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Recent Deaths

Michael C. Wine




Michael Carter Wine


Michael Carter Wine, 64, of Richmond, Va., passed away peacefully at VCU Medical Center on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, after his lengthy and valiant battle with heart disease. Michael was born on July 2, 1953, and was the son of Ray M. and Ann H. Wine of Bridgewater.


As a child, Michael attended Fort Lauderdale Oral School. He graduated from Harrisonburg High School in 1972 and obtained an associate degree in civil engineering from The National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Michael retired in 2015 after 34 years of service with Dominion Power. Michael had a strong work ethic and was always willing to help those in need. He was a tireless supporter of “Associations for the Deaf” at both the local and state levels, and a strong advocate for “Canine Companions for Independence.” Michael was thoughtful, caring and a natural leader. He enjoyed the outdoors, his family, friends and a good joke. He loved watching sports and was an avid Redskins fan. The mountains, camping and fishing brought Michael great joy. His favorite time of day, as he often shared, was the early morning when he could “watch the world awake.” Mike faced all of life’s challenges with a positive attitude!


Michael was preceded in death by his sister, Sandy Riner, and his brother, Kevin Wine.


Michael is survived by loving companion and fiancée, Dorothea Handy of Richmond, Va.; his children, Jessica Burrows and husband, Cory, of Cicero, N.Y., and Scott Wine of Syracuse, N.Y.; parents, Ray and Ann Wine of Bridgewater, Va.; sister, Kim Poore and husband, Bill, of Winston-Salem, N.C.; brother-in-law, Bill Riner (Sandy) of Harrisonburg, Va.; sister-in-law, Layne Wine (Kevin) of Huntersville, N.C.; granddaughter, Waverly Burrows of Cicero, N.Y.; Dorothea’s children, Arthur Handy and wife, Patricia, of Cranston, R.I., and Ben Handy and wife, Lisa, of Philadelphia, Pa.; Dorothea’s grandchildren, Alex of Cranston, R.I., and Lina of Philadelphia, Pa.; former wife, Donna Wine of Syracuse, N.Y. Michael is also survived by many nieces and nephews.


The family would like to extend their gratitude to The VCU Pauley Heart Center in Richmond, Va., and to all the doctors, nurses and Interpreters for the Deaf who were instrumental in providing Michael with such excellent care. Michael was so very grateful for their ongoing expertise, kindness and support.


A memorial service will be held at Bliley’s-Staples Mill, 8510 Staples Mill Road, Richmond, VA 23228, on Friday, Nov. 10, with Pastor Edward Fletcher officiating. The family will receive friends from 5 to 6 p.m. The service and reception will follow.


In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: Canine Companions for Independence, P.O. Box 446, Santa Rosa, CA 95402. Memo: In Memory of Michael Wine. Online at, or by phone (866) 224-3647.


Published in the Harrisonburg VA Daily News-Record, November 1, 2017

231 S. Liberty St.

Harrisonburg, VA 22803



  Louisa Hudgins Cherry

Norfolk - Louise Hudgins Cherry went to be with the Lord on May 4, 2017.  Louise was born on the 19th of August, 1926 in Matthews, County, Virginia at the home of her parents and grandparents, the ancestral family farm.  She was the daughter of the late Captain M. Lee Hudgins and Edith Ripley Hudgins.  Louise was a graduate of Clark School, a division of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.  Louise made many life-long friends at Clark and last attended the 60th Class Reunion in 2006.  After graduation she worked for the family maritime shipping business.

Lousie met her husband Vernon Cherry, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.  He was the love of her life and were married 49 years until his passing in 1996.  After marriage, Louise became devoted to her family and friends.  With her husband, she became active in the Virginia Association of the Deaf (VAD) and the National and Fraternal Societies for the Deaf to advocate for the hearing impaired.  Louise was the Treasurer of the Norfolk Division and the Hampton Roads Chapter and chaired many fundraising activities for the VAD.  Louise has been honored with numerous awards for her lifetime of contributions, guidance and leadership.  These included the Leadership Award and the Mother of the Year.

Louise was a founding member of the Temple Baptist Deaf Chapel and served as the Sunday School Director for many years.  She and Vernon brought the Word of God to many souls.

Most of all Louise was a devoted Mother.  She enjoyed discussing current affairs, politics, sports and the BIBLE.  The family traveled several times a year on family vacations.  Louise and Vernon traveled extensively throughout Europe, the UK, Israel, Jordon, Costa Rica, Mexico, Bermuda, Ireland, Newfoundland and throughout the US, including two visits to the Hawaiian Islands.  Most of all, Louise enjoyed going home to her birthplace in Matthews County to visit her extensive family.

 As a long-time resident of Lakewood, Louise was active in the Garden Club and Civic League.  Her hobbies included photography, coin and stamp collecting, bowling awards, decorating, especially for the holidays, floral design and cooking for her family and friends.

Louise is survived by her two children, her sons, Thomas V. Cherry III (Linda Wright Cherry) and her daughter, Mary Louise Cherry, both of Norfolk, her grandson, Wright Fitzhugh Ripley Cherry of Blacksburg, VA, and her brother Aubrey Lee Hudgins (Roslyn B. Hudgins) of Norfolk.

The family will receive friends at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Tidewater Drive Chapel on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, from 6-8 p.m.  The funeral service will be conducted by Pastor Mack Scott at 12 p.m.  Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at Temple Baptist Church, Norfolk, Virginia.  Interment will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 11, 2017 in the family plot in Friendship Cemetery at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Mathews County, VA.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Mrs. Cherry's memory may be made to her favorite charities, Temple Baptist Church or Bass Foundation for Deaf Scholarships.  Condolences may be offered to the family at

Published in The Virginian Pilot on May 7, 2017


  Linda Collins Blehm


Linda (Collins) Blehm, 64, wife of Steven Allen Blehm of 1878 Springhill Road, died Thursday, March 9, 2017, at her residence.

She was born June 13, 1952, in Richmond, VA a daughter of the late James Bernard and Annie Linda (Allen) Collins.

Mrs. Blehm was employed by the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind with 41 years of service this May with plans to retire.

She was a member of the Shenandoah Valley Club for the Deaf and the Skyline Chapter for the Virginia Association for the Deaf.

In addition to her husband, family members include three daughters and two sons-in-law, Vera and Daniel Nixon of Goochland, Margaret Blehm and Rory Roten of New Zealand, and Sarah Blehm of Sandston; two brothers, James Bernard Collins Jr. and William Allen Collins, both of Bowling Green; a sister, Margaret Ellen Collins of Sandston; and three grandchildren, Karolina, Dorothy, and Linden.

The family will receive friends from 6 until 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in the Henry Funeral Home.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March 17, 2017, at Storke Funeral Home in Bowling Green by the Rev. Kevin James.  Burial will follow in Carmel Baptist Church Cemetery.  The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.

Active pallbearers will be her nephews, Jeb Collins, John Collins, Tom Collins, Steve Collins, Ben Blehm, and sons-in-law, Daniel Nixon and Rory Roten.

Condolences may be sent to the family at

Published in The News Leader from Mar. 12 to Mar. 15, 2017



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Henry Funeral Home

P. O. Box 1076

1030 West Beverley Street

Staunton, VA 24401-3110



Friday, March 17, 2017

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Storke Funeral Home

111 S Main Street

Bowling Green, VA 22427



Friday, March 17, 2017

11:00 AM

Storke Funeral Home

111 S Main Street

Bowling Green, VA 22427



Friday, March 17, 2017

Carmel Baptist Church Cemetery

24320 Jefferson Davis Hwy

Ruther Glen, VA 22546






Nell Garrette with husband Marshall

Nell Hope Walker Garrette

Nell Hope Walker Garrette (Age 92) of Fredericksburg, VA, died peacefully on Monday, August 22, 2016 after a short illness.  Born in Winston-Salem, NC on March 2, 1924, she is the daughter of the late Howard Clifford Walker and Claudia Hunter Walker.  She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 61 years, Marshall Jefferson Garrette.  She is survived by four children and their spouses, Lynn G. Bullock and husband, Bishop of Camden, SC, Mark J. Garrette and wife, Anne of Barrington, IL, Robin G. Gelly and husband, Brian of Fredericksburg, VA and Daryn G. Gibbons and husband, Robert of Moseley, VA.  In addition to her children, she is survived by ten grandchildren and six great grandchildren.  She is also survived by one sister, Maxine Montgomery of Mathews, NC; and many nieces and nephews.  A private service will be held Saturday, August 27.  She will be interred next to her husband at Laurel Hill Memorial Park in Spotsylvania, VA.  In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Nell Hope Walker Garrette may be made to the North Carolina School for the Deaf at Morganton Foundation, Inc. , P.O. Box 1397, Morganton, NC 28680.  Online condolences may be sent to the family at:

 To view the Guest Book:

 The Guest Book will remain online until September 25, 2016.

 Published in The Washington Post on August 26, 2016


Deanna Duncan Taylor

Deanna Duncan Taylor, 70, of Frederick, Maryland, passed away on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.  She was born on October 9, 1945 in Raleigh, NC.  She attended the North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton, NC and the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Staunton, VA.  She was the wife of the late Billy Taylor, Sr.  She was the daughter of the late Virginia Poole Duncan and James Duncan.  She is survived by six children, Karen Taylor;  Billy Taylor, Jr. and wife, Tanya, of Prince George; Lily Mountjoy and husband, Charles, of Hopewell: Hedy Taylor-Wisler and wife, Michelle, of Florida; Ricky Taylor of Frederick; and Gary Taylor of Richmond, and her brothers, William Duncan and wife, Helen, of Richmond; and Sandy Duncan and wife, Virginia (Ginny) of Etters, PA.  She has five beautiful grandchildren.  Deanna was a member of Silent Orioles Club of the Deaf, Inc; Interstate Association of the Deaf, Richmond Club of the Deaf, Frederick Deaf Seniors, and Frederick County Association of the Deaf for a very long time.  She was Vice President of the Greater Richmond Chapter of the Virginia Association of the Deaf as well as editor of the RCD Newsletter.  She retired after working as a procurement clerk at the Defense Supply Center for fourteen years.  Deanna enjoyed traveling, watching movies, loved socialize with deaf people at the deaf clubs, and spending time with her family and grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, you may make a contribution in Deanna's memory to VSDAA, P.O. Box 2069, Staunton, VA 24401 or Alder Springs, P.O. Box 1397, Morganton, NC 28680.



Anna Belle McClung Yates

Anna Belle McClung Yates, 90, of Staunton passed away Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, at King’s Daughters’ Community Health & Rehabilitation Center. She was born Aug. 19, 1925, in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, a daughter of the late Jacob Ralph McClung and Ida Pearl.

