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

Obituaries

Doris Stevens Abbott

Abbott DorisOn Friday, September 23, 2016, Doris Stevens Abbott went home to be with her Lord and Savior. She left her old earthly body and received a new one. She was born in Bedford, on May 26, 1937. She was preceded in death by her mother, Mary Stevens Bond; her husband of 50 years, Thomas N. “Skeeter” Abbott; sister, Shirley Bond Lawhorn; and nephew, Frankie Smith. Doris was a member of the Bedford Church of God, where she helped out with cleaning, yard and bake sales, taught Sunday School, and was family training hour director. She also loved directing Christmas plays. She loved working in her flower garden and working puzzles. She worked at Miles Machine Shop, Family Dollar, Grant’s, and Johnson’s Department Store. Her favorite job was being “Momma Doris” to 70 children that she babysat for over the years. She considered all these youngsters her grandchildren. She is survived by her loving children; son, Randall Abbott; daughter, Teresa Silsbee and husband Brian, all of Bedford. Special thanks to her caregivers, Rebecca Owens and Linda Smith, and the Good Samaritan Hospice. A funeral service will be held 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, September 27, at Bedford Church of God with Rev. David Hinsen officiating. Burial will follow in Oakwood Cemetery. The family will receive friends 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Monday evening at Bedford Church of God. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Barry Wyatt Bell, Sr.

Bell Barry 2Barry W. Bell Sr., went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday September 20, 2016. He was born in Lynchburg, VA, on October 9, 1942, a son of the late Henry Ross Bell Sr. and Ada Creasy Bell. In addition to his parents he is preceded in by death by two brothers, Henry Ross Bell Jr., Rodney Dale Bell; and one sister, Arlene Glover. He was retired from U.S. Airways and served in the US Navy for six years. He was a member of Pleasant View Baptist Church where he served as a Deacon. He loved fishing and hunting. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Annie Huffman Bell; his three sons, Barry W. Bell Jr. (Monique), Larry Scott Bell (Teresa), Michael Keith Bell (Kimberley); one daughter, Laurie Bell Soles (Doug); eight grandchildren, Heather Bell, Kara Bell, Morgan Bell, Logan Bell, Kassidy Bell, Wyatt Bell, Haylee Bell, Jaime Soles; and a host of nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held 5:00 p.m., Sunday, September 25, at Pleasant View Baptist Church. A visitation will be held one hour prior to the service.

Helen Opal Vinson Webber

Webber HelenOur beloved mother and friend, Helen Vinson Webber, died on Sunday, September 18, 2016 at the age of 91. She was a woman of strong faith and proved loyal to her God Jehovah right up until her death. Helen was preceded in death by her parents Kenneth and Laura Vinson; and her husband, Ralph G. Webber. She is survived by her three daughters, Carol Burnette (Dick), Susan Wilkinson (Charles), Kathy Pleasants (Ben) and son; Jesse Webber (Cristie). Also included are many grandchildren and loving friends. Helen left a positive influence on all she knew and will be remembered by her lovely smile. A Graveside service will be held 1:00 p.m. Monday, September 19, 2016 in Greenwood Cemetery. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Susan Heather O'Connell-Gelatko

OConnell Gelatko SusanSusan Heather O’Connell-Gelatko, 45, of Moneta died Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at her residence with her family by her side. She was born February 12, 1971, a daughter of John B. and Joanne Baierl O’Connell. In addition to her parents Susan is survived by her loving husband David Gelatko. Donations in the memory of Susan O’Connell-Gelatko can be made to the Bedford Public Library Foundation, 321 N. Bridge Street, Bedford, VA 24523. www.bplsonline.org  A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated 11:00 a.m., on Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at Resurrection Catholic Church, 15353 Moneta Rd. Moneta, VA 24121, with Father Salvador Añonuevo celebrating. The family will receive friends from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Tuesday September 6, 2016, at Burch-Messier Funeral Home, 317 West Main Street Bedford, Virginia 24523. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Marie Jean Ranger

Marie Jean Ranger, 84, of Bedford, died Monday, August 29, 2016. She was born in Canada on February 21, 1932, a daughter of the late Louis Richer and Marie Seguin Richer. She is survived by her husband of 64 years, Mars Ranger. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated 2:00 p.m., Friday, September 2, at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church with Father Salvador Añonuevo celebrating. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, 540-586-7360.

Raymond Michael Jennings III

Jennings RaymondRaymond Michael Jennings III, 55, of Moneta, died Thursday, August 25, 2016. He was born in Bakersfield, CA, on February, 1, 1961, a son of Raymond M. Jennings, Jr. and Fay Cox Jennings. He was a loving father, husband, grandfather, brother, and son. Raymond was employed as a supervisor at McPeak Supply. In addition to his parents he is survived by his wife, Lori Smith Jennings; daughters, Hollie Payne and husband Johnny, Sarah Allevato and husband Tony, Melissa Jennings and Fiancé Nick Hagen, Taylor Jennings and Fiancé Bobby Faithful; sons, Doug Stewart and wife Stefanie, Chase Stewart and wife Nicky; sister, Denise Clark and husband Gene; grandchildren, Kadence Payne, Bennett Payne, Finn Allevato, Devon Stewart, Connor Stewart, Daxton Stewart, Madison Stewart, Raelynne Stewart; niece, Caroline Clark; and nephew, Garrett Clark (Britni). The family would like to thank the staff at Centra Hospice and the staff at Duke University Melanoma Center and CMG Village. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated 2:30 p.m., Monday, August 29, at Resurrection Catholic Church, 15121 Moneta Rd., Moneta, VA. with MSGR. Joseph Lehman officiating. In lieu of flowers Memorial Contributions may be made to the Duke University Melanoma Center 20 Duke Medicine Circle, Durham, NC 27710. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

