The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

October 6, 2012

Obituaries — Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012

Ruby Ann Adkins

HOT SPRINGS, Va.  — Ruby Ann Adkins, 82, a native of West Virginia, passed away Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012.

A graveside funeral service was Thursday, Oct. 4, at the Warm Springs Cemetery with the Rev. Lorrie Aikens officiating. The family will receive friends at any time at the home of Matthew and Shannon Gwin at 103 Knolltree Road, Hot Springs.

Memorial contributions may be made to Eden United Methodist Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 448, Hot Springs, VA 24445.

Lillian R. Blankenship

Lillian Rockwood Blankenship died Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, at 3:19 p.m., at her home on Lilly Street in Beckley.

Lillian was a beloved wife, loving mother, dedicated teacher, a trusted friend, and most of all a special child of God.

Lillian has one surviving child, Bruce Blankenship of Beckley.

The Rite of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Sunday, Oct. 7th, at 3 p.m. in the George W. Seaver Chapel at the Seaver Funeral Home, 1507 North Walker Street, Princeton. Rev. Randy Adkins of the United Methodist Temple, Monsignor Samuel Sacus and Rev. Mr. Donald Wise of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church and Fr. Sam Haddad of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church all of Beckley will be officiating.

Lillian will be laid to rest in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery at Monte Vista Park in Bluefield.

A rosary will be recited at 5:30 p.m. led by Tony Tipane on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, at the funeral home. Lillian will lie in repose from 6 to 8 p.m. where her friends may visit her.

The honor of carrying Lillian belongs to: Lou Wills, Betty Toney, Donna Akers, Tim Brewer, Norman Fletcher, Roy Ratliffe, Tom Stickler, Leon Lane, James C. Bailey, William Michael Kovach, Ronnie McKinney, Winston Gregory, Tom Davis, John White, Doc Weiss, Pete Torrico, Marco Serge, Jack David Woodrum, Milton Webb, Albert Clark, Paul Pennington, Charles Farmer, Mike Cosco, and Doc Craddock.

Honorary pallbearers will be Cameron Herron, Charles Carl, Charles Blankenship, Johnny Syres, Ronnie Bailey, A.K. Minter, Henry Melton, Mary Webb, Danny Walker, Guy Bailey, John Ellison, Rev. Paul Zutaut, Junior Varney, Danny Jarrell, Jeff Pack, George Taylor, Lewis George, Robert Shirey, Bob Boy Shirey, Jerry DeLorenzo, John DeLorenzo, William Cooley, Tony Mamone Jr., and Charlie Mann.

Lillian’s dear friends at Seaver Funeral Home are taking care of her.

Local online condolences may be sent to

Imagine … a world without breast cancer….

Phyllis Brown

OCEANA — Phyllis Brown, 83, of Oceana, passed away Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012.

Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Monday, October 8, 2012, at the Toneda Missionary Baptist Church, Kopperston, with the Rev. Jerry Cook and Jim Hamrick officiating. Burial will follow in Palm Memorial Gardens, Matheny. Friends may gather with the family from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, at the church.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Hospice of Southern WV or Princeton Community Hospital Hospitality House.

E-mail letters of sympathy may be sent at

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

Herbert Alvin ‘Pappy’ Gray

BEAUMONT, Texas — Herbert Alvin “Pappy” Gray, 88, of Beaumont, passed away September 30, 2012, at Harbor Hospice with his family at his side.

He was born December 30, 1923, in West Virginia to Lacy Lee and Bertha Farley Gray.

He joined the U.S. Army and served during World War II. After being wounded while serving in Sicily, he was given an honorable discharge. He then spent his life working with cars, either as a dealer, mechanic, or body man in the Beaumont area for over 50 years. He also owned the Ranch Cafe for many years.

He was preceded in death by his parents, three sons, Billy, Phillip, and Steve Gray, and his sister Eva Terry.

He is survived by his wife, Mildred Diane Gilchriest Gray; daughters, Wyhnona Burnett, Ramona Stevens, Rocky King and Terry Gray; half brothers, William, Jim, Charles, John, Henry, Shirley, and Robert Gray. He is also survived by seven grandchildren, Steven Gray Jr., Tyler Burnett, Chase Burnett, Seth Stevens, Kassi Stevens, Macey King and McKenzie Staub.

A full military honors memorial service celebrating Pappy’s life will be held at a future time. A notice will be posted in the Beaumont Enterprise.

Ronnie Holland

SMOOT — Ronnie Holland, 67, of Smoot, passed away on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, at Greenbrier Valley Medical Center in Fairlea, following a short illness.

Born April 11, 1945, in Vale, W.Va., he was the son of the late George Nathan and Helen Marie Heaster Holland.

Ronnie had worked as a coal miner and a carpenter. He enjoyed hunting.

Those left to cherish his memory include his wife, Mildred Holland; a daughter, Patty Holland (Steve Smith) of Rochelle, Va.; two brothers, Jerry Holland of Dawson and Daniel (Ann) Holland of Denton, N.C.; a nephew, B.J. Holland of Lexington, N.C.; and three grandchildren, Courtney Withrow of Charlottesville, Va., Tristan Dodson of Dyke, Va., and Cassie Smith of Rochelle, Va.