Anna Belle was a graduate of West Virginia School for the Deaf and Gallaudet University. She was a member of the sorority, Phi Kappa Zeta. Anna Belle worked for more than 30 years as the librarian at Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind. She greatly enjoyed reading, traveling and dancing. Anna Belle had a great passion for her home state, “montani semper liberi,” and she loved animals. She also took great pride in being a mother, taking care of and loving her family.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Fred P. Yates Jr. Survivors include her son, Ralph A. Yates and wife, Pam, of Warner Robins, Georgia; two daughters, Jo Belle Anthony and husband, David H., and April Y. Keegan and husband, Ty, all of Staunton; eight grandchildren, Fred P. Yates III, Michanne Yates, Mathew Altmeyer and Erin Newton, all of Georgia, Jessica Baake and husband, Paul, of Chester, Joshua Anthony and wife, Molly, of Charlottesville, Lyndsey Keegan of Staunton and Kelsey Sprouse and husband, Josh, of Fulks Run; three great-grandchildren; and a sister, Lula Dickey of Independence, Missouri.

A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, at the Staunton Chapel of Reynolds Hamrick Funeral Homes, with Pastor John Eicher officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Anna Belle’s memory to the Virginia School of the Deaf Alumni Association, Staunton, and/or your local SPCA.

Relatives and friends may share condolences and memories with the family by visiting





Hazel Taylor

Hazel White Taylor, 90

Born on February 24, 1924 in the coal mining community of Fleming, Kentucky, Hazel was the sixth of Robert and Rosie White's ten children.  Robert was a coalminer.  Rosie, who married 18-year-old Robert when she was 15, was a housewife and mother.

Hazel was born into a family that existed on both deep poverty and deep love: Love for God and love for each other.  She came into a family where she was immediately loved.  Her oldest sister, Leona, not only named Hazel, she played a primary role in raising Hazel.  But life in the White family was a family affair as the twelve of them lived in their two-room home.  The kids helped each other, played with each other, and loved each other, just as Robert and Rosie loved each of them.

At the age of 12, Hazel's body became infected with the deadly disease Spinal Meningitis.  Due to the highly contagious nature of the disease, Hazel had to be set apart from the rest of the family.  As her body lapsed into a coma, she was placed in one room of the house where her father, Robert, stayed with her until the illness left her.  Hazel survived the ordeal, but the illness took a toll on her body.  She was left sightless in one eye, deaf in one ear, and with partial hearing in her other ear.  Still the family rejoiced.  Hazel was alive!

Due to her disabilities, Hazel had to leave public school and began schooling at the Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville, Kentucky.  She would finish her high school degree graduating with honors.  A few years later, Hazel left Kentucky and moved to join her brother, Dewey, who had relocated to Portsmouth, Virginia.

It was while Hazel was living and working there that she met Harold Taylor (who as an infant had himself survived Spinal Meningitis).  Harold was a linotype printer.  Hazel was a secretary for the Navy.  They fell deeply in love and were married on September 15, 1946.  They were married for over 50 years.

While living in Norfolk, all three of Hazel's children were born: Jo Ann, Judy and Larry.  (Each believed they were Hazel's favorite).  The family of five moved to northern Virginia in 1961.  Harold and Hazel bought a home in Vienna.  Hazel lived there until her death.

Once the children were older, Hazel returned to work.  Since she never learned to drive a car, Hazel would catch a bus in Vienna and commute every day to and from the Navy Yard in the heart of D.C..  She retired in the 1980's.  Harold preceded Hazel in death in 1996 as he lost his battle with cancer.

Hazel had two great loves in her life: her God and her family.  Hazel shared her love for God with churches of Christ in Falls Church, Springfield and Fairfax, Virginia.  Hazel helped both the Springfield and Fairfax church begin their deaf ministries.  Both continue to grow and thrive today.

Hazel's three children and their spouses remained close throughout her life.  She loved them with all of her being.  She also loved their children:

Hazel left this life for a better one on March 27, 2014.  Her love continues to live on in all who knew her.



Glenda Ennis

Glenda Ennis, 68

Glenda Ennis, age 68, formerly of Ocean View, DE, passed away on Monday, April 1, 2013, at the home of her daughter in Mechanicsburg, PA.  Born June 2, 1944, in Burton, Ohio, she was a daughter of the late Glenn L. and Maida (Byler) Snyder.

Glenda worked at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. for over 25 years as an administrator, counselor, and educator.

She was preceded in death by her husband, William Thomas Ennis, Jr., and by her sisters, Laverda Snyder Birchfield and Sharon Snyder Pakula.  Surviving is her daughter, Bonni Brennan and husband Tim of Mechanicsburg, PA; her son, William T. Ennis, III and wife Natalie of Catonsville, MD; her grandchildren, William Riley Brennan, Reid Brennan, William “Liam” Thomas Ennis, IV, and Lily Maida Ennis; her brother, Dannyboy Glenn Snyder  and wife Denise of Norfolk, VA; as well as thirteen nieces and nephews.

Memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m. at Riverdale Baptist Church, 1177 Largo Road, Upper Marlboro, MD.  Internment will take place in the church’s Memorial Gardens.  There will be a visitation from 6:00 – 9:00 on Thursday, April 4, at Robert E. Evans Funeral Home in Bowie, Maryland.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Laurent Clerc Cultural Fund at Gallaudet University.


Glenda Rae Ennis

June 2, 1944 – April 1, 2013

After a two year battle with cancer, Glenda Ray (Snyder) Ennis went home to be with the Lord on April 1, 2013.

Glenda was born on June 2, 1944, in Burton, OH.  After her family moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia, she eventually attended and graduated from the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind in Staunton, VA.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in Library Science and a Master’s degree in Counseling from Gallaudet University.  She was a member of the Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority.

Glenda is survived by her son, William Thomas Ennis, III, and wife Natalie of Cantonsville, MD; her daughter Bonni Jo Brennan and husband Tim of Mechanicsburg, PA; her brother, Glenn “Dannyboy” Snyder and wife Denise of Norfolk, VA; and her four grandchildren, William Riley Brennan, Reid Eleanor Brennan, William “Liam” Thomas Ennis, IV, and Lily Maida Ennis.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 40 years, William Thomas Ennis, Jr; her father, Glenn Snyder; her mother, Maida (Byler) Snyder; and her sisters, Laverda Birchfield and Sharon Pakula.

Glenda spent over 25 years working on the campus of Gallaudet University in Washington, DC.  Most of those years she was employed at Model Secondary School for the Deaf.  She also spent considerable time working in the Pre-College Programs as an outreach specialist, traveling around the country conduction workshops and training in residential life programs.  She spent her last several years working at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School as an ASL resource specialist.

Glenda had the unique gift of taking things that people threw away and turning them into beautiful pieces of furniture, decorations and crafts.  She was a creative and talented woman.  But anybody who knows Glenda can tell you her first love was gospel music.  She loved to watch Bill Gaither DVDs and sing/sign along to the music.  She was a passionate about evangelism and had a deep concern for her family and friends’ salvation.

Editor's Note: This obituary was obtained from her memorial service.  Glenda and her husband Bill were involved in the 2000 NAD Conference in Norfolk, VA.  Bill passed away in 2009, and his obituary is listed under 2009.  Both Bill and Glenda are interred at the Riverdale Baptist Church Memorial Garden.


Richard Allen Justice

Richard Allen Justice, 74, of Henrico, VA, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, May 8, 2013.  He is at peace rejoicing with the Lord.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Marklyn Crawford Justice and Beulah Loree Rodgers Justice; and three brothers, Jerry, Mark and Julian.

He is survived by his wife, Helen Brewer Justice; daughters, Terri Justice Mulvin (Tom) and Sara Justice Durrett (Jeff); grandchildren, Rachel and Andrew Mulvin and Kayley and Zachary Durrett; and a host of nephews and niece and their children.

Allen graduated from Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind located in Staunton, VA.  He was very active with organizations for the deaf including the Virginia Baptist Conference of the Deaf.  He was active at the Oakwood Baptist Church before helping to establish Deaf Mission at First Baptist Church located in Richmond, VA, and then serving as pastor for the deaf at Deaf Baptist Chapel located in Norfolk, VA.

A memorial service will be held at the chapel of the First Baptist Church, 2709 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA, on Saturday, May 18, 2013, at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Deaf Museum at the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind, P.O. Box 2069, Staunton, VA 24402.

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on May 12, 2013

Editor's Note: Allen Justice was the recipient of VAD's Distinguished Service Award in 2009 and NAD's Golden Hands Award in 2005.


  Betty Jo Robinette Lester

Betty Jo Robinette Lester, 79, of Roanoke, received her angel wings and went to be with the Lord on Saturday, January 5, 2013.  She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Larry Dennis Lester and her parents, Robert Franklin Gallimore and Annie Belle Reedy Gallimore.

Betty is survived by her three daughters, Linda King and husband, Robert King Sr. and their son, Larry Saunders; Brenda Smith and her children, Devon, Tristan and Courtnae; and Sandra Parker and her son, Shannon.  Special thanks to Betty's nephew, Ronnie Shawver and niece, Sandra Compton and her husband, Major, all of Charleston, S.C.; niece, Karen Baccei and husband, Pat, of San Diego, Calif.; numerous cousins; longtime best friends, Phyllis and Clifton Lockridge, Joyce Inge, and many others.

Betty graduated from Staunton School for the Deaf and Blind. She was a majorette there and was Deaf Mother of the Year in 1999.  She was a member of VAD Club for many years.  Mom gave all of us the gift of learning sign language.  Special thanks to Berkshire Rehab & Nursing Home.  The nursing staff made mom's time there like living at home.  She loved each and every one of them on Unit 1.  Words cannot express how much we appreciate each and every one of you.  Also thank you to Good Samaritan Hospice nurse, Stacy, who was so special & to Dr. William Fintel, Blue Ridge Cancer Care 6 west floor Lewis Gale Hospital.

Mom, we will miss your loving smile and laughter.  But you will be able to hear our voices for the first time.  We love you, forever, Linda, Brenda & Sandra.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Valley Funeral Home.  A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, January 9, 2013, at 10 a.m. in the chapel of Valley Funeral Home, with Pastor Bobby Canipe.  Interment will take place at 2 p.m. at Roselawn Memorial Gardens, Princeton, W.Va.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Good Samaritan Hospice or to the American Cancer Society.

Published in the  Roanoke Times on January 7, 2013.




Jill Goodlatte Lensbower, 67

Jill Goodlatte Lensbower (born Jill Swing Goodlatte) died unexpectedly at the age of 67 on Sunday, May 13, 2012, at her home in Alexandria, VA.  She had been unwell for some time.

