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

Obituaries

Bennie Herman Coleman

Bennie Herman Coleman, 81, of Bedford, died on Tuesday, July 18, 2017. He was born on February 20, 1936, a son of the late Gordon Herman Coleman and Ellen Mae Ruff Coleman. Bennie was a life time member of Bedford Christian Church. After 36 years of employment, Bennie retired from G.E and Ericsson. During his retirement, he enjoyed working around the house and being able to rest while watching good TV shows and spending time on the computer surfing the internet.  He also liked to take road trips with his wife, Lillie.  During his years at Bedford High School he excelled in playing football. Later in life, he enjoyed getting together twice a month for breakfast with his football buddies. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Lillie Young Coleman; four sons; Chris Todd Coleman and wife, Nicole, their children; Tess and Sadie Coleman, Craig Scott Coleman and wife, Rebecca, their children; Landon and Brooklyn Coleman, Mark D Coleman and wife- Janet, their children Jessica and Alec Coleman; Michael A Coleman and the mother of Michael and Mark; Barbara D. Cook, two sisters; Gayle Gray of Charleston, S.C and Dorothy Chadwick of Williamsburg, VA. and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, Bennie was preceded in death by a brother, Jack Coleman and a sister Phyllis Coleman. A memorial service will be held 2:00 pm Friday, July 21, 2017 at Bedford Christian Church, 1928 Moneta Rd. Bedford with Rev. Ken Burger and Rev. Jim Compton officiating.  The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Memorials may be made to Bedford Christian Church or Centra Hospice, 2097 Langhorne Road, Lynchburg, VA 24502.  Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Dorothy Ann Chrzanowski Uryniak

Dorothy Ann Chrzanowski Uryniak, 97, of Roanoke, formally of Pittsfield, Massachusetts passed away Saturday, July 15, 2017. She was born in Webster, Massachusetts, on June 5, 1920, a daughter of the late Anthony Chrzanowski and Laura Demers Chrzanowski. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her husband, Peter Stanley Uryniak; son Robert Uryniak; brother Edward Chrzanowski; and sister Alice Bialas.She was a member of Resurrection Catholic Church in Moneta, Va. Dorothy worked for General Electric in Pittsfield, Mass. for several years and also work in the Rectory at St. Francis Catholic Church in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She is survived by her daughter Shirley Spiewak and husband Lewis; three grandsons Stanley, Robert, and Timothy Spiewak; one sister-in-law Adeline Chrzanowski; and numerous other nieces, nephews, family and friends. Memorial donations can be made to Medi Home Health and Hospice, 5369 Peters Creek RD, Roanoke, VA 24019. A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, July 19, at Resurrection Catholic Church, with Father Salvador Añonuevo celebrating. Visitation will be at 10:30 a.m. just prior to the service.Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Dawn Ayres Burch

Dawn Ayres Burch, affectionately known as “Don Don” to those that loved her,71, of Buena Vista, VA went to her heavenly home on  Sunday, July 16, 2017 at August Health.  She was born in Buena Vista on April 9, 1946. A daughter of the late Harry Douglas Ayres and Cynthia Effie Ramsey Ayres.  Dawn spent many years as a florist but retired from CVS in Buena Vista.  She was a devoted wife and loved her family; she especially loved spoiling all the children. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her brothers, Douglas and Daniel Ayres; sister Norma Ayers Staton; a great nephew, Michael Dean Gilliam; a step son, Scott Arie Burch; brothers-in-law Matthew Morris Bryant and Gary Allen and a sister- in- law Juanda Ayres. She is survived by husband of 41 years, Larry Wayne Burch: a step son Chris Burch and wife, Betsy; sister, Wanda Bryant; brother Ronnie Ayres; brother- in- law Houston Staton, Jr. and Lewis W. Burch, Jr and wife, Lek; sister–in-laws Teresa Ayres and Carol Faye Burch; grandchildren Caid and Levi Burch; numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and great great nieces and nephew and special friends; Karen Coffey and Kay Ayres.  A celebration of her life will be held at 11:00 am Wednesday at Victory Baptist Church, Buena Vista with Rev Dean Staton officiating. The family will receive friends at the church an hour prior, 10AM to the service. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital or Rockbridge Area Hospice. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home and Cremation, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Michael Xavier Camacho

Michael Xavier Camacho, 69, of Goode, VA and Norfolk, VA, died Wednesday, July 5, 2017.  He was born in Clovis, NM on December 29, 1947.   Mike served his country in the U.S. Navy and was a writer for the U.S. Government.  He is survived by his life partner, David Watson, Goode; his sister, Ethel Spradlin, Goode.  A memorial service will be held 7:00 p.m.Friday, July 14, 2017 at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut Street.  Memorial Contributions in his honor may be made to the SPCA. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, VA.

