The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

April 24, 2013

Obituaries — Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Virginia A. Amick

Virginia A. Amick, 92, of Beckley, died Sunday, April 21, 2013. She was a devoted spouse, mother, and grandmother, who will be missed by all. Virginia spent the last year at Bedford County Nursing Home in Bedford, Va.

“Ginny” was born on October 15, 1920, to John L. and Margaret B. Osborne of Hinton, W.Va. She was one of eight children.

Virginia was married to James Amick on August 2, 1942. While James served in the Army overseas in Germany during World War II, Virginia went to Michigan and worked in a factory as a riveter on the B-24 airplane.

After the war ended, Virginia and James made their lifetime home in Beckley. She was employed at Beckley Manufacturing, G.C. Murphy, and retired from Pinecrest Hospital as a nurse’s aide. She was a member of First United Methodist Church of Beckley, and sang in the chancel church choir.  

Mrs. Amick was preceded in death by her husband James, son John Mark, and siblings Warren Osborne, Francis Wiseman, Wilma Meadows, John Osborne, Malcolm Osborne, and Betty Sims.

She is survived by her other son James Thomas and wife Ellen-Joan Amick of Holden, Mass.; daughter Nancy L. and husband Larry J. Riffee of Forest, Va.; grandchildren John and Kenneth Ratcliffe of Mass., Britney Smith and Zachary Amick of Beckley, and Ashley Robertson of Forest, Va.; great grandchildren Madeline, Samuel, and Theodore Ratcliffe of Mass., and Taylor Smith of Beckley. She is also survived by one brother William Osborne of Hinton.

The family will receive friends at Blue Ridge Funeral Home in Beckley, on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at noon, with a service to follow at 2 p.m., with Dr. Bob Stoddard officiating.  Interment will follow at Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens.

Donations can be made to First United Methodist Church, 217 S. Heber St., Beckley, WV., 25801.   

Online condolences and other information can be found by visiting

Blue Ridge Funeral Home, 5251 Robert C. Byrd Drive, Beckley, is in charge of the arrangements.


Shelva J. (Pennington) Bittinger

Shelva J. (Pennington) Bittinger, 70, of Beckley, celebrated her birthday with her family, and was called up to celebrate with the Lord that evening on April 21, 2013.

She is preceded in death by her father, John T. Duncan and her mother Mary Wallace.

She is survived by three sisters, Betty Young, Shirley Moore, and Helen Goodson. She was the mother of three children, Barry Pennington, Prosperity, W.Va., Nick Pennington, Roxboro, N.C., and Johnna Havens, Bland, Va. She was also a grandmother to four  grandsons, Nick Pennington, and Joey Pennington, Kaegan Young, and Braxdyn Havens.

Earning degrees from Concord College, and WVU, Shelva was a devoted English teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School for 34 years. She was also an adjunct teacher for area colleges.

Shelva was an active member of her community and contributed her talents to many organizations. She was a member of First United Methodist Church, GFWC (Woman’s Club) of Beckley, Beckley Art Group, United Methodist Women, Sarah’s Circle, Pathfinder’s Sunday School Class, and Raleigh County Association of Retired School Employees.

Services will be held Wednesday, April 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Blue Ridge Funeral Home. Burial will follow on Thursday, April 25th, at 11 a.m. at Blue Ridge Memorial Garden, Beckley. Officiating will be Dr. Bob Stoddard.

Pallbearers will be Barry Pennington, Nick Pennington, Brad Havens, Nick Pennington Jr., Kaegan Young, and Joey Pennington.

In lieu of flowers, donations will be greatly appreciated at: First United Methodist Church, 217 South Heber Street, Beckley, WV 25801.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Arrangements by Blue Ridge Funeral Home, 5251 Robert C. Byrd Drive, Beckley.


Ruby Mae Justice Blankenship

SAULSVILLE — Ruby Mae Justice Blankenship, of Saulsville, formerly of the Davy area,  died Monday, April 22, 2013, surrounded by her family at Bower’s Hospice House in Beckley, after an extended illness.

She was born November 22, 1929, to the late Daniel and Mary Cantrell Justice of Marytown.