She was born on February 23, 1945 in New Brunswick, NJ, the second child of Raymond and Karen Swing Goodlatte.  Jill developed pneumococcal meningitis at age 3 months and was treated at Camp Kilmer army hospital (her father was in the Army and stationed there).  Thanks to penicillin, an experimental drug, which was tried as a last ditch effort to save her life- she survived with only deafness, mild balance problems, and a seizure disorder.  Her education began at the early age of 2 with lessons in lip reading, speech, memory games, and puzzles.  According to her mother she was a very quick learner except for speech and lip reading, to which she would close her eyes and shake her head! By the time she was 4 she could read over 200 words.  She attended Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Roxbury, MA from age 4 -6.  Jill then moved with her family to Putney, VT.  Jill was a strong-willed, independent child who explored the back roads of southern Vermont on bicycle by herself.  She was happy getting lost and finding her way again- at times terrifying her parents.  She attended the Austine School for the Deaf in Brattleboro, VT for 12 years, graduating in 1963.  During her last two years of high school she benefited from an enlightened new headmaster, JJ Farman.  Mr. Farman overhauled the curriculum, prepared students for college, permitted the use of sign language amongst students, and put to rest the oral only method of teaching that she and her classmates had suffered through until his arrival.  Jill was the first deaf girl in Vermont to go on to college.  She entered Gallaudet in DC in 1963 and graduated with a B.A. in Mathematics in 1972.

On December 22, 1977, she married Gary Gilbert Lensbower at Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church, VA.  They had one child, Gilbert, born July 7, 1979.  One of the greatest hardships of Jills life was the loss of her husband Gary after just 10 years of marriage.  He had Juvenile-onset diabetes and died after a very difficult and prolonged illness.  He was in the hospital more time than not for the last two years of his life.  The stress of his declining health and death caused Jill's health to suffer as well.  Those 10 years of marriage and family life were packed with adventure: Gary and Jill traveled widely, with son in tow, throughout the United States, Canada, as well as Europe.  Jill assisted her husband Gary, "The American Deaf Magician" in his shows locally as well as in Canada and at the IX Winter World Games for the Deaf held in the French Alps in January 1979.  Jill raised a wonderful and devoted son, Gilbert, who today works as a sign language interpreter.

Jill worked at a number of jobs; her most favorite was 3 years as a genealogist for the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) that she quit when she became a mother.  Among Jill's many interests, her most paramount and passionate was genealogy; an interest that began at age 8, and to which she was committed throughout her life.  She assisted many relatives and friends in their genealogical work and put approximately 180,000 individuals in her Family Tree.  Jill had an encyclopedic mind in which she held numerous stories and many details of her family history.  Another great love of Jill's was her cats; Jill had cats her entire life.  Jill also loved travel and traveled throughout the United States and Europe with her mother, sister, and then husband and son.  She also enjoyed backpacking, hiking and biking, and completed the 50-mile hike twice (the second time when pregnant)! Jill also made several quilts; and loved games such as scrabble, lexulous and boggle, jigsaw puzzles, and stamp collecting.  In later years, through the Internet, Jill developed a number of friends, discovered hundreds of relatives, and explored genealogy.

In her senior year, Jill was the first President of the Students Council at Austine School as well as president of the Stamp and Coin Collection Club.  She was a member of the National Association of the Deaf, and Northern Virginia Association of the Deaf (NVAD) (where she served as treasurer for 18 terms), National Society Fraternal of the Deaf, and National Society of DAR.

Jill is survived by son, Gilbert Lensbower of Germantown, MD, her two sisters, Kip Curtis of Alexandria, VA, and Joyce Swing Goodlatte of Oakland, CA, brother-in-law, Nick Curtis, three nephews and 6 nieces, and a lot of cousins.  She was predeceased by her husband, Gary in November 1987, brother Dirk in 1949, parents, Raymond in November 2009, and Karen Swing Goodlatte in May 2011, and her last two cats; Daisy and Brittany.

Jill was a passionate and vital person with a quick mind, a boisterous laugh, an animated and avid conversationalist with very quick hands.

Services followed by a reception will be held on Saturday, June 2, 2012, at 9 am at the First Baptist Church of Alexandria, 2932 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22302.

For more information please call Joyce at 510-681-6819 (voice and txt).

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Northern Virginia Association of the Deaf, 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030.

To see her obituary and guest book:



William LeRoy Christian, 85

William LeRoy Christian of Ashburn, VA, passed away March 21, 2012 at his residence.

He is survived by his wife Evelyn F. Christian, son Dana L. Christian, daughter Cheri C. Hunter and grandchildren Erik Christian, Courtney McCusker, Matthew Christian, Allison Christian, Sean Hunter, David Christian, Kaitlyn Hunter and Evan Christian. He is also survived by two sisters, Polly Alder and Shirley Miller.

The family will receive friends Saturday, March 24, from 9am to 10am, with a service starting at 10am at Christian Fellowship Church, 21673 Beaumeade Circle, Ashburn, VA. Interment will follow at 4 p.m. in Weavers Mennonite Church Cemetery, Harrisonburg, VA.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to The Elpis Foundation (Pediatric Cancer) 778 N Taney St., Philadelphia, PA 19130 or online at

Email condolences may be sent to


Published in The Washington Post on March 23, 2012.



Race Fred Drake, Sr., Gallaudet Class of '38
Race Fred Drake, Sr., participated in the toss-up of the 2009 homecoming football game as an honorary captain of the Bison football team.

Race F. Drake, Sr., 98, passed away peacefully at Moultrie Creek Nursing Home in St. Augustine, Fla. on February 16.

Race was born in Fayetteville, Ark. and resided in Little Rock, Ark. until 2000 when he moved to St. Augustine. He graduated from the Arkansas School for the Deaf in 1933 and Gallaudet University in 1938.

In 1933, Race became the first student at the Arkansas School for the Deaf to attain the Boy Scouts of America's Eagle rank. He was a printer at the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock for almost 40 years. He received a Lifetime Award from the Arkansas Association of the Deaf in 2007 for his many years of service, dedication, and contributions to the organization.

Race was 116th of the 7,825-member Gallaudet University Alumni Association. He also was a member of Kappa Gamma Fraternity.

Race excelled as an athlete, mainly in football and basketball. He was inducted into the halls of fame at the Arkansas School for the Deaf, the Southwest Athletic Association of the Deaf, and Gallaudet University.

In 2009, Race was honored at Gallaudet's 75th Anniversary Homecoming as the last living member of the Bison football team that competed in Gallaudet's first Homecoming game in 1934. He was made an honorary captain of the Bison football team at the 2009 Homecoming game, flipping the coin at the start of the match. During the weekend, he received a football jersey and an Alumni Emeriti Club medallion--both of which were buried with him. Please click the link for the interview about his visit to Gallaudet in 2009.

Race was preceded in death by his wife, Lorene. He is survived by his children, Race F. Drake, Jr., '63 & G-'64 (Jean, E-'68), of Staunton, Va., and Donna F. Drake, '69 & G-'71, of St. Augustine; two grandchildren, Darrell R. Drake, '93 (Abigail, '97 & G-'99), of Washington, D.C., and Pamela D. Wayne (Chris) of Fredericksburg, Va.; and one great-grandson, Jackson M. Wayne of Fredericksburg.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Race's memory can be made to: The Alumni House Maintenance Fund, Gallaudet University Development Office, 800 Florida Ave., NE, Washington, DC 20002, or the ASD Museum, Arkansas School for the Deaf, 2400 West Markham, P.O. Box 3811, Little Rock, AR 72203.


Posted in Gallaudet Alumni E-Newsletter March 14, 2012



Mary A. Lawson

STAUNTON — Mary Ann (Jennings) Lawson departed this life at 4:20 a.m. March 16, 2012.  She was born February 26, 1930, in Abingdon.  Her late parents were Gladys Marshall and Joseph Jennings.

She spent most of her young life living in Carroll County.

Mary Ann worked two years as a beautician before marriage to the late Jefferson Rowe Lawson Jr.  They were married 59 years.  He passed away in September 2007.  They owned and operated Lawson Printing Company in Staunton.  In addition, Mary Ann helped found the VSDB museum.  She also was active in the Deaf Alumni Association.

She is survived by two sons and daughters-in-law, Jeff and Bobbie of Churchville and Charlie and Barbara of Waynesboro.  Also surviving are three grandchildren, Troy and his wife, Laura, and Maggie and Jenni; and two great-grandsons, Carter and Mason.  Mary Ann has three brothers, Joe Paul Jennings of Dugspur, Marvin Lee Jennings of Tucson, Ariz., and Tom Jennings of Roanoke; and two sisters, Betty Holcomb of Crimora and Geneva Linscott of Michigan.  She also leaves a special uncle, Payne Marshall of Tennessee and Florida.

She also leaves some very special friends, Ashley McAllister, Paul Massie and the staff of Augusta Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.  Special thanks to these great people for their love and care.

She loved her family and friends and enjoyed spending time with them.

It is her desire that memorial contributions be made to Augusta Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Activity Department, 83 Crossroads Lane, Fishersville, VA 22939.

A graveside service will be conducted at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, 2012, in Thornrose Cemetery by the Rev. April Cranford.

Henry Funeral Home is handling the arrangements (



Cecil R. Prillaman, Sr.

Cecil R. Prillaman, Sr. of Pulaski, VA passed away June 16, 2012.  He was born in Henry, VA on August 23, 1917 and was preceded in death by his parents, Crockett Lee and Minnie Hall Prillaman and his wife, Nellie Aust Prillaman.  He was also predeceased by brothers and sisters: Charlie Marshall, Gertrude, Elizabeth, Jesse,  Bernice, Ocie, Christine, Gold, Betty Ruth, and Robert, and by his daughter-in-law, Kaye Catron Prillaman.  Surviving him are sons and daughter: William Norman Prillaman  of Forest, Cecil Roy Prillaman, Jr. (Mercedes) of Roanoke and Lucy Prillaman Howlett of Pulaski; 6 grandchildren: William Norman Prillaman II (Sonya) of Forest, Amy Prillaman Cardwell, (Bobby) of Altavista,  Robert Anthony Prillaman of Roanoke, Erin Prillaman Dietsch, (Nick) of Durham, NC, Sarah Caitlin Howlett and Carly Jane Howlett of Pulaski; 5 great grandchildren and one great great grandson.

Cecil worked as a linotype machinist at the Southwest Times for 23 years and then transferred to the Roanoke Times where he worked as an offset machinist until his retirement in 1981.

The family will receive friends at Stevens Funeral Home from 1:00-2:00 pm Wednesday prior to the funeral service at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, June 20th at Stevens with interment to follow at Oakwood Cemetery.

Flowers will be appreciated or memorials may be made to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Center, 2030 Colonial Avenue SW, Roanoke, VA 24015 or at

The family wishes to express their appreciation for the exceptional care provided to our father by: Charlotte and Carroll Thomas, Eirini Kalaitzidakis, Michael Apostolou and Kim King.




Gordon W. Landes

Gordon W Landes, 75

Gordon Wilson Landes, 75, passed away at his home, March 6, 2011 in Verona, VA, from complications caused by diabetes and failed kidneys.