Captain Edward Ames Clark

ClarkEdward June 2016

Captain Edward Ames Clark, 100, of Lynchburg, Virginia died peacefully after a short illness Thursday, June 29, 2017. He was born in Somerville, Massachusetts on October 24, 1916, the son of the late Edward Harding Clark and Catherine Gladys (Ames) Clark. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his first wife, Doris Aline (Platner) Clark of 35 years, his second wife, Marion Joyce (Shelton) Clark of 35 years; sister Gertrude (Clark) Blessing; son-in-law Patrick Clark, granddaughter Michelle Pittillo and grandson Christopher Horn. He is also preceded in death by countless relatives, sadly, too numerous to mention. He is survived by his children, Edward Platner Clark (Kathy Wandke) of Henderson, Colorado, Joyce Diane Clark of Tarpon Springs, Florida, Beverly Jean Clark Stoltz (Joseph) of Springfield, Virginia, Bradford Thomas Clark of Columbus, Ohio, and Lisa Clark Burstein (Michael) of Lynchburg, Virginia; grandchildren, Edward Clark, Patrick Clark, Diane Perez, Michael Clark, Meghan Freeman, Andrea McCollam, and Aaron Burstein; thirteen great-grandchildren; eight great-great grandchildren; sisters in-law, Thelma Platner, Hilda Marek, and Bettie Shelton; cousins, Zoe Tyrrell and Bruce (Nancy) Ives, and many Clark, Platner, and Shelton nieces and nephews. Ed loved the sea and pursued a career proudly serving in the Merchant Marines. He graduated from Massachusetts Nautical School USS NANTUCKET in 1936, then sailed as AB seaman and Bos'n until 1938 when he got his first job "on the bridge" as Third Mate. He later became Chief Mate (first officer) in 1941 aboard the SS MARGRET (later lost with all hands due to enemy action.) He was transferred to the SS DELISLE as Chief Mate in 1942. The DELISLE was torpedoed (which he saw coming at them) off Jupiter Inlet, Florida on May 4, 1942. Ed got his Master's license at age 25 and first sailed as Captain in August 1942 on the SS HILTON to Greenland. His first Liberty ship as Captain was on SS WM B. WOODS. He remained with her until she was torpedoed and sunk in the Mediterranean on March 10, 1944, bound from Palermo, Sicily to Naples, Italy. After being repatriated to the US, he took delivery of his second Liberty Ship, the SS JEAN RIBAUT at Panama City, Florida in 1944. He received an honorable discharge from the Armed Forces of the United States of America/United States Coast Guard on August 15, 1945 receiving the Merchant Marine Emblem, Atlantic War Zone Bar, Pacific War Zone Bar, and Mediterranean–Middle East War Zone Bar. He later received the Merchant Marine Defense Bar, Vietnam Service Bar, and Merchant Marine Combat Bar. A full life ensued with many other seafaring voyages until retiring in November 1981. In 1988, he and thousands of other Merchant Mariners finally and rightfully received Veteran status and benefits – 43 years after the end of World War II. Ed spoke to civic clubs about his wartime experiences and American complacency. He ended with the urgent message "to pass on to our children and grandchildren the folly and consequences of being too complacent in the face of any foreign threat to our country – because, I, for one, do not wish to go through that again." Ed and his first wife, Doris, married in 1940, raised their five children while living in Stamford, Connecticut, Bel Air, Maryland, and summering on Matinicus Island, Maine. He loved Doris until her sudden death of asthma complications in 1975. Ed was blessed in love once more and was remarried to Joy in 1980. Joy gladly adopted the family as her own until her death from cancer in 2016. He and Joy lived in Rockland, Maine, Lynchburg, Virginia, and summered on Matinicus Island, Maine. Ed and Joy were much-loved residents of Valley View Retirement Community and Lynchburg Health and Rehabilitation. Ed was especially fond of his childhood summer and family home of Matinicus. He shared this lovely island and its residents with both wives, all his children, other family members, and friends - especially, the Sidwells and Wards from Bel Air, Maryland. Ed also lobster fished the island's beautiful waters. Many happy memories of Matinicus cheered him his entire life. Plans to carry his and Joy's ashes to the island and inter them next to Doris will be made by his children. The family would like to extend an invitation to friends and family to attend a memorial service and reception at Quaker Memorial  Presbyterian Church, at 2 pm on Saturday, July 15, 2017, located at 5810 Fort Avenue, Lynchburg, Virginia, 24502. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Maine Seacoast Mission, 127 West St., Bar Harbor, Maine, 04609. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home and Cremation, 317 W. Main Street, Bedford 540-586-7360.

Claude Fulton Simpson, Jr.

