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

Obituaries

Melivn Lee Ellis

Ellis Melvin 2Melvin Lee Ellis, 65, of Bedford, died Monday, March 27, 2017 after a long battle with cancer. He was born in Franklin County, on April 13, 1951, son of the late Roscoe Ellis and Annie Diver Ellis. In addition to his parents he is preceded in death by his step-sons, Wayne Dooley and Danny Dooley. He is survived by his wife, Ruth Claudine Ellis; son, George Ellis; step-son, David Dooley, step-daughter, Diane D. Branham; brothers, Ralph Ellis (Virginia), Mike Ellis; grandchildren, James Dooley (Melissa), Amber Bennett (Jimmy), Michelle Dooley, Jeremy Branham, Lash Dooley, Brandi Dooley; great-grandchildren, Trinity King, Seth Dooley, Alexander Dooley, Amelia Bennett, Jake Bennett, and Chance Dooley. In lieu of flowers please consider making donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. A funeral service will be held 2:00 p.m., Friday, March 31, at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut Street, Bedford, with Pastor David Hinsen officiating. Burial will follow in Greenwood cemetery. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Kenny Richard Nelson

Nelson Kenny 2Kenny Richard Nelson, 63, of Bedford, died Sunday, March 26, 2017. He was born in Nash County, NC, on June 28, 1953, son of the late Barney Wadsworth Nelson and Alma Morgan Nelson. In addition to his parents he is preceded in death by a sister, Ruth E. Nelson. He is survived by sisters, Sue Croft, Vicky Hortman, Faye Graham (Bruce); brother, Carl Nelson (Lucia); nephews, Ricky Nelson (Alice), and Bill Land (Natalie); niece, Tracy Lynn Nelson; special friend, Dora Mays; and numerous other family and friends. In lieu of flowers the family request donations be made to The Arthritis Foundation, 7202 Glen Forest Drive, Suite 305, Richmond, VA 23226. A funeral service will be held 2:00 p.m., Saturday, April 1, at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut Street, Bedford, with the Rev. Vernon DeLong officiating. Burial will follow in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

James Rodger Peters, Jr.

On March 24, 2017, Lovie and Jimmie’s first born, James Rodger Peters, Jr. “Jaybird", bid farewell to this world. His beautiful, kind soul took to the wind, caught an updraft, and now sails high above us. Jay’s loving heart, of which he gave freely to others, ran out of energy for his own body. He leaves many affected hearts behind, but his immediate family was small, and always at a hand’s reach. He is predeceased by his father, James R. Peters, Sr. his 3 grandfathers, Grandville Eugene Peters, Sr., Paul Obie Viar, and Ziyatin Asim Boynuk, his grandmother, Mary Virginia Peters, his uncles Pete and Douglas Peters, and our dear cousin, Brian Keith Peters. Jay’s dogs, Sam, Spice, and Duke were his babies. He is survived by his mother, Lovie V. Peters, his grandmother, Elizabeth “Nannie Tee” Boynuk, his sisters, Yvette Humphrey, and Monica “Pollie” Dalton, Jay’s special brothers, Troy Humphrey, and James Dalton, and two devoted nephews, Collin Humphrey (Ayron Young), and Jacob Dalton. Jay’s Aunt Jane was always available with words of encouragement, and a twirl on the dance floor. Uncle Paul, Aunt Lynda, Aunt Nancy, Aunt Loriene, Aunt Mary Preston, Pattie, Karen, Kanzada, Caressa, Ricky, Rodger, Temby, Dawn, Amanda, Mindy, Mallory, Alex, Emily, Josh, and all their husbands, wives, and children had a place in Jay’s heart. It is impossible to list the many friends that are truly a part of our family. We feel indebted to you all for the love and laughter that you shared with Jay. We would never meaningfully leave anyone out, so if your name is not present, please forgive us in our time of sorrow, and know that you are present in our hearts. Jay’s generous spirit and unrivaled charm enriched the lives of all he met. His inimitable laugh was the most infectious and always left a room better than when he found it. A memorial service will be held, Saturday, April 1, 2017 at Madison Heights Christian Church. Visitation will be 1:30 – 2:30, and the service at 3:00. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Amherst County Rescue Squad, and Human Society of Amherst County. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home and Cremation, 317 W. Main Street, Bedford 540-586-7360.