Gordon was born in Richmond, VA, on November 11, 1935, and attended the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind (VSDB) in Staunton, VA.  He played on the VSDB football championship team in 1955 during his senior year.  He married his high school sweetheart, Sylvia Nester, shortly after their graduation at VSDB on July 3, 1955.  He was elected to the Virginia School for the Deaf Alumni Association Hall of Fame in 1983.

Gordon worked for a printing shop in Richmond for some time before he relocated to the Washington, DC, area.  Gordon worked for over 30 years as a federal employee, as a printer for the United States Government Printing Office (GPO).  He and his family lived in Alexandria, VA.

He was a lifetime advocate for the rights and needs of the Deaf community at both local and state levels.  He frequently participated in political activities as a volunteer for Joe Alexander, who represented the Lee District on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.  In appreciation, Joe Alexander appointed Gordon to the Fairfax County Commission for the Physically Handicapped Persons, which is known as the Fairfax County Disability Service Board today.  Gordon served in this position for 25 years.

He had a role in the formation of Virginia Council for the Deaf in the early 1970’s (now Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH).

His foremost ambition and his most significant contributions involved his ability to focus political attention on the needs of people with disabilities.  He worked tirelessly in pursuit of a political way to fulfill the dream of many deaf people – the establishment of a community center for the deaf and hard of hearing in Northern Virginia.  He strived continuously to be a communication bridge between local politicians and the disability community in Northern Virginia.  In 1987, he took a part in the establishment of the Fairfax Resource Center for the Hearing Impaired (FRCHI) which has become the Northern Virginia Resource Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC) today, through his network with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

He was the past President of Northern Virginia Association of the Deaf (1967-1970) and past Vice President of Virginia Association of the Deaf (1967-1970).  He received several awards for his service to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Gordon was also known as a lifetime supporter of his beloved alma mater, the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind.  He shared many stories about growing up on the campus and relished in telling how he met Sylvia, the love of his life.  He was a champion for deaf rights for all children.

He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Alexandria, VA.

He was preceded in death by his wife Sylvia in 2010.  His surviving family members include a son and daughter-in-law, Tim and Meetra Landes of Springfield; two daughters, Pauline Landes and life partner, Susan Hoffman of Centennial, CO, and Peggy and Danny Gravitt of Dacula, GA and five grandchildren, Jeremiah and Mersal Landes of Springfield, Lindsey Stewart of Charlotte, NC, and Jordan and Austin Price of Dacula, GA.

This obituary was edited from an original obituary published in the Happy Hands Deaf Seniors Newsletter Seniors’ Chat  April 2011 with some contributions by Gary Viall.



(L) Reuben and Hilda on wedding day (R) The Altizers in Hawaii in 1983

Hilda L. Altizer, 96

Hilda L. Altizer died peacefully in her sleep in Mathews, VA, on April 11, 2010, at the age of 96.

Hilda was born in Delaware, attended school at Mount Airy School for the Deaf in Philadelphia, but she considered Arlington, VA, to be her home.  She had lived there for over 60 years.

Hilda was preceded in death by her husband Reuben and her daughter, Doris Altizer.  She is survived by her daughter Marlene and her husband Walter Fortenberry, her son Reuben Altizer, and three grandchildren.

Hilda had a long and full life.  She and her husband traveled all over the world, she rode a camel in Africa, walked on hot coals in India, loved the subway in Moscow, and had many great memories of friends she and Reuben met in their travels.  She always made it a point to be with her grandchildren on special days -- their birthdays and holidays.  She took them on great trips as well -- Disney World, Luray Caverns, and often to the beach in Delaware.  She was an avid reader who had a great knowledge of the world.

Hilda had a great joy in living which she passed on to all people around her.  She also had a wonderful sense of humor that made many of her friends and strangers laugh.

She was a lifelong member of the Virginia Association of the Deaf, the Northern Virginia Association of the Deaf, the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf, and Happy Hands.

She requested that there be no funeral service and that she be buried next to her husband and daughter at the Columbia Gardens in Arlington.

Written by Marlene Fortenberry, daughter of Hilda, with some contributions by Gary Viall.



Sylvia Landes, 74

Sylvia (Nester) Landes, 74, wife of Gordon Wilson Landes, died Friday, April 16, 2010, at Envoy of Staunton after a long battle with Alzheimers-related dementia.

She was born February 22, 1936, in Willis, Floyd County, VA, the daughter of the late Luke and Edna (Slusher) Nester.  Mrs. Landes enrolled at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind (VSDB) in Staunton at the age of 7. She was a good student at VSDB where she studied academic subjects as well as speech, reading, sewing, crocheting, knitting, embroidering, and cooking.  She has a knowledge of seven different languages; was homecoming queen at VSDB in 1954; and graduated in 1955.  She met her husband while at VSDB, where they both enjoyed participating and cheering the football team to many victories.  They married shortly after graduation on July 3, 1955.

Mrs. Landes was a federal employee of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, retiring in 1999 with 22 years of service.

She was a member of the First Baptist Church, Alexandria.

In addition to her husband of nearly 55 years, family members include a son and daughter-in-law, Tim and Meetra Landes of Springfield; two daughters, Pauline Landes and life partner, Susan Hoffman of Centennial, CO, and Peggy and Danny Gravitt of Dacula, GA; a sister and brother-in-law, Goldie and Kenneth Alderman of Hillsville; a brother and sister-in-law, Woodrow and Jane Nester of Richmond; and five grandchildren, Jeremiah and Mersal Landes of Springfield, Lindsey Stewart of Charlotte, NC, and Jordan and Austin Price of Dacula, GA.

She was preceded in death by two brothers, James Slusher and Benten Nestor.

The family will receive friends from 7-8:30 p.m. Sunday, April 18, 2010, at Henry Funeral Home in Staunton.

Mrs. Landes will be transported to the Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home, 1500 West Braddock Road, Alexandria, VA 22302-2798, where the family will receive friends Tuesday, April 20, 2010, from 6 until 8 p.m.

Funeral service will be held at the First Baptist Church, 2932 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22382 at 10 am.  Interment will take place at Mt. Comfort Cemetery, 6600 South Kings Highway, Alexandria, VA 22306 after the service.  Afterward, a reception will be held at the same church.




Robert L. Dillman

Robert Lee Dillman, 70

 STAUNTON Robert Lee Dillman, 70, Staunton, passed away Thursday, June 11, 2009, at his home.

 He was born Jan. 23, 1939, in Huron, S.D., a son of the late Estel and Alta (Day) Dillman.

 Robert was a 1962 graduate of Gallaudet University and he participated in the 1961 World Games for the Deaf, receiving a silver medal for diving.  He had many interests, which included working on vintage sports cars, breeding dogs and flying radio-controlled airplanes.  He taught American Sign Language at Gallaudet University for five years. Prior to retiring, he was a printer.

He was preceded in death by his first wife of 37 years, Kitty McCarter Dillman.

Family includes his beloved wife, Janice Couch Dillman, two daughters, Maria Jeffers and husband, Tom, of Mount Airy, Md., and Kathy Dillman and a special friend, Larry Keyser, of Frederick, Md.; two sons, Richard Dillman and wife, Sherrie, of Mount Airy, Md., and Ray Dillman of Libertytown, Md.; two grandsons, Dalton Jeffers and Austin Keyser; two brothers, Clyde Dillman of Huron, S.D., and Dana Dillman and his wife, Eva, of St. Cloud, Minn.; and a sister, Althea Acker of Cheyenne, Wyo.

A memorial service celebrating his life will be conducted at Noon, Friday, July 10, 2009, in the Henry Funeral Home Chapel by the Rev. Hollis Gregory Dodge.

Following the service, the family will receive friends at the Fishersville United Methodist Church.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Denver Service, P. O. Box 4072, Pittsfield, MA 01202 or AMC Hospice of the Shenandoah, P. O. Box 215, Fishersville, VA 22939.

Condolences may be sent to the family online at

Published in the Staunton (VA) News Leader June 14, 2009


Additional information:

Bob Dillman, who departed us last night, was a Deaf Olympic diver in 1961.

He also quarterbacked the Gallaudet football teams in the late fifties and early sixties.  And he owns an interesting distinction - the only Gallaudet starting QB to come from a 6-man school.

He quarterbacked the 6-man team at South Dakota School for the Deaf.  In 6-man football quarterbacks cannot hand off the ball; they must pitch out the ball.  It was quite an adjustment for Bob but by the time he was a junior, he was the best hand off man among the several Gallaudet quarterbacks on the roster.  His favorite passing target was Jim Macfadden.  His touchdown pass to Macfadden helped Gallaudet defeat Bridgewater 12-7 in the 1960 season.



 Bill Ennis

William Thomas "Bill" Ennis, Jr., 64

ENNIS, WILLIAM T. ENNIS, JR.  On Tuesday, June 2, 2009 of Mechanicsburg, PA, formerly of Oceanview, DE.  Beloved husband of Glenda Snyder Ennis; devoted father of William Thomas Ennis, III (Natalie) and Bonnie Ennis Brennan (Tim); son of Jo Waits Ennis; brother of JohnMark Ennis and David Ennis. Also survived by three grandchildren.  Relatives and friends may call at the ROBERT E. EVANS FUNERAL HOME, Rt. 450 and Race track Rd., Bowie, MD on Friday, June 5 from 2 to 4 and 5:30 to 9 p.m.  Funeral services will be held Saturday, June 6 at the Riverdale Baptist Church, 1173 Largo Rd., Upper Marlboro, MD at 11 a.m.  Interment to follow in church cemetery.  Memorial contributions may be directed to the Gallaudet University, ASL-Deaf Studies Dept., 800 Florida Ave., N.E., Washington, DC 20002.

Published in The Washington Post on June 4, 2009.



Charles Houchins, 81

Charles Jackson Houchins Jr., 81, of Roanoke, Va., passed away peacefully at Lewis Gale Medical Center on Friday, June 5, 2009. 

He was born on April 4, 1928 in Loudoun County, Va., to the late Charles and Lillie Stutts Houchins Sr.  He was educated at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind in Staunton, Va., graduating on 1948.  He was a devoted Christian and Deacon in the Brethren Church.  Mr. Houchins was an offset pressman for Toler & Company for 44 years.  He was a devoted husband and father who loved his wood working shop, football, boating and car racing.  As a leader in the deaf community, he arranged many events.  He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Montana Aldridge Houchins; and loving daughter, Mickey Ruth Bryarly. 

Funeral service will be conducted 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10, 2009, at Oak Grove Church of the Brethren with the Rev. Ed Woodward and the Rev. John Wyble officiating.  Friends may call one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment to follow at Sherwood Memorial Park. 

Special thanks to Cave Spring Rescue Squad and Lewis Gale Medical Center. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind and Cave Spring Rescue Squad. 

Arrangements by Valley Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 1609 Peters Creek Road, N.W., Roanoke, Va., 540-562-1182.




E. Ralph Kiser, 89

E. Ralph Kiser, 89, of Staunton, passed away Monday, March 16, 2009, at Shenandoah House in Fishersville.  Born in Carbo on April 11, 1919, he was a son of the late Charles and Hattie Kiser.

