The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


June 3, 2014


Joyce Marie Berry

RAINELLE — Joyce Marie Berry, 64, of Rainelle, passed away Wednesday, May 28, 2014, in the Greenbrier Valley Medical Center at Fairlea.

Born January 4, 1950, at Landisburg, she was the daughter of the late Eugene and Ina Shuck Rhodes.

Joyce owned and operated Cookies Cafe at Hines for many years. She was a great cook who enjoyed playing bingo, working crossword puzzles and watching Wheel of Fortune. Joyce loved to talk to her grandson, Jakob, on the phone and writing him letters.

In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her first husband Robert Burdette; two brothers Eugene “Bub” Rhodes and Jerry Rhodes; and two sisters Erma Lang and Vera Pollard.

Survivors include her devoted husband Billy Ray Berry; her beloved daughter and son-in-law Elizabeth Bishop and Robert of Orlando, Florida; one brother Larry Rhodes and wife Lyndia of Meadow Bridge; one sister Carol Mitchem and husband Ron of Clarksville, Tennessee; one grandson who was her pride and joy, Jakob Bishop of Orlando, Fla.; and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 4, at the Trinity New Covenant Church, on Main Street in Rainelle, with Pastors Ronald McClung and Jim Atkinson, officiating. Her cremains will be interred in the Patton Memorial Cemetery at Meadow Bridge.

Online condolences at

Arrangements by Smathers Funeral Chapel, Inc., Rainelle.

Monna Lou Via Blankenship

PEARISBURG, Va. — Monna Lou Via Blankenship, 55, of Pearisburg, formerly of Oak Hill, passed away Tuesday, May 20, 2014.

Arrangements are by High Lawn Funeral Chapel, Oak Hill.

Condolences may be sent to

John Chester Davis Sr.

John Chester Davis Sr., 66, of Crab Orchard passed away on June 1, 2014 at Raleigh General Hospital.

Arrangements are incomplete at this time.

Condolences may be sent to the family’s guestbook at www.meltonmortuary. com

Arrangements by Melton Mortuary and Cremation Center, Beckley.

Kenneth Doss

WHARNCLIFFE — Kenneth Doss, 49, died Friday, May 30, 2014.

Service will be 1 p.m. Tuesday, June 3, 2014, at the Mounts Funeral Home Chapel, Gilbert, with the Rev. Denny May officiating. Burial will follow in Highland Memory Gardens, Godby Heights, Pecks Mill.

Arrangements by Mounts Funeral Home, Gilbert.

Agnes Inez Elder

OAK HILL — Agnes Inez Elder, 86, of Oak Hill, passed away, Monday, June 2, 2014.

She was born July 27, 1927 in Minden, to the late Ben and Myrtle Tincher Evans.

In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her husband, Willie Elder.

Those left to cherish her memory include daughters, Beulah Lilly and husband, Larry of Lewisburg, Brenda Copley and very special friend, Norman Simpkins of Oak Hill and son, Dennis Elder and wife, Theresa of Oak Hill; grandchildren Lisa Lilly Finley and husband, Jim, Steven Lilly, Chad Copley and wife, Heather, Jamie Copley Settle and husband, Scott, Matthew Elder, Andrew Elder; great-grandchildren Jonathan Finley, Samuel Finley, James Finley, Trudy Copley, Camerin Copley, Catherine Copley and Hayleigh Elder.

Burial will be at Gethsemane Memorial Gardens with a private family service.

Condolences may be sent to

Arrangements by High Lawn Funeral Home Chapel, Oak Hill.

Ruth Rorrer Ford

PRINCETON — Mrs. Ruth “Nana” Rorrer Ford, 85, of Princeton and formerly of Herndon, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, June 1, 2014 after a short illness.

Born in Crumpler, W.Va., on July 26, 1928, she was the daughter of the late Homer and Bertha Rorrer and part of a large family of 12 children.  

“Nana” was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, Robert Ford, and siblings Georgia Bailey, David Rorrer, Charles Rorrer, Cannie Rorrer, daughter-in-law Brenda Ford, and son-in-law Larry Byrd.

She formerly attended Herndon Freewill Baptist Church and was a member of Sweet Home Baptist Church in Princeton. She loved to spend time with her family and grandchildren.  