She was a member of Carswell Community Church, and loved her church family dearly. She was a dedicated mother and grandmother. She loved cooking for her family, especially on holidays which she made each one special. She loved doing crafts and giving them to her family. She loved feeding and watching the birds. Her favorite bird was the cardinal.

In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her husband Ray (Junior) Blankenship; brother Leon (Sonny) Justice; brothers-in-law Bill Stevenson and Henry Collins; a special uncle and aunt Elbert and Lillian Davis; niece Phyllis Wingate; nephew Danny Stevenson; and a grandson Keith Altizer Jr.

Left to cherish her memory are her daughters Frances (Keith) Altizer of Saulsville and Kathy (Bruce) Cottle of Moneta, Va.; sisters Donna Blizzard of Princeton and Shirley Collins of Rantoul, Ill.; a half-sister Jo Anne Lee of Louisville, Ky.; a half brother Butch Justice of Virginia; grandchildren Roger (Nancy) Jennings of Sod, Christopher (Melinda) Jennings of Mullens, Ryan (Kim) Altizer of Rustburg, Va., Derek (Tasha) Altizer of Asheville, N.C., Jennifer (Patrick Sliter of York, S.C., Amy (Micheal) Friefeld of Vinton, Va.; great grandchildren Brittney (Thomas) Smith of Glenwood, R. J. (Brianna) Jennings III of Barboursville, Courteney and Evan Jennings of Mullens, Sydney, Addison and Karlee Altizer of Rustburg, Va., Isaac Altizer of Asheville, N.C.; great great grandchild Abbey Smith of Glenwood; special nieces Nancy Rotenberry, Connie Quinn and Lee Ann McMahon; nephews Ed Stevenson, David Stevenson and Jimmy Miller; and the following people who supported and helped during her illness: Dr. Barit of Mullens, Dr. Gilbhrighde and nurses at Bower’s Hospice House, Mae Mullens of Key Rock, her neighbors Butch and Elizabeth Dye, Howard and Juanita Mullens and Rick and Ginny Shirley.

Funeral service will be conducted Thursday at 1 p.m. in the Carswell Community Church, Carswell with the Rev. Douglas Williams officiating. Burial will follow in Belcher Mountain Cemetery, Belcher Mountain.

Friends may call at the church one hour prior to the service.

Pallbearers will be Roger Jennings Jr. Christopher Jennings, Ryan Altizer, Derek Altizer, R. J. Jennings III, Evan Jennings and Jimmy Miller.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Bower’s Hospice House, 454 Cranberry Drive, Beckley, WV 25801.

The Douglas Mortuary of Welch is serving the family.


Larry M. Buckland

Larry M. Buckland, born in Beckley, on June 29, 1946, and passed away Monday, April 22, 2013, in Weirsdale, Fla.

He proudly served our country in the U.S. Army.

Survived by his beloved wife of 46 years, Billie Jo Buckland of Weirsdale, Fla.; children, Kimberly Buckland of Billings, MT, and Steven Buckland of Pembroke Pines, FL; grandchildren, Ashley, Kyle, Kirsten, and Anthony; two great-grandchildren; siblings Jim Buckland, Louise Hensley, Glenn Buckland, Hilda Menasian, and Carl Buckland; and brother in arms, Richard Bowers.

He was preceded in death by his son, Larry Anthony Buckland; and parents, Howard and Barbara Buckland.

Visitation will be Saturday, April 27, 2013, from 3 to 5 p.m., with funeral service being held at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 28, 2013, both at Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services, Belleview, Fla.

Memorial contributions are recommended to be given to Hospice of Marion County, or Shands Cancer Center, Gainesville, Fla.

Sentiments may be left online at


Andrea L. Hayes

Andrea Lynette O’Neal Hayes, 39, of Mullens, passed away Sunday, April 21, 2013, in a Charleston hospital, following a sudden illness.

Born July 17, 1973, in Beckley she was the daughter of the late Darce June French O’Neal and Sammy L. O’Neal of Barkers Ridge.

Andrea was a homemaker and in her youth she attended the First Church of God in Mullens.

In addition to her mother she is also preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, Frank and Zola O’Neal; and maternal grandfather, Robert W. French.