A member of First Baptist Church in Staunton, Ralph had served as a deacon for many years.  He was proud to be not only an alumnus of VSDB, but Ralph also had been an instructor and coach there for many years.  Mr. Kiser's loyalty to the VSDB School didn't stop there; he participated in all sporting activities, played an integral role in the introduction of the Sports Hall of Fame at VSDB, and was a dormitory supervisor for more than 30 years.  It would be safe to say, and many will tell you, that one of Mr. Kiser's true desires and joys in life was to support everything at VSDB.

In addition to his parents, Ralph was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Elizabeth (Fridley) Kiser, with whom he shared a devoted and blessed union of more than 60 years; four brothers, Clyde, Layman, Bobby, and James Kiser; and two sisters, Peggy Kiser and Helen (Kiser) Markham.  Ralph is survived by two sons, Jim and Charles Kiser; three brothers, Charles Jr., Billy, and Jack.

The family requests that memorial contributions be made to AMC Hospice of the Shenandoah, P.O. Box 215, Fishersville, VA 22939.

Source: Little Acorn newsletter, May 2009, page 11.

In Appreciation of Ralph Kiser, by Rocco DeVito  




Shelby Christian Kubis, 70

Shelby (Christian) Kubis, 70, a retired Kendall Demonstration Elementary School teacher, died this morning (September 24, 2009) in The Villages after suffering long illness.

Ms. Shelby was born in Harrisonburg,Virginia, graduated from Virginia School for the Deaf and Gallaudet University, and taught as a teacher at Kendall School for the Deaf in Washington, D.C.  She had retired after 20 years at Kendall School.

Ms Shelby lived in Maryland, New York, Delaware, and last in Florida.  She moved to The Villages from Lake Worth in 2003.  She enjoyed golfing, bowling, reading, Caribbean cruising, traveling, cooking and entertaining.

She is survived by her husband, John J. Kubis, of 44 years.  Also, she is survived by two daughters, Janel Mumford of Selbyville, Deleware, and Joanie Kreger of Federick, Maryland, and her sister-in-law, Marie Benz.  She had two grandchildren.

There will be no funeral or memorial service.

Memorial donations may be made to Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Avenue NE, Washington, D.C., 20002, or to The Villages Hospice House, 601 Casa Bella, The Villages, FL 32162.

All Faiths Cremation Society, The Villages, is in charge of arrangements.



Louise Camper Martin

Louise Camper Martin, 90, of Roanoke, Va., died on Sunday, November 22, 2009.  She was a member of Woodlawn United Methodist Church.  She loved cooking and sharing it with everyone.  Louise was full of life and was dearly loved by family and friends.  She was preceded in death by her husband, Luther James Martin Jr.; a son, Ronald Michael Martin; her parents, Carl M. and Lula Booze Camper; sisters, Annie C. Buky and Grace C. Brannan; brothers, Warren G. Camper, Henry M. Camper, W. Berkley Camper, Charles (Pee Wee) Camper, and Donald E. Camper; and brother-in-law, Nelson R. Martin.  She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Edwin Lee and Ramona (Kay) Martin; granddaughters, Kathleen Lynn (Kathy) Martin, Kimberly Ann Guilliams and husband, Jason Guilliams; grandsons, Ryan Michael Martin and Christopher Michael West; and daughterin-law, Susan W. Martin.  Mrs. Martin is also survived by her sisters and brothers-in-law, Frances C. Mundy, of Lakeland, Fla., Dorothy C. and Ray Breeden, of Buchanan, Va., Laura C. Compton, of Lakeland, Fla., Mary C. Houser, of Fairfield, Va., and Hugh Leon Brannan, of Troutville, Va.; brothers and sistersin-law, Lawrence C. and Ruth Camper, of Buchanan, Va., Joseph B. Camper, of Buchanan, Va., Paul B. (Doodle) and Caroline (Cat) Camper, of Roanoke, Va., and Larry B. and Helen Camper, of Lakeland, Fla.; brother-in-law and wife, Robert and Dorothy Martin; sisters-in-law, Ruth M. York and Ruby Y. Martin; and many nieces and nephews.  Services will be held 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25, 2009, at Oakey's South Chapel on Brambleton Ave.  Dr. Louis M. Strickler and the Rev. Arthur Grant will officiate.  Interment will follow in Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens.  The family will receive friends at Oakey's South Chapel from noon on Wednesday until funeral time at 2 p.m.  Memorials may be made to Woodlawn United Methodist Church.  Arrangements by Oakey's South Chapel, 540-989-3131.



Edward and Nery O'Meara

Edward Smith O'Meara

Mr. Edward Smith O’Meara, of Vienna, VA, passed away on December 10, 2009.  Beloved husband of 52 years to Nery Berta O’Meara.  Loving father of Christopher Edward O’Meara and his wife, Christy, and the late Timothy Patrick O’Meara.  Cherished grandfather of Logan, Brendon, Donovin, Keegen, Devon, Brittany, Kyle, and Paige O’Meara.  Mr. O’Meara was predeceased by his 4 siblings.  The family will receive friends at the Everly Funeral Home, 10565 Main Street, Fairfax, VA 22030 on Sunday, December 13, 2009 from 11 AM until time of services at 1 PM.  Interment will follow in Greenhill Cemetery, Berryville, VA.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Charity of the Donor’s Choice.

Posted on TownSigner on December 12, 2009.



Marjorie Forehand Walls

Marjorie Forehand Walls, 91

Marjorie Forehand Walls, 91, passed away peacefully at her home in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her children at her side, on Sunday, May 17, 2009. She will be dearly missed by family and friends.

Marjorie was born February 5, 1918, in Hampton, Virginia, to the late Hersey Cecil Forehand and Bertha Stafford Forehand. She was preceded in death by her beloved hus-band, Henry David Walls; and her son, Gary Richard Culbertson.

Survivors include her daughter, Joyce Allan and her husband, Richard "Freeman" Allan, of Crozet, Virginia; daughter, Dorene Sue Stanley and her partner, Lawrence Barnwell, of Scottsville, Virginia; four grandchildren, Joseph Koelling, Jennifer Pierce, Jesse Anstine and Jeremy Anstine; two step-grandchildren, Daniel Allan and Gabriel Allan; four great-grandchildren; brother, Hersey C. Forehand Jr. and his wife, Joyce Forehand; sister, Anne Brown Showell; and six nieces and nephews.

Marjorie was a residential student at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind in Staunton, Virginia, and later graduated from Gallaudet University with a degree in Library Science. Her first job was at VSDB as a librarian and teacher, where she organized the library for the children. She resigned after two years to fulfill her life dream of becoming a homemaker and a mother. She later returned to work as a librarian and cataloger for the American Meteorological Society, the Federal Power Commission and the Library of Congress. After her retirement, she went to Lebanon as a volunteer librarian and teacher at the School for the Deaf in Beirut.

Marjorie was a member of the National Association of the Deaf, the Virginia Association of the Deaf, Gallaudet University Alumni Association, Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority, and Blue Ridge Deaf Seniors. In 1998, she was awarded the honor of "Virginia Deaf Mother of the Year" by the Virginia Association of the Deaf.

Marjorie enjoyed travel, reading, and cooking. She had a blessed, late-life, 13 year marriage to Henry Walls and her greatest pleasure was spending time with her family. She had a warm and sunny disposition, was loved by all who knew her and will be remembered for her gentle kindness. She accepted the difficulties in her life without complaint and was grateful for all her blessings. She was the best of mothers and will be greatly missed by the entire family for her wisdom, guidance and unconditional love.

The family extends sincerest thanks to the remarkably loving staff of RoseWood Village who became part of her extended family in her final years, and to the generous hearts of the staff of Hospice of the Piedmont.

A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, May 30, 2009, at the chapel of Thacker Brothers Funeral Home in Scottsville, Virginia. Interment of her ashes will follow at the Scottsville Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral home one hour prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, Marjorie asked that donations be made to the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, Staunton, VA or to Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.

Published in the Charlottesville Daily Progress May 19-20, 2009.











--  Magical charm to enlighten our lives

--  An angel to any person in need

--  Responded as a generous hostess

--  Just as happy as a darling puppy

--  Observed and cared for her family with Tender Loving Care

--  Responded with generosity and good advice

--  Illuminated her life with kindness and everlasting smiles

--  Evermore gone to New World


Farewell to thee, Dear Marjorie

Peggie Parsons

May 2009




Thomas and Ruby Sebrell on June 23, 2009

Thomas R. Sebrell, 86

STAUNTON — Thomas Rettew Sebrell, 86, husband of Ruby Ann (Foster) Sebrell, of 2 Thompson St., died Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009, at Augusta Health in Fishersville.  He was born Nov. 28, 1923, in Portsmouth, a son of the late Thomas H. and Lillian (Buchan) Sebrell.

He graduated from VSDB in 1946.

Prior to retirement, Mr. Sebrell was employed as a dorm counselor by VSDB for 31 years.  Prior to that, he worked in the printing shop in Norfolk for seven years.

He founded the Shenandaoh Valley Club for the Deaf in 1977 and was a Boy Scout Master for many years.

He attended First Baptist Church.

In addition to his wife of 62 years, survivors include nieces, Norma Bard of Vermont and Eileen Querau of Louisiana, and special friends, Frances and Mike Marzolf.

He was preceded in death by a brother, Elmer H. Sebrell, and a sister, Geneve Grant.

A funeral service will be conducted at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009, in the Henry Funeral Home Chapel by the Rev. Dr. Steve Traylor.  Burial will follow in Oak Lawn Mausoleums and Memory Gardens.

Active pallbearers will be Thomas Marzolf, Paul Pryor, Wayne Frick, Clarence Ruebush, Charles Price and Wayne Dietz.

Honorary pallbearers will be Michael Marzolf, Glenn Patterson, Rocco DeVito and DaWayne Werner.

The family will receive friends from 7 until 8:30 p.m.  Friday, Dec. 11, 2009, in the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to the Shenandoah Valley Club for the Deaf, PO Box 3053, Staunton VA 24402.

Condolences may be sent to the family at

Published in The News Leader (Staunton, Virginia) December 9, 2009



  John Patrick Willard

John Patrick Willard, 74

John Patrick Willard, 74, of Richmond, died January 22, 2009. He was the beloved adopted son of the late, Sedona Marie Shaw. He is survived by two godchildren, Cindy B. Tutko and Beau Bailey and many close friends. Mr. Willard was active and enjoyed the fellowship in many organizations in the Richmond area deaf community. He was a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. He was retired from Wachovia Bank. A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, January 28, in Mt. Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 8200 Woodman Rd., Richmond, Va. 23228. Arrangements by the Central Chapel of Bennett Funeral Home.

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch January 25, 2009.




Marshall Todd Bland, 41

Marshall Todd “Toddie” Bland, 41 of Christiansburg, died Sunday, March 9, 2008 in the University Hospital, Charlottesville, VA.