Left to cherish her memory are her daughter Joyce Ford Byrd of Princeton, her son Timothy Ford and special friend Hazel Jewell of Herndon, three grandchildren, Angela Lambert and husband Russ of Princeton, John Ford and wife Kim of Georgetown Ky., and LeAnne Ford Smith and husband Calvin of Princeton; seven great-grandchildren Allyson, Rebekah and Ryne Lambert, Hannah and Lacee Smith, Gracee Ford and Ashlee Edmonson and seven sisters; Pauline Arthur of Hillsville, Va., Frances Clark of Bristol, Va., Vera Bailey of Princeton, Nellie Farley of Princeton, Barbara Hylton of Princeton, Pat Hodges of Bluewell, and Rita Collier of Temperence, Mich.

Funeral services will be conducted at 1 p.m. today, Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at  the Rowland H. Bailey Funeral Chapel of the Bailey-Kirk Funeral Home in Princeton with Reverend W.O. Tolliver, Thurman Belcher and Russ Lambert officiating. Interment will follow at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Bluewell.

Family and friends will serve as pallbearers.

Friends may visit today (Tuesday, June 3) from 12 noon until the service hour at Bailey-Kirk Funeral Home in Princeton.

To view a video tribute to Mrs. Ford or send the family online condolences please visit

William Russell ‘Rusty’ Franklin

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — Our dear husband, father, grandfather and brother, William Russell “Rusty” Franklin, 58, of Sevierville, and Oak Hill, died on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla.

Born February 10, 1956 at Oak Hill, he was the son of the late James Russell “Huck” and Willa Mae Wilson Franklin.

Rusty worked for the UMWA International Office for over 20 years after which he started his own labor management consulting firm - Rusty Franklin Consulting.

He was a graduate of Collins High School in Oak Hill and Antioch University. Rusty was a longtime member of the Jones Avenue Church of God in Oak Hill and attended the Gum Stand Baptist Church in Sevierville.

Rusty leaves behind a most loving and devoted family which include his wife, Eva Lois King Franklin; daughter, Megan Jones and husband, B.J. of Ocala, Fla.; sons, Michael Franklin and wife, Sarah of Roanoke, Va. and Matthew Franklin and wife, Erika of Ocala, Fla.; and sister, Patricia A. Franklin of Oak Hill.

He was the proud grandfather of five, Hannah Franklin, Hunter Franklin, Emily Jones, Madison Franklin and Harper Franklin and is also survived by many nieces, nephews, other family members and a legion of friends.

Funeral services will be on Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 1 p.m. at Jones Avenue Church of God in Oak Hill with Rev. Ralph Shupe officiating. Burial will be at High Lawn Memorial Park, Oak Hill.

Visitation will be held at Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 from 5 to 8 p.m. and at the church on Thursday, June 5, 2014 from 12 noon until service time.

Michael Franklin, Matthew Franklin, B.J. Jones, Josh King, Calvin Kidd and John Blake will serve as pallbearers with Hunter Franklin as Honorary Pallbearer.

Online condolences may be sent at

Arrangements by Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill.

 Lorraine Johnston

FLAT TOP — Lorraine Johnston, 82, of Flat Top, passed away Monday, June 02, 2014.

Arrangements are pending completion with Blue Ridge Funeral Home, Beckley.

Patricia Earlene Mays

Patricia Earlene Mays, age 79 of Raleigh, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, June 1, 2014 at her home following a long illness.

Born  March 12, 1935 at Layland, she was the daughter of the late Beury Albert and Trecie Margarette Fitzpatrick Ayers.

Mrs. Mays was a homemaker, and a former employee of the Raleigh County Board of Education where she held the position of a cook.

She was a member of the West Raleigh Baptist Church and had made her home at Raleigh for the majority of her life.

She was preceded in death by her husband, George A. Mays Jr., a son, Alan Dale Mays and by four sisters, Louise Gentry, Louella Bika,  Isabelle Berry,  Lorene Taylor, and a brother, Clarence Ayers.

Survivors include two daughters,  Carolyn Lilly and her husband Frank of Raleigh, Bonnie McKinney and her husband Dean of Raleigh,  three grandchildren, Michelle Addair and her husband Mike of Dandridge, Tennessee, Justin Lee Thompson of Cross Lanes, and Hannah McKinney of Raleigh;   a brother Berry Ayers of Danese;   great-granddaughter, Addison Addair of Dandridge, Tennessee.

Funeral services will be conducted at the Rose and Quesenberry Peace Chapel in Beckley on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 2 p.m. with Pastors Cleve Allen and Ernie Junior Moye officiating. Burial will follow at Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens at Prosperity.  Friends may visit with the family two hours prior to the services on Wednesday at the funeral home.  Loved ones will serve as pallbearers.

Private online condolences, floral tributes, and other expressions of sympathy may be directed to the family via our guestbook at

Arrangements are by Rose and Quesenberry Funeral Home, 1901 South Kanawha Street, Beckley.