Those left to cherish her memory include her sons, Jacob and Joseph Hayes of Mullensville; her companion, Kenneth Hayes of Mullensville; her father, Sammy L. O’Neal and stepmother, Jean O’Neal of Barkers Ridge; maternal grandmother, Eva Ruth French of Beckley; one sister, Dee Dee Jones and her husband, Tom and their sons, Tristan and Trevor of Corinne; and one step-sister, Kella Lester of Reading, Pa.

Services will be 8 p.m. today at Tankersley Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor Anthony Bailey officiating.

Friends may call from 6 p.m. until time of services today at the funeral home.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family at

The family of Andrea Hayes is being cared for by Tankersley Funeral Home, Mullens.  


Perina Marie Holstein

On Wednesday, April 17th, 2013, our most loved, Perina Marie Holstein of Dickens Court, Naomi, passed away at her home. She was 40 years of age.

Perina was born on May 1st, 1972, in Cleveland, Ohio. She is the beloved daughter of Dennis “Jake” Jene and Bonnie Webb Pettry.

Perina spent her early years at Pettry Bottom. She attended Marsh Fork High School. She loved family gatherings, shopping, crafting and was a great fan of boxing.

She was preceded in death by her paternal and maternal grandparents and an uncle, Michael Webb.

In addition to her parents, she leaves to cherish her memory, her children, Natasha Dawn Stevens of Dry Creek and Christopher Cody Stevens of Whitesville; her brothers, Bobby Webb, of Ohio, Dennis Pettry of Naoma, and Dewayne Pettry of Naoma. She was a loving aunt to her nephews. Perina was a great lover of animals, her faithful canine companions, Lucky, Miffy and Scooby have preceded her in death. Her little buddy, Furby still survives. Perina will be sadly missed by all of us.     

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

Arrangements by Melton Mortuary and Cremation Center, Beckley.


JaceYon La-Von Villines-Kirby

RONCEVERTE — JaceYon La-Von Villines-Kirby, three-month-old son of Marcus D. Kirby and ShaRita S. Villines of Ronceverte, passed away Sunday, April 21, 2013.

Services will be 11 a.m. Saturday, April 27, 2013, at the First Baptist Church, White Sulphur Springs, with the Rev. Greg Scott officiating. Burial will follow in Sunset Cemetery, Ronceverte.

Family and friends may call from 10 a.m. until time of the service Saturday at the church.

Please send online condolences by visiting

Arrangements by Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home, Ronceverte.


Rodney Sterlin Moore

MCGRAWS — Rodney Sterlin Moore, 78, of McGraws, passed away on Saturday, April 20, 2013.

In keeping with his wishes he will be cremated and there will be no services.

E-mail letters of sympathy may be sent at

The family is being served by the Stafford Family Funeral Home, Lynco.


Violet Marie Underwood Mullins

HILLDALE — Violet Marie Underwood Mullins, 76, of Hilldale, finished her journey in this life on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, at Summers Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and now resides in Heaven.

Born April 11, 1937, in Dearborn, Mich., Violet was the daughter of the late Adbo and Olla Sears Basset.

Violet was a lifelong resident of Summers County. She retired from Summers County Hospital in Hinton, and was a Christian.

Violet enjoyed vacations, flea markets, and a good corn dog every now and then. During her working years at Summers County Hospital, Violet was well known for helping new employees become more comfortable in their new environment, enabling them to do well in their new job. She delighted in her role at the nursing home as a favorite resident because they loved to hear witty stories from an eternal optimist who always kept them laughing. Strong beyond words, compassionate beyond measure, she was the light of her family and friends. Everyone she met was greeted by a warm smile, and most left with a red lipstick kiss on the cheek.

She was preceded in death by her first husband, Arnet Underwood, her second husband, Robert Mullins, and two infant sons, Marcus Steven Underwood and Arnet Keith Underwood.

Survivors include two sons, Robie Basset and wife Sandra of Flat Top and Arnyll Underwood and Patty Davis of Goldsboro, N.C., two daughters, Victoria Underwood and Jim Martin of Richmond, Va., and Valerie Amsdill and  husband Gordon of Hilldale. She is also survived by nine grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Friends may call from 6 until 8 p.m. Wednesday evening at the funeral home. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 25, 2013, at Pivont Funeral Home Chapel in Hinton with Pastor Ron Iddings officiating. Burial will follow in the Sluss/Underwood Cemetery at Mt. View. Following the graveside service, all are invited to Robie and Sandra’s for lunch at 152 Farley Branch Road, Cool Ridge, 25825.