He is survived by his parents; Janice and Terry Shelor, brother and sister-in-law; Ricky L. and Marie Price of Christiansburg, Ronald D. and Sandra Bland, sister and brother-in-law; Teresa and Travis Christian of Elliston, Carol and Mikey Shelor of Shawsville, and Dolly and Brian Adkins of Christiansburg. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends from 5 – 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, 2008 at The Horne Funeral Home. The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 13, 2008 in the Horne Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Doug Price officiating. Interment will follow in Hall’s Church Cemetery.

The family request in lieu of flowers that contributions be made to help off set expenses.



  Charles Christie

The Reverend Charles Christie, 93

The Reverend Charles Christie, 93, of Port Royal died Tuesday, February 12, 2008, at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, VA.

The Rev. Christie was born in Fort Monroe December12, 1914.  He became deaf as an infant as a result of illness.  He was educated at a variety of state schools for the deaf, wherever his father, who was career Army, was stationed.  He was always pleased to have met Helen Keller at one of the schools.  He also attended Mystic Oral School in Connecticut and graduated from Mica High School, which is now Fort A.P. Hill property.

The Reverend Christie was an advocate for the deaf.  He initiated a Christian ministry for the deaf and served that ministry at Fredericksburg Baptist Church for 28 years.

He was a friend and interpreter for the deaf at hospitals, jails and the court system.  He served as president of the Virginia Baptist Conference for the Deaf in 1984 and 1985 and also as a senior trustee.

He was ordained as a minister to the deaf at the age of 80 by the Reverend Willis A. Dempsey at Memorial Baptist Church in Port Royal, where he was a member.  He volunteered for two mission trips to Trinidad to teach the deaf.

As a young man, he was drafted into the Philadelphia Phillies as a catcher in the Pacific Coast League, and also was a bullpen catcher for the main ball club.  He was a chaplain for Boy Scout Troop 171 from 1972 to 1974 and was a 23-year survivor of breast cancer.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Lois; two daughters, Lauren Christie of Richmond and Sharon Sanford and her husband, Tom, of Dahlgren; one son, Paul Christie and his wife, Sonya, of Colonial Beach; six grandchildren, Julianne, Philip, Benjamin and Isabella Christie and Bethany and Joshua Sanford.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, February 16, at 2 p.m. at Storke Funeral Home, Bowling Green, VA.  The family will receive friends at the funeral home one hour prior to the service.

Memorial contributions may be made to Memorial Baptist Church, Box 101, Port Royal, Va. 22535.

Published in The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA) February 14 2008.



  Gina Tester Coleman

Gina Tester Coleman, 43

Gina Alberta Tester Coleman 43, of Noblesville [IN] passed away April 6, 2008.  She was born in Washington, D.C. to Paul and Ruth Tester.  Gina earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Gallaudet University and her Masters degree at McDaniel College.  She was an American Sign Language teacher at Carmel High School the last two years. Prior to Carmel, she taught at Franklin Community High School.  She was a very motivated teacher and touched the lives of many of her students.  She was a member of Creekside Ministries Church in Fishers, IN, Delta Epsilon Sorority at Gallaudet University, American Sign Language Teachers Association, and H.O.G. Chapter 1 of Indianapolis.  Gina is survived by her husband, Henry F. Coleman III; father, Paul N. Tester; brother, Dave N. (Janis) Tester; niece, Jenny (Jarrod) Musano; and two nephews, Danny and Dean Tester.  A visitation will be held at Creekside Ministries Church, 10501 Hague Rd, Fishers, IN 46038 on Saturday, April 12, 2008 from 1-3 PM with a memorial service beginning at 3 PM.  Memorial contributions may be made to the American Sign Language Club at Carmel High School co World Language Dept Chair Person, 520 E. Main Street, Carmel, IN 46032. Arrangements entrusted to A.R.N.  Cremation Services.  Online condolences may be made at

Published in The Indianapolis Star, April 10, 2008.


Motorcycle accident kills deaf teacher

By Melanie D. Hayes, The Indianapolis Star


Gina Coleman didn't need words to exude the love she had for her career and students.

Coleman, 43, Noblesville, who was in her second year teaching American Sign Language at Carmel High School, was deaf.

On Sunday, she was killed in a motorcycle accident in Brown County.

Brown County Sheriff Robert Stogsdill said Coleman was driving a 2007 Harley Davidson motorcycle north on Ind. 135 near Bean Blossom about 4:45 p.m. when she crashed into the back of a Honda CRV.

Stogsdill said the Honda slowed for a dog that ran onto the road and Coleman was unable to stop in time. He said the impact caused Coleman to be thrown from the motorcycle and into a ditch.

Even though Coleman was wearing a helmet, she died from massive trauma to the head, said Brown County Coroner Earl Piper. The helmet was a shell-type helmet.

Her husband, Henry Coleman, was following her on his own motorcycle. Both he and his wife were members of the Hoosier Deaf Bikers Club.

Stogsdill said the accident is still under investigation.

Before joining Carmel High School, Coleman taught in the Franklin school system and at the Indiana School for the Deaf.

"We felt very fortunate to have someone with her background and experience," Carmel Principal John Williams said. "She was passionate about American Sign Language, and the issues of the deaf culture. She was also passionate about her students. There was a real bond there."

Coleman's class had a large following. She taught 150 students this semester, said Tony Willis, communication supervisor for Carmel Clay Schools.

"Every year we have to turn kids away and have limited it to upperclassmen," Williams said. "It was one of our most popular courses and Gina was a big part of the reason for the popularity."

Coleman also took some of her students to the Carmel Fire Department to teach firefighters sign language that would be useful in emergencies, said Batallion Chief Tim Conner.

"If someone was in a car wreck, she taught us how to ask the person, 'Are you deaf?' and then 'Where does it hurt?' " Conner said. "We learned basic signs for how to help people. I'm thinking if I ran in to somebody, initially I could find out what's wrong with them."

Even though Carmel Clay Schools are on spring break there will be counselors available from 9 to 11 a.m. in the high school's media center.

Counselors will also be available when students return from break Monday and Tuesday, Williams said.

School administrators called all faculty and staff members to inform them of Coleman's death, Willis said. On Tuesday morning, Williams used the school's communication system to call the homes of all 4,000 Carmel High School students.

This marks the third time in five months that someone at the high school has died. Freshman Shaail Abbas and sophomore Michael Schenkel lost their lives in auto accidents earlier this school year.

Noblesville Ledger reporter Katie Merlie contributed to this report. Call Star reporter Melanie D. Hayes at (317) 444-5538.

Published in The Indianapolis Star April 9, 2008


Gina Tester Coleman standing next to her motorcycle.



Marshall J. Garrette, 88

Marshall Jefferson Garrette, 88, of Fredericksburg died Monday, Dec. 1, 2008.

Born in Appomattox on March 5, 1920, he was the son of the late Monroe Lumsden Garrette and Mollie Sue Bagby Garrette.

He was the beloved husband of Nell Hope Walker Garrette for 61 years and father of four children, Marsha Lynn Garrette Bullock and her husband, Bishop, of Camden, S.C., Mark Jeffrey Garrette and his wife, Anne, of Barrington, Ill., Robin Hope Garrette Kelly and her husband, Brian, of Fredericksburg, and Daryn Nell Garrette Gibbons and her husband, Robert, of Richmond. In addition to his wife and children, he is survived by 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He also is survived by one sister, Alice Elizabeth Garrette Moore of Ashland; five sisters-in-law; and many nieces and nephews.

A graveside service will be held Thursday, Dec. 4, at 2 p.m. in Laurel Hill Memorial Park, 10127 Plank Road, Spotsylvania, Va. 22553.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Arrangements for the Garrette family are in the care of Laurel Hill Funeral Home, Spotsylvania.

Published in The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg VA, December 3, 2008.



  W. Michael Kemp

Dr. W. Michael Kemp, 60

It was sad that Dr. Michael "Mike"  Kemp chose to go to the heaven last Monday (November 24, 2008).  He resided in Maryland and Virginia over 35 years.

Dr. Kemp was a full Professor in the Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. for 12 years he chaired three departments before stepping down to focus on his teaching, in which he loves to do.  He taught ASL for 35 years and had been teaching visual gestural communication and sign language teacher training throught the US and the world in places such as South and Central America, Southeast Asia, Japan, Middle East, the Caribbean islands, Canada, and Europe for 26 years.  He taught at the University of Puerto Rico, University of British Columbia, Douglas College (in British Columbia), Thailand's Ratchasuda College and Vietnam's Teacher Training Center in Bien Hoa City. He had been making 3 trips a year to Vietnam since 2001 to work with groups of deaf students in the Vietnamese Sign Language Teacher Training Program.  He was serving as a member of an advisory board at the Northern Virginia Community College at Annandale Campus Interpreting Training Program.  He authored "Fundamentals of Evaluating Sign Language Programs: a checklist."  He was on a six-month sabbatical leave during the Spring 2005 semester and spent time in Southeast Asia as well as to finish up "Communication in Gestures: a trainer's manual."  In addition, he went to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to give a presentation on "Trends in Deaf Education in the USA: Higher Education in July, 2006.  Dr. Mike Kemp, the owner of Kemp-Visual Communications, was a graduate from Gallaudet University with BA in Sociology, McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland College) with M. Ed. in Deaf Education, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with Ed.D. in Administration in Higher Education.  He was a member of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity. He wrote his dissertation on "A Comparison of the Simultaneous Method Evaluation and the Sign Communication Proficiency Interview (SCPI)."  He received the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf and National Institute of Disability Rehabilitation Research Award to attend the 18th ICED Conference in Tel Aviv, Israel in July 1995 and the T.J. O'Rourke Memorial Award from the ASLTA in 2002 in recognition of his international work. 

He left his wife, Joan and his children, William, Jennifer, and Jamie.  He enjoyed photography and reading.

No further details yet on his funeral.

Published in the DeafTime, Saturday, November 29, 2008

Biography of Dr. W. Michael Kemp in the website of the Gallaudet University.



  John R. Lopez

John R. Lopez, 68

John Ramirez Lopez, son of Roberto (Chapo) and Isabel Ramirez Lopez, and longtime resident of Arlington, Virginia, died August 20, 2008, in Columbus, Ohio.  Mr. Lopez was born in Nogales, Arizona, on June 24, 1940, the youngest of three children.  He leaves behind a cherished daughter, Olga L. Monagas of Chicago, Illinois, a brother, Robert Quihuis of Tucson, Arizona, cousins, Robert Quihuis, Jr., Patricia Munoz, Barbara Pacot, Sooki Knapp, Lawrence Quihuis, nieces and nephews, Gridley Quihuis, Charlotte Bell, Kenny Quihuis, and numerous other family members and friends near and far.  His parents and another brother, Anthony Quihuis predeceased John.