Dorothy Lynn Simkins

MARLINTON — Dorothy Lynn Simkins, 71, of Marlinton, passed away Friday, May 30, 2014.

In keeping with her wishes she was cremated and a celebration of life was held June 1st at Stillwell Park.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Marlinton Fire Department 709 Second Ave, Marlinton, WV 24954 or the Pocahontas County Opera House 818 3rd Ave, Marlinton, WV 24954.  

Online condolences may be made at

Lantz Funeral Home in Buckeye is in charge of Arrangements.

Cecil Edward Thompson

BALLARD — Cecil Edward Thompson, 85 of Ballard, passed away Sunday, June 1, 2014 at the Heritage Hall Nursing Center in Rich Creek, Va., following a long illness.

Born in Buck, W.Va., on January 4, 1929, he was the son of the late James C. and Minnie Campbell Thompson.

Cecil was a retired press operator for the TRW Corp. of Detroit, Mich.

In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by six brothers, Lee, Frank, Russell, Ray, Otis, and John Thompson, as well as two sisters, Ruth Lemon and Catherine Frith.

He is survived by son Cecil E. “Gerry” Thompson of Chicago, Ill., daughter Jeanette of Indiana, Sister Pearl Mann of Red Sulphur Springs, and nephew James McKinney of Ballard.

Graveside services will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 5, 2014 at Huffman Cemetery in Buck. Pastor George Cook will officiate.

Friends may call from 11 a.m. to 12 noon at Pivont Funeral Home in Hinton.

Online condolences & guest register at www.

Arrangements by Pivont Funeral Home, Hinton.

George Theodore ‘Teddy’ Starr III

WILMINGTON, N.C. — George Theodore “Teddy” Starr III, 47, of Wilmington, passed away at home on May 12th, 2014.

He was born in Beckley, W.Va., on Nov. 16th, 1966.

He was preceded in death by grandfathers, George T. Starr and Otho Lamb, father, George T. Starr II and brother Lee J. Cole.

He is survived by daughter, Angelica Starr-Sanders and grandson, Malachi D. Sanders of West Palm Beach, Fla. and son Sebastian Starr of Holly Hill, Fla.; maternal grandmother, Sally M. Lamb of Crab Orchard; paternal grandmother, Oneida Starr of Beckley; parents, Richard G. Pittman and Vickie J. Pittman of Crab Orchard; brothers, Shannon E. Starr of Concord, N.C., Kenneth R. Pittman of Fayetteville, W.Va., James M. Cole of Vero Beach, Fla.; sisters, Sally D. Cook of Sophia, W.Va. and Stacie D. Burgess of Shady Spring, W.Va., as well as many aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

Services will be 2 p.m. Thursday, June 5th, 2014, at Sunset Memorial Gardens Chapel, Harper Road, Beckley.

Arrangements by Wilmington Funeral Home, Wilmington, N.C.

Vernie A. ‘Buddy’ Whitt

Vernie A. “Buddy” Whitt, age 75, of Beckley, formerly of Charleston, passed away on Saturday, May 31, 2014, at Bowers Hospice House in Beckley.

Born June 17, 1938, in Beckley, WV, he was the son of the late Vernie A. and Helen Brinegar Whitt.

Vernie was a 1957 graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School and held a B.A. degree in Sociology from Morris Harvey College.

He was a retired Human Resource Manager for Thomas & Betts (formerly Westinghouse). He was a member of St. Mary’s United Methodist Church. In his spare time he enjoyed woodworking, antiques, working out, racquetball and watching football. He served in the Army National Guard and had been a resident of Beckley for the past 18 years.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his son, Vernon Lee Whitt, and by his first wife, Jean Gilbert, mother of his children.

Surviving are his wife of 25 years, Marlienne Whitt, of Beckley, his daughter, Debra Bird and husband Richard of Huntington, WV, his grandson, Ricky Bird of Huntington, WV, his granddaughter, Jennifer Cremeans of Huntington, WV; four great-grandchildren, Cameron Bird, Braylon Bird, Kiley Bird and Veronica Cremeans. Also surviving is his sister, Rebecca Moran of Beckley.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 4, 2014, at the Calfee Funeral Home, Beckley, with Pastor Charles Gilbert officiating. Burial will follow in Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens at Prosperity.

Friends may call at the funeral home from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 4, 2014.

Family members will serve as pallbearers.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Bowers Hospice House, 454 Cranberry Drive, Beckley, WV 25801.

Online condolences may be sent to

Arrangements by Calfee Funeral Home, Beckley.


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