The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


November 23, 2012

Obituaries — Friday, Nov. 23, 2012


Violet Katherine ‘Kitty’ Sanford

RAINELLE — Violet Katherine “Kitty” Sanford, 68, of Lilly Park, Rainelle, passed away Tuesday, November 20, 2012, in the Greenbrier Valley Medical Center at Fairlea.

Born November 22, 1943, at Hines, she was the daughter of the late Johnny and Gladys Greer Brackenrich. Kitty was a homemaker who loved her family. She treasured the time with her husband “Tink” while they were on the road in his 18-wheeler traveling through 44 states out of 50. Kitty was a faithful member of the Rainelle V.F.W. Post #4484 Auxiliary, the Rainelle Red Hats; the Sewell Rebekah Lodge #217 and she loved to play BINGO. Kitty attended the Rainelle United Methodist Church when she was able.

In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her sister Dorothy Marie Brown.

Survivors include her husband of almost 51 years Marshall “Tink” Sanford; 4 sons Marshall Sanford and wife Marlene of Leslie, Chris, Charlie and Joey Powers, all of Rainelle; 2 daughters Kathy Parker and husband Gary of Rainelle and Stacy Spade and husband Kenny of Danese; 1 brother Johnny Brackenrich, Jr., and wife Charlotte of Springdale; 6 grandchildren Sandra Hicks, Greg Sanford and Kasi, Justin Cutlip, Dakota Sanford, T.J. Parker and Krystal Parker; 3 great-grandchildren Emory and Jaysen Sanford and Andrew Albee; many friends and her buddy, Suzie Q.

Services will be 11 a.m. Saturday, November 23, at Smathers Funeral Chapel with Rev. Stanley Clark officiating. Burial will follow in the Wallace Memorial Cemetery at Clintonville.

Friends may call today from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

Online condolences may be expressed at

Arrangements by Smathers Funeral Chapel, Inc., Rainelle.

Alta McKinney Thompson

On Wednesday, Nov. 21st, 2012, our most cherished Alta McKinney Thompson died at the Villages of Greystone.

The second of seven children, Alta Frances McKinney Thompson was born on May 13th, 1920, at Beckley. Her parents were the late Charles and Pearl Whitt McKinney. The McKinney family made their home on Rural Acres Drive and worshiped at the First United Methodist Church. The McKinney family has been blessed. Alta’s death at the age of 92 is the first of the McKinney children to pass. Alta’s brothers, Otto and Claude McKinney, and sisters, Eileen Gambrell, Louise Grinstead, Dora Robbins, and Anna Pioch, all survive.

Alta was a 1937 graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School. A graduate of Concord College where she studied music, Alta will be remembered as an accomplished musician. She had been the organist at First United Methodist Church and the First Christian Church, and was a member of the Chaminade Music Club.

On Nov. 20th, 1946, Alta would marry Charles Andrew “Slim” Thompson Jr. Slim was a mainstay in Raleigh County politics in his day, while Alta was active in civic organizations and was employed by the Raleigh County Board of Education for many years. Alta and Slim were blessed with a daughter, Patti Elizabeth, who brought them great joy. They made their home on Russell Street in Beckley and summered at Flat Top Lake. Slim died suddenly on Jan. 29th, 1987. Sadly, Patti died on Nov. 26th, 2006. 

Alta was blessed with Patti’s family, her faithful son-in-law, Eddy Hatcher of Beaver; she was the doting “Gran” to her grandchildren, Amanda Elizabeth Easter and her husband Justin of Charleston and Christopher Gale Hatcher of Beaver. A large extended family of the McKinneys survive as well.

On Saturday, Nov. 24th, at 1 p.m. we will remember the life of Alta Thompson with a “Service of Remembrance” at the Melton Mortuary Chapel. The Rev. Dr. Robert Stoddard will be officiating. Alta will be laid to rest beside Slim and near Patti in the Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens Mausoleum at Prosperity. The family will receive friends from noon until the service hour. The family suggests donations of sympathy to the First United Methodist Church, 216 South Heber St., Beckley, WV 25801, or to the charity of your choice.

Condolences may be sent to the family’s guestbook at

Arrangements by Melton Mortuary, Inc., Beckley, WV.

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