 Family, friends, and guests are invited to come pay their respects, celebrate his life, and his dedication to social justice at the burial and memorial service.  Burial will be at Fairfax Memorial Park at 9900 Braddock Road, Fairfax, Virginia 22032 at 10 a.m. Saturday, December 6, 2008.  The Memorial Service for John R. Lopez will follow at "Ole Jim" Piekoff Alumni House at Gallaudet University, on Saturday, December 6, 2008, at 1:30 p.m.  Attendees are welcome to stay afterwards for refreshments.  "Ole Jim" is located on the campus of Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Avenue, N.E. Washington, DC 20002.

 John has been described as a man possessing intelligence, quiet dignity, and always willing to give of himself to the point of being selfless.  He did much good for the communities and people he cared about.  John also had a wry and unusual sense of humor and always joked that when he was young, he wanted to run away with the circus.  John especially enjoyed political discussions, sharing a cup of coffee and conversation with friends, and making candid observations about the injustices he observed around him and working to improve the quality of life for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Latino communities.  Much of his work was done behind the scenes.

 John attended the Arizona School for the Deaf and received his bachelor's degree in History from Gallaudet College in 1966.  After Gallaudet, John worked as a Dean of Students at the Louisiana School for the Deaf and then as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in Northern California and Washington, D.C.  In 1973 John was a member of the prestigious National Leadership Training Program (NLTP), at California State University at Northridge (CSUN).  Later, he was actively involved with the District of Columbia Association of the Deaf Citizens (DCADC), National Hispanic Council (now called National Latino Council of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing), Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc., (TDI), among other organizations.  In the 1980s John helped secure a US Department of Education grant for a training program on Section 504 (of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) with National Association of the Deaf.  He also edited TDI's GA-SK newsletter on several occasions, and wrote many other grants.  John was part of an alumni group providing guidance and support to the student leaders during the 1988 Deaf President Now protests at Gallaudet University.

 John was a member of the 9-1-1 Access Committee who helped make emergency numbers accessible to all Americans who use TTYs (text telephones) and other visual communication devices.  At the 1989 International Deaf Way conference in Washington, DC, John ran the workshop on the 9-1-1 legislation and was able to get Representative Garcia (D-NY), who was a big supporter of the bill, to attend the workshop and discuss the bill with participants.  After the bill failed to ratify, John along with Frank G. Bowe, Karen Peltz Strauss and others worked with Katie Beh, Senator Tom Harkin's (D-IA) assistant, to successfully insert language requiring TTY and relay access to public safety call centers in Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

 During the last years of his career in Washington, DC, John worked at the Policy Office at the White House during President Clinton's Administration.  John was also a member of a coalition of national consumer organizations serving deaf and hard of hearing populations that meet to discuss strategies for dealing with common access issues called Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network (DHHCAN).  John was on the National Mission Advisory Panel for the Lauren Clerc National Deaf Center, and a volunteer writer and speaker for Friends of the Library Deaf Association, FOLDA.  He also earned a Juris Doctorate law degree from Harvard University.  John also spoke fondly of his fellow brothers in the Hispanic fraternal organization, La Raza.

 John was a friend and colleague respected by not only his peers, but also a role model to many young Deaf student leaders.  He volunteered his time as a workshop presenter and speaker for the Junior National Association for the Deaf (Jr NAD) at national conferences, and the NAD Youth Leadership Camp in Pengilly, Minnesota.  John also was actively involved as the first Chairperson of the National Hispanic Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing when the organization was formed in 1992 in San Antonio.  He was always seeking out young people with potential and figuring out ways to provide deaf Latino students with better opportunities through scholarships and linking them with mentors.

We will always remember John with his blue eyes, intense curiosity, friendship, and easy laugh....who has gone and "run off to the great circus in the sky."  Farewell.

For questions about the burial or the memorial service, please contact Joe Duarte ( <> ) or Jim House ( <> )

Published in the Ohio DeafTimes November 16, 2008.



  Billy Charles Taylor, Sr.

Billy Charles Taylor, Sr., 72

Billy Charles Taylor, Sr., 72, of Hopewell, passed away on Saturday, October 4, 2008.  He was born March 12, 1936 in Big Stone Gap, Va. to his parents, Cova Taylor and Martha Davis Taylor-Callahan.  He graduated from the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Staunton in 1955. He was a member of International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for 25 years as a linotypist including the stints with The Washington Post (14 years), Richmond Times-Dispatch, and The Hopewell News.  He retired from the United States Postal Service after 17 years of service.  He was a devoted member of the Richmond Club of the Deaf, Greater Richmond Chapter of Virginia of the Deaf, Deaf Senior Citizens of Richmond, and the Virginia School for the Deaf Alumni Association.  He also served on the Board of GRCVAD, VAD, DSCR and VSDAA for many years.  He is survived by his loving wife of 46 years, Deanna Duncan Taylor; six children, Karen Taylor, Billy Taylor Jr., Lily Mountjoy, Hedy Garner-Taylor, Ricky Taylor, Gary Taylor; ten grandchildren; sister, Mary Lou Fulcher and her husband, Marvin; two nephews; and a large extended family from the Virginia School for the Deaf in Staunton.  The family will receive friends at the Nelsen Funeral Home, 214 North 6th Ave., Hopewell, Va., from 5 to 7 p.m., with a service to be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 7, 2008.  In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the VSDAA, c/o Mike Marzolf, 813 Parkview Ave., Staunton, Va. 24401.

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on October 6, 2008.



  Henry & Marjorie Walls

Henry David Walls, 85

Henry David Walls, 85, passed away peacefully at his home in Charlottesville, VA, with his wife and children at his side, on Friday, July 18, 2008.

Henry was born August 13, 1922, in Wilmington, DE, to the late Robert James Walls and Vera May Ford Walls.  He was preceded in death by his beloved first wife of 44 years, Anna Joy Bauerle Walls.  Survivors include his cherished wife of the past thirteen years, Marjorie Forehand Walls; his adopted daughters, Dorene Stanley of Scottsville, VA; and Joyce Allan and her husband, Richard Freeman Allan, of Crozet, VA; six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; his nieces, Nancy B. Rarus of Herndon, VA; Dolores Campbell of Wyndmoor, PA; a nephew, Alan Bloom of Mountainside, NJ; one grand-niece and two grand-nephews; and nine great-grand nieces and nephews.

Henry resided from 1929 to 1941 at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia and considered the years of his education as some of the happiest in his life.  He worked for many years as a skilled machinist in Wilmington, DE, and Pittsburg, PA, and retired from a thirteen year career as Boys’ Dormitory Counselor at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Pittsburgh.  He was a member of Jefferson Park Baptist Church at Charlottesville, VA, the National Association of the Deaf, the Blue Ridge Deaf Senior Citizens, and the Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf.

Henry loved golf, antiquing, road trips, travel abroad, and attending Deaf conventions.  He was active in the Scottsville Museum and took pride in his father’s role as its first curator.  His greatest pleasures were his two marriages and his extended family.

Henry’s glowing face always conveyed his spirit of authenticity, generosity, and compassion.  By his example he taught everyone around him the true meaning of unconditional love.

The family extends sincerest thanks to the remarkably loving staff of RoseWood Village who became part of Henry’s extended family in his final years, and to the generous hearts of staff and volunteers of Hospice of the Piedmont.

A funeral service will be held 11 A.M., Monday, July 21, 2008, at the chapel of Thacker Brothers Funeral Home, Scottsville, VA.  Interment will follow at the Scottsville Cemetery.  The family will receive friends at the funeral home one hour prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, Henry asked that donations be made to the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, Heritage Museum Center, Attn: Development Office, 100 W. School House Lane, Philadelphia, PA, 19144.

Click here to read a poem about Henry & Marjorie Walls.




  Louis M. Balfour

Louis M. Balfour, 98

BALTIMORE — Louis M. Balfour, 98, died Friday, June 8, 2007, at Gilchrist Hospice of Baltimore. He was born deaf in Baltimore in 1908.  He was the third child born to his parents, Jacob and Rebecca Cohen, who came from Lithuania in 1906, but the first of their children born in the United States.

Louis and his deaf sister, Ida, both attended Virginia School for the Deaf in Staunton. Louis matriculated there at the age of 14.  His parents, who moved many times after he was born, may have been looking for a school for him but did not find it until they reached Richmond.

After entering Virginia School for the Deaf in Staunton, Mr. Balfour became active in the Boy Scouts and attained Eagle Scout status, and he learned the trade of linotype operator.  He graduated in 1930, but jobs were scarce for linotype operators.  He became a Boy Scout leader and worked with his father and uncle as a wallpaper hanger.  He hungered for a different vocation, which he found.  After working for various printing offices in the Washington area, he established priority at the "Evening Star" on April 29, 1955.  He was a popular person in the composing room and the last linotype operator for the "Evening Star."  He retired in 1973.

Mr. Balfour married in 1938 to Mildred White, a beautiful petite Baptist deaf woman, who remained his loving bride until she passed away in 2004.  They had four children, all hearing.

Mr. Balfour was a lifelong researcher in deaf education and peddling.  He was well known at the District of Columbia Historical Society, and his voluminous papers are archived at Gallaudet University, where the files are open to the public for further research.  The largest subject in the collection is deaf peddling which he spent much time writing to various agencies urging them to crack down on deaf peddlers.  He believed that hard work and perseverance would lead to a successful living rather than peddling.

Mr. Balfour was a member of Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf, Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf, the Connecticut Historical Society, the Virginia Historical Society and the Columbia Typographical Union, 101-12.

Mr. Balfour is survived by his children, Jo, Bob, Tim and Pat, and his loving grandson, Alexander J. Smith.  He was preceded in death by his brothers, Harry, David, Herman and Sam Cohen, and his sisters, Rosa Katzov and Ida Stevens.

Funeral services will be conducted' at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 14, 2007 at Capital Baptist Church, Annandale, Va.  Friends are welcome from 10 a.m. until the time of service.  Memorial services will be conducted July 6, 2007, at Hunt Valley Church in Hunt Valley, Md.

Mr. Balfour was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend.  He will be missed by everyone who knew him.

Contributions may be made in Mr. Balfour's memory to the Edward Miner Gallaudet Memorial Fund, Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave., N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002.

Originally published in The Staunton News Leader June 12, 2007.