L. Joel Pearson

L. Joel Pearson, 87, of Lynchburg, VA went to be with his Lord on Tuesday, August 23, 2016. He was born in Hammond, IN on March 8, 1929. He is preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Lois Jeanne Bottorff Pearson. Joel is survived by his three sons, Timothy (Connie), Philip, and David (Julie) Pearson; four grandchildren, Jennifer Clark (Chris), Camberly Pearson, Mike Pearson, Kristy Montesano (Mike); two great-grandchildren, Bella Pearson and Jackson Montesano. Joel retired from Liberty University as Vice President of Development He is a member and past deacon of the West Lynchburg Baptist Church. A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m., Thursday, September 1, 2016 at West Lynchburg Baptist Church. The family requests in lieu of flowers donations be made to Centra Hospice, Lynchburg. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Pastor Kenneth Hallin Owens

Owens KennethPastor Kenneth Hallin Owens, of Bedford, passed from this life to be with his Lord and Savior, Monday, August 22, 2016 at the age of 67. He was surrounded by his family as he took his journey home. Waiting for Kenneth in glory are his daughter, Valarie Marcella Owens; father, Andie Hallin Owens; and his mother, Irma Roberts Owens. Kenneth was a private in the United States Army, stationed in fort Benning, Georgia. He was the pastor of the Church of the Great Shepherd for 20 years. Kenneth is survived by his devoted and loving wife, Valarie Stump Owens (who dedicated over 49 years to him); his three children, Melissa Ann Owens of Bedford, Kenneth Randy Owens & Teresa of Bedford, Monica Owens Wilson & Jimmy of Franklin county; thirteen grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; brother, Billie Joe Owens & Wanda of Wytheville; sister, Jannie Owens Tolley & Don of Bedford. A funeral service will be held 2:00 p.m., Thursday, at The Church of the Great Shepherd, 1937 Shingle Block Road, Bedford, with Rev. Kenneth Lafon officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Family will receive friends 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, at The Church of the Great Shepherd. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Crystal Weaver Dennis

Crystal Dennis, 68, of Roanoke, died Friday, August 19, 2016. She was born in Philadelphia, PA on March 25, 1948, a daughter of the late Carlton Weaver and Jacquelean Baine Weaver. In addition to her parents she is preceded in death by her husband, William Dennis. She is survived by a daughter, Martha Byers and husband Darrell; sons, Edward Jones and wife Melissa, Carlton Hughes; granddaughters, Carrie, Faith, Dixie, Cimmaron; great-aunt, Patsy Meadows; special cousin, Pat “Tio” Gordon; and her dog, Princess. A Graveside Service will be held 11:00 AM Tuesday, August, 23, 2016 at Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens, 5737 Airport Rd. Roanoke, VA 24012 with the Rev. Terry and Crystal Hardin officiating. The family will receive friends 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., Monday, August 22, 2016 at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut Street, Bedford. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.                  

Cassandra "Melody" Horst

Horst Melody

Cassandra “Melody” Horst, 47, passed away on August 19, 2016 in the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital after a short illness. Melody was born in Bedford, VA on January 30, 1969. Daughter to Robert Horst and his wife Carolyn and Marie Brownley and her husband Steven. She was a graduate of Liberty High School and was employed by the United Parcel Service in Dunmore, PA. She will be remembered for being a loving mother to her daughters and granddaughter, as well as, a wonderful friend to all who knew her. In addition to her parents, she is survived by her husband, Stephen Podunajec; daughters, Brittany Aleckna and husband Brandon and Brandi Stratton; Two sisters, April Spence Cox and Sandra Horst Wendling. Three brothers, Dale Meador, Tommy Meador and Robert Spence. One granddaughter, Rylee Aleckna; Father and Mother-in-law, Paul “Butch” and Barb Podunajec; sister-in-law, Theresa Stratton, Michele Havrilchak and Emily Martinkovitch; brother-in-law, Matthew Podunajec; several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by a brother, Robert Anthony “Tony” Horst in 1973. A memorial service will be held at 2:00pm, Saturday, September 17, 2016 at Burch-Messier Walnut St. Chapel, 1235 Walnut St., Bedford. Pastor Eric Pennington officiating. A reception will be held following the service at the chapel. Memorial donations may be made to Melody’s children in c/o Robert Horst, 4952 Moneta Rd., Bedford, VA 24523. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, VA 540-586-7360.

Scheduled Services


Doris Stevens Abbott, 79, of Bedford, died Friday, September 23, 20167. A funeral service will be held 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, September 27, at Bedford Church of God. A visitation will be held 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., Monday, at Bedford Church of God.


Barry W. Bell, 73, of Evington, died Tuesday, September 20, 2016. A Memorial service will be held 5:00 p.m., Sunday, September 25, at Pleasant View Baptist Church. Family will recieve friends one hour prior to the service.