Obituaries
(540) 586-7360
Chapel: 1235 Walnut Street, Bedford, VA 24523 | Office/Visitation: 317 West Main Street, Bedford, VA 24523

Obituaries

Roger Kendall Van Wart

Roger Kendall Van Wart, 88, of Bedford, died Wednesday, May 25, 2016. He was born on October 2, 1927 in Bay Shore, New York, a son of the late Harold Van Wart, Sr. and Anna Johnson Van Wart. In addition to his parents he is preceded in death by his siblings, Alice, John, Ethel, Harold, Laurence, and Amy. He retired from Huddleston Elementary School as a custodian and was a U.S. Navy veteran serving in the Korean War. Roger is survived by his wife, Karin Holmberg Van Wart; daughter, Joyce Mitchell and husband Charles; son, Roger Van Wart and wife, Anne; granddaughter, Heather Mitchell Childress; grandsons, Matt Mitchell and wife Samantha, Kendall Van Wart; great-grandchildren, Trystan and Piper Childress, Ethan and Isabel Mitchell; sisters, Ruth Van Wart, Nancy Nevins; brother, Donald Van Wart and wife Hannah, Louis Van Wart and wife, Marjory, and several nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held 11:00 a.m., Saturday, May 28, at Main Street United Methodist Church with the Rev. Rick Ecklund Officiating. In lieu of flowers please make donations to Main Street United Methodist Church Technology Fund. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Larry Dean Johnson

Larry Dean Johnson, 69, of Bedford, died Sunday, May 22, 2016. He was born in Lynchburg, VA. on January 4, 1947. He is survived by his wife Brenda Lane Johnson; daughter, Penelope (Penny) Jackson; son, Brad Johnson and wife Patricia; grandchildren, Meridith Jackson, Isabella Nester, Nicole Frank, and Jonah Frank. A visitation will be held 6:00-8:00 PM Wednesday, May 25, at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut Street, Bedford. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Arthur Carl "Sonny" Kirby

Arthur Carl "Sonny" Kirby, 78, of Bedford died Friday, May 20, 2016.  He is survived by his wife, Kathleen F. Kirby, a sister, Carole K. Phillips; two daughters, Carol K. Hogan, Rosemary K. Page; step-son, Ron E. Carter, Jr.;  granddaughter, Wendy M. Butler and great-grandchildren Brady and Bria Butler.  Arthur was a retired printing supervisor for Rubatex and the News Advance.  Arthur’s wishes were to be cremated with no services.  Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Hyeland "Gene" Branham

Branham GeneHyeland “Gene” Branham, 73, of Madison Heights, went home to be with the Lord, Wednesday, May 11, 2016. He was born in Amherst, VA on August 26, 1942, a son of the late James and Carsia Branham. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Branham; daughter, Lisa Hinds; three grandchildren; special sister, Thelma Branham (Curtis) of Amherst, VA; brother, James Branham, of Maryland; special brother, Clarence Hicks (Bonnie), of Madison Heights, VA; special niece, Gail Branham, of Thaxton, VA; several other nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Eternal Baptist Church, 623 Thomas Rd., Madison Heights, VA 24572. A funeral service will be held 11:00 a.m., Saturday, May 14, at Eternal Baptist Church, with Pastor Sidney Wade officiating. A visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Gerald Wingfield "Jerry" Gilliam