Pallbearers will be: Robie David Basset Jr., Chad Basset, Daniel Butler, Erwin Padilla, Arnyll Underwood II, Lee and Justin Davis and Adam Ham.

Online condolences & guest register can be found at

Arrangements by Pivont Funeral Home, Hinton.


Joan Ermilie Neal

VICTOR — Joan Ermilie Neal, 82, of Victor, passed away Monday, April 22, 2013, at Ansted Center, following a long illness.

She was born December 5, 1930, in Fayette County, W.Va. Joan was a daughter of the late Walter Anthony Dempsey and Myrtle Faye Withrow Dempsey

In 1988, she was preceded in death by her husband Kenneth Howard Neal.

Joan was a precious mother, a loving grandmother and a proud great grandmother, she was a homemaker and a member of Horseshoe Baptist Church of Ramsey.

Survivors are her children; Kathy Peck and Larry of Ansted, Gay Wood and Allen of Victor, Kay Shaulis and Jerry of Beckley, Shawn Neal of Victor; grandchildren, Kelly Lopez, Derek Peck, Jennifer McClung, and Aaron Lane; 11 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be 2 p.m., Thursday, April 25, 2013, at Wallace and Wallace Funeral Home Chapel in Ansted, with Pastor Danny Legg officiating. Burial will follow in Restlawn Memory Gardens in Victor.

Friends may call at our funeral home chapel in Ansted from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, April 24, 2013.

Online condolences may be sent to

Wallace and Wallace of Ansted is in charge of the arrangements.   


Auneka ‘Nikki’ Devol Noyes

OAK HILL — Auneka “Nikki" Devol Noyes, 95, of Oak Hill, died on Monday, April 22, 2013, at Plateau Medical Center in Oak Hill.

Arrangements are incomplete.

Online condolences may be sent at


Kenneth Wayne Ratliff

Kenneth Wayne Ratliff, 58, of Beckley passed away Sunday, April 21, 2013, following a short illness.

Born September 17, 1954, in Oak Hill, W.Va., Ken was the son of Thelma (Lightfoot) Ratliff of Oak Hill and the late John Robert Ratliff.

On March 21, 1998, he married the love of his life, Marie (Smith) Dodd. She was his soul mate, his “baby-cakes”, his everything. And he was hers.

His grandchildren were his pride and joy, his favorite playmates, and the topic of his favorite stories. Allie Gwinn (his favorite 15 year old teenager), Megan Duncan (a.k.a Megaroo his favorite 10 year old), Justin Dodd (his favorite 9 year old, and only grandson), and Jaiden Dodd (a.k.a Jaiden Grace Monkey Face his favorite 5 year old) will forever miss their beloved Grandad.

Ken was blessed with two children who were his by blood, as well as two who were his by love. Erica (Ratliff) Selke of Oak Hill, W.Va. and Alisha Ratliff of Midway, W.Va. will miss their father. Hope Shaffer (and her husband Aaron, of Beckley, will always love and remember the man who made a daddy’s girl out of her after she was already grown (even though, as he reminded her, she was the reason he understood why animals ate their young), and Jason Dodd (and his wife Amy, of Maple Fork, W.Va. will always be thankful for the 15 wonderful years that he was a part of our family.

All those who knew Ken will dearly miss his easy smile, those big blue eyes that sparkled with life, and his quick and brilliant sense of humor.

Ken was the youngest and, according to him, the most handsome of his family. He always said that once his parents got it right, they finally quit; they just couldn’t do any better than him. His brothers are Terry Hughes, and his wife Julie, of Mechanicsville, Md., Darrell Ratliff, and his wife Janet of Stoutsville, Ohio, and Robert Ratliff of Oak Hill, W.Va.; his sisters are Ruth Ellen Holland, and her husband Dennis, of Elkton, Ky., Diane Wise of Circleville, Ohio, and Susan Hughes and her husband Bob, of Oak Hill, W.Va.

Ken also leaves behind a very special aunt, Mary Ratliff of Fayetteville, W.Va.,  along with a host of nieces, nephews and Marie’s family.