Claude Fulton Simpson, Jr., 70, of Roanoke, and formerly of Independence and Richmond, passed away Wednesday, July 5, 2017. He was born in Marion, VA on March 21, 1947, a son of the late Claude Fulton Simpson, Sr. and Annie Bernicie Crush Simpson. He is survived by his sisters and brothers-in-law, Elizabeth Jane “B.J.” and Gary “Moe” Millar of Dublin, Ellen and Denis Deane of Bedford, Sally Simpson of Roanoke; nieces and nephews-in-law, Louann Millar and Doug Casteen of Charlotte, NC, Hannah and John Overstreet of Roanoke, Jean Millar of Roanoke; aunts, Ella Walton Simpson Ross of New Castle, Dixie Crush of Roanoke; great-nephew and great-niece, William Blue and Elizabeth Mae Casteen; and numerous cousins. Claude was a graduate of Independence High School and Tusculum College. A graveside service will be held 3:00 p.m., Sunday, July 16, 2017, at the Simpson Family Cemetery, 17267 John’s Creek Rd., New Castle, VA, with the Rev. Andrew Taylor-Troutman officiating. In lieu of flowers the family suggests that you donate to your favorite charity. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Annie Isabelle Spence Overstreet

Overstreet AnnieAnnie Isabelle Overstreet, 75, of Thaxton went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, July 4, 2017. She was born Bedford, VA on December 14, 1941, a daughter of the late Harold James Spence and Minnie Branham Spence. In addition to her parents she is preceded in death by sister, Shirley Meadows; brothers, James Spence, Gene Spence; grandson, James Edward “Shorty” Sines III; and great-grandson, Matthew Sines. She was very loved and will be greatly missed by so many. She is survived by her children, James Sines, Jr., Jerry Sines, Ann Hamilton (Billy), Lisa Sines, Curtis Sines, Tina Conway, Shelby Gordon; brother, Mike Spence (Gwen); sisters, Stella Porter, Brenda Spence (Nancy), Joyce Pritchard; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The family would like to thank Lynchburg General Hospital for all of the care they gave her. Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society. A funeral service will be held 11:00 a.m., Saturday, July 8, at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, with Rev. David Carter, Jr. officiating. A burial will follow in Timber Ridge Baptist Church Cemetery. Family will receive friends 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., Friday, at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

James Lewis Blankenship

Blankenship JamesJames Lewis Blankenship, 60, of Bedford, died Sunday, July 2, 2017. He was born in Roanoke, VA on May 17, 1957, a son of Lois Virginia Ringley and step-father Bob Ringley, and the late Robert Lewis Blankenship. In addition to his mother and step-father, he is survived by his wife, Rhonda Smith Blankenship; son, Chris Blankenship; brother, Robert Blankenship and wife, Susan; step-sister, Carolyn Patterson; and step-brothers, Steven Ringley and Sam Ringley. Memorial donations can be made to the Jefferson Center Foundation, 541 Luck Avenue S.W. #221, Roanoke, VA 24016, in honor of his love for music. A Memorial service will be held 4:00 p.m., Saturday, July 8, at his mother’s home, 3965 Dickerson Mill Road, Bedford, VA 24523 with Rev. Al Bashor officiating. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Buddy Marshall Mitchell

Mitchell BuddyBuddy Marshall Mitchell, 76, of Bedford, died Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Per Buddy’s wishes funeral services will be private. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Virginia Frances Branch Leitch

Virginia Branch Leitch, 95, of Goode, passed away Monday, June 26, 2017. She was born in Salem, VA, on December 15, 1921, a daughter of the late Henry Branch and Livie Helm Branch. In addition to her parents she is preceded in death by her husband, James Robert Leitch; son Michael James Leitch sister, Elizabeth Branch; and brother, James Henry Branch. Virginia was the wife of a United States Army veteran who served for 30 years. She was a member of Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church, member of the Society of Military Widows, and was well known and loved throughout her community. She is survived by her daughter, Patricia L. Featherston and; granddaughter, Anna Lane Mostrom and husband Eric of Boca Raton, FL; grandson, Justin Patrick Featherston; great-grandchildren, Matthew Jon Mostrom, Madeline Rose Mostrom; sister, Christine Dobbins of Tallahassee, FL; nephews, Timothy Dobbins of Philadelphia, PA, and Daniel Dobbins of Tallahassee, FL. A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated 1:00 p.m., Friday, June 30, at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church, with Father Salvador Añonuevo celebrating. Visitation will be one hour prior to service starting at 12:00 noon.Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Scheduled Services


Bennie Herman Coleman, A memorial service will be held 2:00 pm Friday, July 21, 2017 at Bedford Christian Church, 1928 Moneta Rd. Bedford with Rev. Ken Burger and Rev. Jim Compton officiating.  The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. 



 Dawn Ayres Burch, a celebration of her life will be held at 11:00 am Wednesday at Victory Baptist Church, Buena Vista with Rev Dean Staton officiating. The family will receive friends at the church an hour prior, 10AM to the service.