Gilliam GeraldGerald Wingfield “Jerry” Gilliam, 74, of Forest, VA went to be with the Lord on Monday May 2, 2016 after a long battle with cancer.  He was born in Lynchburg, on October 31, 1941, a son of the late John Otway and Virginia Wingfield Gilliam. Jerry graduated from Brookville High School in 1960 where he played on the football team. He then went on to graduate from East Carolina University. He also proudly served his country in the U.S Navy. He retired after 34 years in management from Babcock and Wilcock. After retirement he worked part time at Eagle Eyrie Conferene Center as a cost analyst. Jerry was the loving and devoted husband to his wife, Jean Davis Gilliam, for 49 years. Along with his wife, he is survived by a son, Gerald Steven Gilliam (Lani) of Midlothian, VA; a daughter Elizabeth Gilliam Williams (Linwood) of Penn Laird, VA; and 5 grandsons, Jonathan and Brandon Williams of Penn Laird, VA and Wilson, Drew, and Grant Gilliam of Midlothian, VA. Jerry was a kind and compassionate man who loved his Lord, family, and sports, especially his purple and gold East Carolina Pirates. He coached little league football (Richland Hill Tigers) for many years and loved NASCAR racing. He drove for Meals on Wheels, served as a Trustee, Assistant Treasurer, Deacon, Sunday School teacher, and other areas of leadership along with being the "brunswick stew maker" for many years at Chestnut Hill Baptist Church. He was a devoted father and grandfather.  His greatest pride and joy was his 5 grandsons. He loved spending fun times with them along with being a proud supporter of their school and sporting activities. Jerry loved working in his yard, spending time at Hilton Head and always looked forward to winter and snow. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, May 7 at 4:00 p.m., at Chestnut Hill Baptist Church with the Rev. Rod Miller officiating and assisted by Dr. Dennis Hollingsworth. The family will receive friends prior to the service from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. The family would like to extend heartfelt thanks to Dr Jenkins and Seven Hills Hospice for his excellent care. A special thank you to Cassie, Joan, Betsy, and Bridget for their special care and love shown to Jerry during his illness. In keeping with Jerry's wishes, it was his decision to donate organ/tissue for medical research in hopes of finding a cure or better treatment for glioblastoma. Memorials may be made to the American Veterans Tribute; P.O. Box 9469, Henrico, VA 23228, Meals on Wheels, or a charity of your choice. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford VA, 540-586-7360, www.burch-messier.com

Bonnie Bee Davis Stanley

Stanley BonnieBonnie Bee Davis Stanley, 72, of Concord, died Saturday, April 30, 2016.  She was born on October 28, 1943, in Wise County, a daughter of the late Cicerow W. Davis and Myrtle Pierson Davis. Along with her parents she is preceded in death by a son, John Vaughn Sr., and first husband, J.F. Vaughn. Bonnie was a loving mother, grandmother, and a friend to all. She is survived by her husband, Robert E. Stanley, Sr.; a son, James V. Vaughn; a daughter, Virginia King and husband, Scott; sisters, Shirley Davis, Mary Lou Davis, Martha Lee Davis, Cora Dearry; brothers, Ray E. Davis, Robert Davis; grandchildren, Kenny Caudill, Chris Caudill, John V. Vaughn Jr. and wife Crystal, Ryan F. Vaughn and wife, Gerri, Whitney Vaughn, Michelle Moore, and Kaylin, Hannah, & Lily; great-grandchildren, Malakii Vaughn, Kendrix Vaughn, and Makayla Vaughn. In lieu of flowers the family wishes that you please consider a contribution toward Bonnie’s funeral arrangements, in c/o Burch-Messier Funeral Home, 317 W. Main Street, Bedford, 24523. A visitation will be held 6:00-8:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 4, at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut Street, Bedford. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360. 

John Arnold Newcomb Sr.