A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, October 7, 2012, at the Holland Cemetery in Smoot with Pastor Lee Harris officiating. Burial to follow immediately thereafter.

Friends may call from 6 until 8 p.m. Saturday, October 6, 2012, at the Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home in Rainelle.

Online condolences may be sent to

Arrangements by Wallace & Wallace of Rainelle.

Howard M. Kessell

FAYETTEVILLE — Howard Malcolm Kessell, 80, of Fayetteville, passed away Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012.

The family will receive friends from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at Dodd-Payne-Hess Funeral Home, Fayetteville. In keeping with his request, he will be cremated following the visitation.

For those wishing to express their condolences or send flowers to Mr. Kessell’s family, you may do so by visiting our website at

Dodd-Payne-Hess Funeral Home, 350 W. Maple Ave., Fayetteville, will be assisting the family.

Drema Madera

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. — Ms. Drema Madera, 61, of Willimantic, died Monday, Oct. 1, 2012.

Arrangements entrusted to Ritchie & Johnson Funeral Parlor, Beckley.

Lillian Kessler Martin

ALDERSON — Lillian Kessler Martin, 69, passed away Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, in the Greenbrier Valley Medical Center, Fairlea, after a short illness.

Born Sept. 27, 1943, at Alderson and was the daughter of the late Mark Kessler and Bertha Mable Crone Carter.

Mrs. Martin was a lifelong resident of Greenbrier County, attended the Church of God in Blue Sulphur Springs, had been employed by the Lewis Theater and the State Fair and was a homemaker.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Fred Gene Martin Sr., in 1991, three sisters, Marie White, Virginia Thomas and Mary Alice Carter, and six brothers, Newt Carter, Lewis Carter, Jess Carter, Gerald Carter, Tom Carter and Eugene Carter.

Survivors include three daughters, Peggy Sofil and husband, Robert, of Alderson, Marie Davis and husband, Rob, of Spanishburg and Brenda Brown and husband, Jimmy, of Alderson; three sons, Mark Martin and wife, Nola, of Cool Ridge, Fred Martin Jr. of Alderson and Gary (Pontiac) Martin of Ronceverte; brother, Robert Carter and wife, Delores, of White Sulphur Springs; 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Service will be 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, at the Longanacre Funeral Home, Ft. Spring, with Rev. Frank Jones officiating. Burial to follow in the McElhenney Cemetery, Grassey Meadows.

Friends and family may call 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, at the Longanacre Funeral Home, Ft. Spring.

Arrangements by Longanacre Funeral Home, Ft. Spring.

Dennis Ray Mimms

MANHATTAN, N.Y. — Services for Dennis Ray Mimms of Manhattan, formerly of Montgomery, will be 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, at the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Carbondale, with Pastor Isaiah Kenny officiating.

Arrangements by Durgan Funeral Service, 1501 S. Kanawha St., Beckley.

Vennia May Mock

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — Vennia May Mock, 75, formerly of Beckley, passed away Oct. 2, 2012.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 8, at the Melton Mortuary Chapel. The family will receive friends from 9 a.m. until the service hour. Burial will follow at Sunset Memorial Park.

Condolences may be sent to the family’s guestbook at

Arrangements by Melton Mortuary Inc., Beckley.

Sadie Hilda Vandall Parker

MEADOW BRIDGE — Sadie Hilda (Vandall) Parker, 98, of Meadow Bridge, went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, surrounded by her loving family.

Born June 15, 1914, at Meadow Bridge, she was the daughter of the late Olin Jackson “Jack” Vandall and the late Eva Gwinn Vandall.

She was preceded in death by her husbands, Cecil Vester Parker and Orville Junior Lewis; a daughter, Loretta Jane Packard; five sons, Vester, George, Rufus, Earl Wayne, and Elwyn Parker; a sister, Margie Walker, and an infant sister, Ruby Vandall; and three brothers, Vadis, Rufus, and Dewey Vandall.

Known by many as the “Queen of Meadow Bridge,” Sadie was a member of the Meadow Bridge Pentecostal Holiness Church.

Survivors include: six daughters, Rosetta Parker Giuliani of Dickerson, MD, Eva May Parker Altman of Fredericksburg, VA, Patricia Ann Parker-Smith and husband, Jim, of Anchorage, AK, Judy Diane Martin of Crickmer, Darlene Cortinas of Chesterfield, VA, and Donna Kay Jafri and husband, Teymoure, of Prince Frederick, MD; three sons, Eugene Parker and companion, Norma, Danny Parker and wife, Grace, and Denvell “Demp” Parker and wife, Pam, all of Meadow Bridge; one sister, Lucille Vandall Sanford of Rainelle; forty (40) grandchildren; and one hundred thirty-six plus (136+) great- and great-great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be 1 p.m. Sunday, October 7, 2012, at the Wallace & Wallace Funeral Chapel, Rainelle, with Pastor Mark Spence and Pastor Steve Martin officiating. Burial will follow in the Patton Hill Cemetery, Meadow Bridge.