Barbara Mae Whorley McKinney

McKinney Barbara 1Barbara Mae Whorley McKinney, 65, of Bedford died Wednesday, March 22, 2017. She was born in Big Island, VA, on August 18, 1951, a daughter of the late Sam Whorley and Ruby Tolley Whorley. In addition to her parents she is also preceded in death by several siblings. She is survived by daughters, Amy Hamilton and husband, Hank, Shelly McKinney; grandchildren, Tyler McKinney, Isaac Hamilton, Kaylyn, Precious, Michael; great-grandson, Jayce McKinney; sisters, Brenda Peters, Nancy Whorley; and brother, Larry Whorley. A funeral service will be held 2:00 p.m., Friday, March 24, at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut Street, Bedford, with Rev. Earl Ragland officiating. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

John Cyril "J.C." Cousart

Cousart JohnJohn Cyril “J.C.” Cousart, 69, of Bedford, passed away Tuesday, March 21, 2017. He was born in Bedford County, on May 4, 1947, a son of the late Cyril G. Cousart and Selma Scott Cousart. He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou Eubank Cousart; daughters, Cristi Cousart, Stacie Cousart and Sue Smith; grandson, Lucian Cousart Reed; mother-in-law, Mamatine Eubank; sisters-in-law Nancy Eubank, Annie Mae McDonaldson, and numerous other family and friends. A funeral service will be held 2:00 p.m., Monday, March 27, at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut St., Bedford with the Rev. Mark Wilkerson officiating. Family will receive friends 3:00 – 5:00 p.m., Sunday, at Burch-Messier Walnut St. Chapel. In lieu of flowers please consider donations to Otterville United Methodist Church, Chimes Fund, 6524 Big Island Hwy, Bedford, VA 24523. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Jo Ann Worrell Hancock

Hancock Jo Ann 2Jo Ann Worrell Hancock, 72, of Bedford, died Thursday, March 16, 2017. She was born in Indian Valley, VA, on July 25, 1944, a daughter of the late Clarence Worrell and Opal Quesenberry Worrell. Jo Ann graduated from Christiansburg High School and was a retired secretary from Bedford County Public Schools after many years of service. She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Joe Hancock; son, Jay Hancock; daughter, Jennifer Carter; brothers, Allen and Wayne Worrell of Christiansburg; grandson, Jesse Hancock and his wife, Amanda; granddaughter, Vanessa Carter; and great granddaughter, Daria Carter. In lieu of flowers please consider the Bedford Human Society, 829 Ole Turnpike Drive, Bedford, VA 24523. The family will receive friends 3:00 – 5:00 p.m., Sunday, March 19, 2017, at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut Street, Bedford. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Joseph Horsley Wills

Joseph Horsley Wills, 85, of Lynchburg, passed away surrounded by family on Friday, March 10, 2017. He was born on January 31, 1932, in Nelson County, a son of the late James Edward Wills and Frances Wright Wills. In addition to his parents he is preceded in death by his wife, Etta Lawhorne Wills. Joe was a veteran of the United States Air Force and retired from B & W. He was a member of Chestnut Hill United Methodist Church. He was a longtime volunteer of Central Virginia Federal Credit Union, Gideon’s International, Heart Havens and other local organizations. He is survived by his daughters, Wanda Pillow and husband, Herb, Barbara Murrell, Sandra Lane-Thomas, three grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. No formal services will be held. Memorial contributions may be made to the Gideon’s International, P.O. Box 4723  Lynchburg, VA 24502. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Frank Henry West

