bill Inge, Austin L. Wilson and wife Valerie, Geraldine “Geri” W. Blackburn and husband Mark, Innocent W. Moss and husband Ricky, Sheldon F. Wilson and wife, Carey; brother, William Sperberg and wife Edna; sister, Carrie Sperberg Wood and husband Raymond; sixteen grandchildren; sixteen great-grandchildren; dear friend, Sue Byrne; and a host of other family and friends. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Timber Ridge Baptist Church, 3234 Timber Ridge Road, Bedford, VA 24523, or Bedford County Fire Department, 315 Bedford, VA 24523. A funeral service will be held 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 6, at Timber Ridge Baptist Church, with Pastor Phil Kelley officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Family will receive friends 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., Monday, at Timber Ridge Baptist Church. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Hazel Coretta Booth Lawhorn

Lawhorn Coretta 3Hazel Coretta Booth Lawhorn, 85, of Thaxton, died Thursday, June 1, 2017. She was born in Bedford County, on August 17, 1931, a daughter of the late Griffin Thomas Booth and Roberta Robertson Booth. In addition to her parents she is preceded in death by her husband, George M. Lawhorn; sons, David Ashwell, Howard Ashwell, Dale Ashwell; step-children, Michael Lawhorn, David Lawhorn; sister, Marie Schwarz; brother, Nathan Booth. Coretta retired from Rubatex and was a member of Epworth United Methodist Church. She is survived by her sons, Richard Sinclair and wife, Nancy, George W. Lawhorn and wife Cindy; daughters, Patricia Delgado and husband Frank, Karen Lawhorn and husband Eugene, Glenda Crouch and husband Eugene; grandson and caregiver, Sherman Ashwell and wife Hollie and their daughters, Julia Ashwell, McKayla Ashwell grandchildren, Griffin Ashwell, Roberta LaTempa and husband John, Tammie Wills and husband Kurt, Laura Wilkins and husband Ryan; and numerous other grandchildren, step-grandchildren, family, and friends. A funeral service will be held 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, June 6, at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, with Rev. June Carpenter officiating. A burial will follow in Greenwood Cemetery. Family will receive friends 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Monday, June 5, at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut St., Bedford. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Charles Michael "Mike" Farmer

Farmer CharlesCharles Michael Farmer, “Mike”, passed away at his home May 25, 2017 following a long illness with cancer. He was the loving husband of Patricia Womack Farmer for 50 years. He was born on June 16, 1947 to Geraldine Kirby Farmer and the late Charles Lewis Farmer of Lynchburg. Charles was preceded in death by a sister, Patricia. In addition to his wife and mother he is survived by his children; Amy Farmer Hensley and husband Jeremy and Katie Farmer Hall and husband Scott; seven grandchildren, Maddison, Kelsey, Emily, Haleigh, Riley, Amber and Nick. Mike was employed at Areva for 40 years. He served in the Army for two years in Vietnam. Mike was a member of Timberlake Methodist Church. He had an amazing faith in God and demonstrated his faith in the way he lived. Next to God and his family, he loved nature, gardening and fishing. His loving and generous nature will be greatly missed by many. A graveside service for family was held, May 26, 2017 at Fort Hill Memorial Park, officiated by Rev. Brad Bell. In lieu of flowers his family request you please consider donating to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, 501 St Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Scheduled Services


No scheduled services.