Ken was known to always have his “buddy finder” on and could strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere. He was a successful salesman with ICI Glidden Paints for 14 years. He was currently employed at United Central Industrial Supply Company.

Visitation will be Thursday, April 25, 2013, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Cornerstone Freewill Baptist Church in Crab Orchard. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Friday at the church with Pastor Doug Seaman and Pastor Roger Tolliver officiating. Burial will immediately follow in the Smith Family Cemetery in Hinton, W.Va.

Family will serve as pallbearers.

On line condolences may be left at

Arrangements by Calfee Funeral Home, Beckley.


Hazel Marie Hunt Steele

TURKEY CREEK — Hazel Marie Hunt Steele, 81, of Turkey Creek, passed away Monday, April 22, 2013.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, 2013, in the Chapel of Stafford Family Funeral Home, Lynco, with Pastor Firg Proffitt officiating. Burial will follow in  Palm Memorial Gardens, Matheny.

Friends may call from 12 noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday at the funeral home.

E-mail letters of sympathy may be sent at

The family is being served by the Stafford Family Funeral Home, Lynco.


Bert Wayne Tatum

PAGE — Bert Wayne Tatum, 49, of Page, died on Thursday, April 18, 2013 at his home.

Born March 26, 1964, at Summerlee, W.Va., he was the son of the late Elbert and Nancy Logan Tatum.

Bert was a 1982 graduate of Oak Hill High School.

His last job was working for heavy machinery transport before being injured on the job.

Just this past year Bert started attending church. He loved fishing. He and his wife had a special place on top of the mountain where he loved to take her. It was there they spent the afternoon on the day they wed. He loved to garden, could fix anything, and did beautiful carpentry work. He loved grilling and cooking meals for family and neighbors.

A nephew, John David Smith preceded him in death.

Survivors include his wife, Sue Brent Tatum, two step daughters, Cathy Snyder of Little Town, Pa. and Laura Evans of Oak Hill; grandson, Issac Ray Mitchell; twin granddaughters, Kaity and Lilly Snyder; a daughter by heart, Katie O’Neil Gumm of Oak Hill and children by heart, Timmy and Hannah Raynes.

Also surviving are his father-in-law, William Brent and mother-in-law, Shirley Wilkinson, both of Pennsylvania; brothers-in-law, George and Bill Brent and sister-in-law Jean Heare, all of Pennsylvania and sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Barb and Ken Gumm of Oak Hill.

Bert survived by his favorite sister, Unna Smith and brother-in-law Bill (who was a brother by heart) of Oak Hill and sister, Lora Hogan and husband, Roger of Scarbro; brother Bart “Frankie” Tatum and wife, Karen of Oak Hill and by many aunts, uncles, and numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews including great nephews, Billy “Littleman” Smith and Bentley Tatum and two great nieces, Zarah Smith, Alivia Patrick his little princess and Aiden Patrick his “mini me” both of Winston Salem, N.C.

Those old enough to know loved to play with Uncle Bucky. His greatest love in life was children. He always had ice cream or candy for them and never knew how to say no to a child. Since moving to Page there were always kids in the yard and spending the night.

He also leaves a wonderful friend Michael Davis.

Mr. Tatum was cremated. There will be no visitation or service.

Online condolences may be sent at

Arrangements by Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill.


Chris Ward

Christopher “Chris” Bailey Ward, 39,  of Beckley, died Thursday, April 18th, 2013, on Country Club Road.

Condolences may be sent to the family’s guestbook at

Arrangements by Melton Mortuary and Cremation Center, Beckley.


Jala Whitson

BAISDEN — Jala Whitson, 91, passed away Monday, April 22, 2013.

Service will be noon Thursday, April 25, 2013, at the Mounts Funeral Home Chapel, Gilbert, with the Revs. Jonas Trent and Learmon Mounts officiating. Burial will follow in the Mounts and Collins Cemetery, Baisden.

 Friends may call 11 a.m. until time of the service Thursday at the funeral home chapel.

Online at


Ruth Workman

LYNCO — Ruth Workman, 87, of Lynco, passed away on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, in St. Mary’s Medical Center, Huntington, W.Va.

E-mail letters of sympathy may be sent at

The family is being served by the Stafford Family Funeral Home, Lynco.