west frank1Frank H West of Bedford, VA, formerly of Long Island, NY passed away March 8, 2017. After serving in the Army he married Lois and they raised a daughter and two sons. He was a happy, loving husband and father who was always eager to lend a helping hand. Throughout his life he was passionate about aviation which included owning planes and building radio-controlled model planes. He began a 30 year career with Motorola, which afforded him many opportunities to travel worldwide. He married his high school sweetheart, Betty, in 1986. They spent 30 happy years together traveling, having new adventures, and visiting old friends. He dedicated his life to Jehovah God in 1991, happily helping those in need. Frank is survived by his sister, Grace Hillenbrand; daughter, Deborah (Dennis) Copenhaver; sons, Michael (Glenda) West, and Kenneth (Cynthia) West. In lieu of flowers his children request you please consider donating to Gideon’s International. Frank is also survived by his step-daughters, Margo Hand, Michelle Pershinsky, Jacalyn (Russell) Mahler, Amanda Erhart, Jessica (Charles) Lein; 18 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers hi step-daughters request you please consider donating to Watchtower at the address below. He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty; brother-in-law, Eddie; niece, Darlene; son-in-law, Bob Hand; and grandson, Ryan Lein. Many thanks to the wonderful caregivers at English Meadows. Services will be held at 1:00, Saturday, March 18, 2017 at Moneta Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, 5969 Booker T Washington Hwy, (Rt 122), Wirtz, VA. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home and Cremation, 317 W. Main Street, Bedford 540-586-7360.

Richard Francis Zamjohn, Jr.

Richard Francis Zamjohn, Jr., born on October 22, 1959, died Tuesday, March 7, 2017. Rick is survived by his daughter, Sarah Rene Zamjohn of Richmond; sisters, Karen Cifala, Trina May-Black, Patricia Gilhuly, Michelle Davis; and his mother, Beverly Terry. He was loved by everyone that met him and was addressed by friends and students as Mr. “Z”, Rick, Brick Bradford, and Dad. All who knew Rick reveled in his enthusiastic love of life, love of family and children, and his inventive spirit. Rick went out of his way to help others and always had new projects abound from small engines repairs to woodworking specialties. He loved riding his motorcycle, camping and fishing, and never missed an opportunity to join friends for an adventure. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 9:30 a.m., Friday, March 17, at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church, 1307, Oakwood St., Bedford. Interment will follow in Greenwood Cemetery. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Jacquelyn Lewis Hopkins Cunningham

Cunningham JacquelynJacquelyn Hopkins Cunningham, 81, of Bedford, passed away peacefully and earned her place in glory in Lynchburg, Virginia, on Saturday, March 4, 2017. Formerly of Meridian Mississippi, Jackie spent the last 3 months as a resident of Runk & Pratt, Lynchburg, Virginia. She was born in Meridian, Mississippi on October 4, 1935, a daughter of the late Jack L. Hopkins and Virginia Perkins Hopkins. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her husband, Jack Cunningham; her siblings, Olivia, Gena, and Kathy. Jackie was a graduate of the Class of 1953 of Meridian High School. Surviving are her children, Julie Rogers (Matthew) of Oak Ridge, NC, Melanie Hempe (Christopher) of Charlotte, NC, and Karl Kernekin (Sara) of Bedford; grandchildren, Ashley Crutchfield (Tommy), Laura Nance (Cody), Elizabeth Switajewski (Troy), Adam Brooker, Melissa Brooker, Andrew Hempe, Evan Hempe, Olivia Kernekin, Ethan Kernekin; great-grandchildren, Lahna, Savannah, and Olivia Crutchfield, Weston Nance, Lila Switajewski. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Families Managing Media, 301 East John Street, Suite 163, Matthews, NC, 28105. A Memorial service will be held 12:00 Noon, Saturday, March 11, 2017, at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut Street, Bedford. A graveside service will be held 12:00 Noon, Thursday, March 16, 2017, at Magnolia Cemetery, 2638 23rd Avenue, Meridian, MS. Interment will be beside Virginia Hopkins. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, VA 540-586-7360.