John Arnold Newcomb, Sr., 84, of Bedford, died Wednesday, April 20, 2016 in Oakwood Manor.  He was born in Bedford County on August 9, 1931 a son of the late Samuel Ralph Newcomb and Annie Thurston Wilson.  In addition to his parents he is preceded in death by his step-mother, Virgie Lacy Newcomb, three brothers, Earl, William and Junior Newcomb.  John was a member of Center Point United Methodist Church and served his country in the U.S. Air Force.  He was retired from Lynchburg Foundry and enjoyed working his farm.  John is survived by his wife of 60 years, Etta Lemon Newcomb; a son, John Newcomb, Jr. and wife, Lynda; a daughter, Teresa Clark and husband, Alan; a son, David Newcomb and wife, Kristie; five grandchildren, Ashley Nowell, Sam Newcomb, Betsy Pendleton, Ethan Henry and Spencer Newcomb; two great-grandchildren, Calaeb Nowell and Gunner Nowell; two sisters, Lucy Irvine and husband, Joe; Mary (Sis) Woodie and husband, Les.  In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Center Point United Methodist Church, Goode Rescue Squad or the Alzheimer’s Association.  A graveside service will be held 11:00 a.m. Saturday, April 23, 2016 at Holy Land Cemetery with Rev. William Clark officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the graveside.  Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Medhat Lewis "Matt" Touna

Touna Martt PicMedhat “Matt” Lewis Touna, 51, of Forest, died Monday, April 18, 2016. He was born in Cairo, Egypt, on October 19, 1964, the son of Lewis Touna and the late Amal Touna. He is preceded in death by his wife, Catherine Marie Touna. He is survived by his son, Brian Touna; his brother, Michael Touna and wife Karen Maze. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m.Sunday, April 24, 2016, at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut Street, Bedford 24523. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford.



Alfred Leroy "Fred" Wagner

Wagner AlfredFred (Alfred) Wagner, died April 11, 2016 at his home in Forest, VA. He was born on October 21, 1940 in Carlisle, PA, and lived in the Stoughstown area for 40 years. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Louella and Ernest MacArthur, who raised him from childhood, also by his daughter-in-law, Mary Jane Shultz Wagner, and his parents, Helen and Stoey Wagner. He is survived by his wife, Doris of 55 years; two sons, Fred, of Newville, PA and Roy, of Flagler Beach, FL; two daughters, Deborah and her husband, Fred Campbell of Forest, VA and Jenny and her husband, Tim Woollett, of Lynchburg, VA; his brother, Larry Wagner and wife Vickie, of Austin, PA; his aunt, Eleanor Butler; his cousin, Joel Butler and wife Monica, all of Boiling Springs, PA; and nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. An entrepreneur without a diploma, he created successful businesses in custom cabinet making, building custom homes, and siding installation beginning in his early twenties. After “retiring” and moving to Flagler Beach, FL, he owned a video rental store which he passed on to his daughter, and also served as a city commissioner. Later he moved to Lynchburg, VA to help family members with their business. In later years he worked in his wood shop, making flag and medal cases, urns, and display cases. While living in PA, Fred was active in the South Newton Township Volunteer Fire Department in Walnut Bottom, PA, and became a lifetime member. He had a fun loving personality and enjoyed hunting and fishing. He was also a loyal Dale Earnhardt fan. He was dearly loved and will be missed by family and friends. Per his wishes, no services are scheduled. Memorial donations may be made to the South Newton Township Volunteer Fire Department #49, P.O. Box 49, 18 Firehouse Road, Walnut Bottom, PA 17288. Condolences may be sent to 1201 Sleepy Oak Lane, Forest, 24551, in care of Doris Wagner and/or Debbie Campbellorsend a condolence by visiting www.burch-messier.com. Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, is assisting the family.

Everette James "Griff" Gable

Everette James “Griff” Gable, 68, of Big Island, died Thursday, April 7, 2016 at Roanoke Memorial Hospital.  He was born in Bedford on September 16, 1947 a son of the late, Raymond Richard Gable, Sr. and Beatrice Holdren Gable.  In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by two brothers, Stephen Gable and Raymond R. Gable, Jr.  He was a member of Hunting Creek Baptist Church and was employed with Kroger of Vinton working in the meat department for many years.  He is survived by two sisters, Barbara Harman and Fran Gable; his devoted Dotson “Sally”; a nephew, Butch Booth; cousin, Ralph Beck; great-nephew; Stephen Gable, II.  A celebration of his life will be held 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel.  Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association.  Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.