Visitation will be from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Wallace & Wallace Funeral Chapel, Rainelle.

Arrangements by Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home, Rainelle.

Clifford C. ‘Sonnie’ Phillips Jr.

MULLENS — Clifford C. “Sonnie” Phillips Jr., 87, died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Oct. 3, 2012, after a long illness.

Born April 6, 1925, in Pierpoint, W.Va., he was the son of the late Clifford C Phillips Sr. and Evelyn Murphree Phillips. He was preceded in death by a grandson, Jarrod Lee Smith.

Those left to cherish his memory are his wife of 61 years, Betty Jo Wickline Phillips, and daughters Sunny Suzann Bell and husband Terry and Terri Lea Smith and husband Barry, all of Mullens. His grandchildren are Jamie Lusk and wife Ashley, Cassidy Smith, Taylor Smith, all of Mullens, and Jeremy Smith and wife Kristen of Kingsport, Tenn. Sonnie’s great-grandsons are Alec Lusk and Lincoln Lusk, both of Mullens. His brother is Richard M. Phillips and wife Diane of Jacksonville, Ala., and their children Debi, Rick, Edward, Rachel, and Brenden. Sonnie’s nephew is Mike Witt and wife Kelly of Mullens and son Ian Witt of Mullens.

Sonnie graduated from Mullens High School in 1946 where he played football, basketball and baseball. His education included a B.S. Degree in Education from Concord College in 1950 where he was a member of the football and baseball teams. He earned a Master’s degree in Education Administration from West Virginia University in 1951. He later received a Driver’s Education Certification from Old Dominion University.

Sonnie served his country in the U.S. Navy during WWII from 1943-1946 and later as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force Reserves.

Mr. Phillips touched the lives of many students in Wyoming County and the state of WV serving as counselor and instructor for 30 years at the WV Mountaineer Boys State. He also served as a teacher from 1951-1972 at Glen Rogers, Pineville, and Mullens High Schools. He was principal at Mullens High School from 1972-1988. During his adult life other occupations included serving as a counselor at the WV Rehabilitation Service, manager at Sears Roebuck and Co., Itmann Coal Company tipple employee, and Second Baseman for the Chicago Cubs Class C Baseball Team.

Sonnie received numerous civic awards including the Mullens High School Athletic Hall of Fame, City of Mullens Male Citizen of the Year, Lions Club Man of the Year, Wyoming East Community Spirit Award, and Wyoming East Communities Outstanding Citizens Award.

Sonnie’s community service included Mayor of Mullens from 1972-1976 where he was instrumental in the building of the Mullens City Swimming Pool, Mullens City Hall, and Route 54 Bypass recently renamed the CC “Sonnie” Phillips Bypass. He also served as the Wyoming County Legislative Chairman for the Wyoming County Retired School Employees. Mr. Phillips was a member of the Mullens Fire Department and the organizing committees for Mullens Little League and Babe Ruth Baseball, in addition to Midget League Football. Other service included: Board of Directors for American Red Cross, Integrated Resources, Wyoming County Health Department, King Coal Highway, Wyoming County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Wyoming County Library, and Wyoming County Council on Aging. As an active member of the Board of Advisors of Southern WV Community and Technical College, Mr. Phillips continued to touch the lives of many students. His membership in civic clubs included: American Legion, Mullens Lions Club, Mullens Moose Lodge, Mullens Masonic Lodge, and VFW.

Sonnie was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Mullens, serving God as an elder at his church and volunteering his time and talents to meet the many needs of his church and community.

His love for students and commitment to athletics was again personified in his role as an athletic official. Officiating football, basketball, and baseball games at the college, high school, and community levels allowed Sonnie to enrich the lives of many. His tutelage as a head basketball coach at Glen Rogers and Mullens High Schools inspired many athletes to live honest and productive lives. He further showed his love for students by faithfully attending the WV State Boys High School Basketball Tournament for 62 years. At the age of 85, enjoying what he loved, Sonnie suffered a major stroke after the final game of the 2011 state basketball tournament. The love Sonnie gave was later returned as witnessed by the devotion, kindness, and love given by his caretakers, Kathy Webb and WV Hospice Staff. The family wishes to thank all who have cared and supported them during this time of loss.

A celebration of Sonnie’s life will be 1 p.m. Sunday, October 7, 2012, at the First Presbyterian Church of Mullens, with Rev. Tracy French officiating. Entombment will follow in Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens Mausoleum of Hope.

Friends may call Saturday 6 to 9 p.m. at The First Presbyterian Church of Mullens and one hour prior to services Sunday at the church.

Military honors will be conducted by the Oak Hill VFW Post 3110.

Masonic rites will be conducted by the Mullens Masonic Lodge #151 A.F. & A. M. who will also serve as pallbearers.

Mullens Fire Department will participate at the Entombment with a flyover by HealthNet.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family at

The family of Sonnie Phillips is being cared for by Tankersley Funeral Home, Mullens.