  Lois & Ed McGann with grandson Edward Freedom Valdez

Lois Ann McGann, 64

Lois Ann McGann, 64, of Peoria, Arizona passed away on December 8, 2007.  Lois Ann was born on December 9, 1942, in St. Louis, Missouri, and spent her childhood years growing up in Oakland, California.  She graduated from the California School for the Deaf in Berkley, California, and attended Gallaudet University, in Washington, D.C. with the Class of 1966.  Lois Ann lived much of her life in Northern Virginia and moved to Arizona in 1996.  When Lois Ann passed, she was at home, surrounded at her bedside by her family and friends within the Deaf community.  She is survived by her mother, Ruth Jackson, of Eureka, California; her husband, Edward; her daughter and son-in-law, Marietta and Jorge Valdez; and her grandson, Edward Freedom Valdez, of Surprise, Arizona.  Lois Ann is also survived by innumerable friends within the Deaf community, here in Arizona and across the United States.  Lois Ann's vibrant, cheerful personality touched every person with whom she came in touch.  She always had a smile on her face, compassion in her heart, and was a true "social butterfly".  Throughout her courageous, sometimes devastating, battle with breast cancer, she continued to be a light of joy and happiness to those around her.  Lois Ann is truly loved, missed, and will always be cherished.  Today, and for the rest of our lives, we will mourn the loss of Lois Ann, but will always thank God that he answered our prayers and eased her suffering by bringing her Home, as she so desperately wanted towards the end of her life.  A memorial celebration of Lois Ann's life was held today, Friday, December 14, 2007, at 12:00 noon, at the Lakes in Westbrook Village.  Her family's wish is to have everyone consider giving support, in Lois Ann's honor, to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, Phoenix Affiliate, located at 2040 W. Bethany Home Road, Suite 120, Phoenix, Arizona 85015.

Guest Book:



Robert Meador, 87

Robert A. Meador, 87, passed away in Las Vegas, NV, on September 15, 2007.

He was born in Danville, VA.  After losing his hearing at the age of 10, he attended the VSDB in Staunton, VA.  He worked as a linotype operator and proof reader for the Government Printing Office (GPO) in Washington, DC, for 21 years.  After retiring in 1985 he moved to Las Vegas NV.

Robert is survived by his wife, Judith Westfall; a brother Charles of Southport, NC; sons, Robert Jr. of Danville VA, John of Las Vegas NV, Douglas of Mount Dora, FL, and Daniel; one granddaughter, and one great grandson.

Memorial Services was held in Reidsville, NC.

Source: Little Acorn newsletter, November 2007, page 11.



Jack Miller Wright, 73

Jack Miller Wright, age 73 of Westerville, Ohio, formerly of Northern Virginia and Wheaton, Maryland, passed away on Thursday, June 7, 2007 at Columbus Colony Elderly Care in Westerville, Ohio.  He was born on September 6, 1933.  He was a native of Washington County, Virginia and had lived in Virginia and Maryland for several years before moving to Westerville, Ohio in May 2006.  He was a son of the late Charles H. Wright, Sr. and Ruth Sheffield Wright.  Mr. Wright was the first President of the MWADB (Metropolitan Washington Association of the Deaf-Blind) in 1984 organizing guest speakers, support group meetings, fundraising, camping, picnics and various dinner gatherings.  He filed a Federal Lawsuit in December 1994 for disability discrimination.  He won an 'apartment-for-life' settlement representing the largest fair housing settlement to date in the nation.  He was elected 'Deaf-Blind Person of the Year' in November 2005.  In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by two brothers, William Buford Wright and Charles Wright.

He is survived by two daughters, Suzanna Wright Atkins, of Stem, North Carolina and Reena Wright, of Maryland; two sons, Matthew Miller Wright, of Cedar Grove, North Carolina and Haran Wright, of Maryland; two sisters, Louise Lindsey, of Bluefield, West Virginia and Margaret Click, of Mountain City, Tennessee; two brothers, Ralph Wright, of Kingsport, Tennessee, and Richard Wright, of Abingdon, Virginia; three grandchildren; Christina Huss, Ashleigh Wright, and Matthew Wright, Jr.; and several nieces and nephews.

The funeral service will be conducted at 8:00 P. M. Tuesday, June 12, 2007 in the Garrett Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Leonard Smith officiating.  The committal service and interment will be at 11:00 A. M. Wednesday, June 13, 2007 at Zion Cemetery in Damascus, Virginia.  The family will receive friends from 6:00 P. M. ? 7:45 P. M. Tuesday prior to the funeral service at Garrett Funeral Home.  Condolences may be sent to the family and a video memorial tribute may be viewed by visiting or fax condolences to 276-475-5902.

Mr. Wright and his family are in the care of Garrett Funeral Home, 203 N. Shady Ave., Damascus, VA 24236, 276-475-3631.

-- Visitation will be Tuesday, June 12 6-7:45 PM; The funeral service will be held at 8:00 PM. Both are at: Garrett Funeral Home, 203 North Shady Avenue, Damascus, VA. The burial is Wednesday, June 13 at 11:00, Mt. Zion cemetery.

If you'd like to share some memories and information for the MWADB newsletter, please let Dona Sauerburger know at

The home page for Garrett Funeral Home is


  Fred P. Yates

Fred P. Yates, 80

STAUNTON — Fred Parkis Yates, Jr., 80, of 442 Mountain View Drive, Staunton, went home to meet his Maker on Tuesday, August 7, 2007.  Fred was born November 10, 1926, in Fort Blackmore, to the late Fred Parkis Yates and Stella Counts Yates.

 Fred's earliest days were spent on the family farm on top of Caney Ridge outside Clintwood with his seven brothers and sisters.  At the age of 9, he contracted spinal meningitis.  He was one of the few to survive the rages of this disease but his battle cost him his hearing.  Fred recounted to family and friends on numerous occasions that he remembers his father laying his hand upon him while he was suffering and praying for his healing.  He said his father would dedicate his son to Him if He would be gracious enough to heal him.  Soon after, Fred Jr. began to recover.  At the age of 10, Fred had to leave his dear family and farm and enroll at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind (VSDB) in Staunton.  He graduated from VSDB and went on to Gallaudet College, where he earned a bachelor's degree.  While at Gallaudet, he met the love of his life, Anna Belle McClung, whom he married in June 1951.  Fred has spent the last 12 years of his life loving and caring for his ailing wife.  All the while, he continued his advocacy for VSDB, its students and faculty.  Fred began his teaching career at South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind but soon found his way back to his beloved Alma Mater, VSDB, where he served as educator, coach and administrator.

Fred spent all his adult life giving encouragement and guidance to others.  He was a man of wisdom and of appropriate, calculated action.  He devoted his entire life as a leader and advocate for the disabled, and in particular, the deaf community.  He loved his life, family, friends and associates.  He was an avid golfer and volleyball player right up to the end.  He never faced an obstacle he didn't find a way to overcome.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers, Victor and Jack Yates.  He is survived by his son, Ralph Alan Yates and his wife, Pam, of Centerville, Ga.; daughters, Jo Belle Anthony and her husband, Dave, of Staunton, and April Stella Keegan and her husband, Ty, also of Staunton; brothers and sisters, Henry Yates of Centerville, Madge Sexton of Kingsport, Tenn., Clare Ellen Mullins of Indiana, Josephine Case of Rogersville, Tenn., and James Yates of High Point, N.C.; grandchildren, Fred Parkis Yates III of Los Angeles, Calif., Michanne A. Yates of Savannah, Ga., Matthew D. and Erin E. Altmeyer of Centerville, Jessica Mae Baake of Hampton, and Joshua Philip Anthony and Lyndsey Ann and Kelsey May Keegan, all of Staunton; and great-granddaughter, Camryn Grace Baake of Hampton.

A memorial service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Friday, August 10, 2007, at Memorial Baptist Church, located at 224 Taylor Street in Staunton, with the Revs. Hollis Dodge and Temple D. Myers officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the R. Aumon Bass Scholarship Fund, c/o BB&T, 823 E. Main Street, 15th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219.

Friends and relatives are invited to view this obituary and share condolences and memories with the family online at

Published in the Staunton August 8, 2007.




  Joan Macaluso Bates

Joan Macaluso Bates, 76

Joan Macaluso Bates, 76, of Rixeyville VA, died on June 22, 2006.  A funeral service will be held on Thursday, June 29, at 10 a.m. at Precious Blood Catholic Church.  Interment will follow in Fairview Cemetery in Culpeper, VA.  Arrangements by Found and Sons Funeral Chapel of Culpeper.

Published in The Culpeper StarExponent on 6/29/2006.

The below information is from the August 1, 2006, issue of The Little Acorn:

JOAN MACALUSO BATES, 76, of Rixeyville, Va. passed away in her sleep on June 22, 2006.  She was the widow of Robert Bates who at one time was President of VAD as well as holding offices in the NVAD, the Catholic church and other deaf clubs.  Joan was laid to rest at Precious Blood Catholic Church in Culpeper, Va.  Like her husband, she was much involved in Catholic Church activities.  Joan was a 1955 graduate of Gallaudet College (now University) and was one of the founding members of the Delta Epsilon Sorority there.  She was born in Louisiana but spent most of her life in Virginia.  She was an avid traveler and at various times worked at the Department of the Navy, as a Librarian and at the Government Printing Office from which she retired.  Joan and Bob had four sons and 11 grandchildren.

Additional information:

Joan, 76,  passed away on June 22, 2006, as result of cancer.

She and her husband Robert (deceased in 1996) were heavily involved at the national and local Catholic levels, especially with International Catholic Deaf Association (ICDA).  Among her church activities included teaching sign language to parochial elementary school children and bringing delicious beef stews to the rectory.  She was one of the four founders of Delta Epsilon Sorority (DE) that was established at Gallaudet University in 1953 where she graduated in 1955.  She served as general Chairlady of the highly successful DE Silver Jubilee at the Ramada Inn in New Carrollton, MD.

Bob was one of the former presidents of Virginia Association of the Deaf (VAD).  Bob and Joan were members of VAD and Northern Virginia Association of the Deaf (NVAD) for many years.  She was an enthusiastic volunteer at the NAD 2000 Conference in Norfolk as she wanted to do it on the behalf of her deceased husband.  She had a way of motivating young deaf people with her warm heart.

Joan was buried in the Fairview Cemetery in Culpeper, Virginia.  Surviving are her four sons, Richard, Robert, Randolph and Roger, and their families, including her eleven grandchildren.



  Elrice Dupree Daniels

Elrice Dupree Daniels, 78

Virginia Beach – Elrice Dupree Daniels, 78, beloved father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, left us to join our mother, Carthina, on Sunday, April 2, 2006.

He was born in Ransomville, NC, and spent his formative years in Norfolk.  After retiring from the Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C., he moved to Norfolk where he has lived since 1992.

He leaves behind to cherish his memory his children, Debbie, Bob, and Steve, who are grateful to the people who supported and cared for him as he struggled with Alzheimer’s.  He was recently honored as Father of the Year by the Virginia Association of the Deaf.

The family would like to express special thanks to the Tidewater Alzheimer Society, Province Place at DePaul, caregivers Pat and Audrey Berrigan, and his beloved friend and companion, Louise Cherry.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 40 years, Carthina, and his son, Stanley Daniels.

A funeral service will be held Wednesday, April 5, 2006, at 7 p.m. at Altmeyer Funeral Home, Virginia Beach, with the Reverend Allen Justice officiating.  The family will remain after the service to receive friends until 9 p.m.  Burial will follow on Thursday, April 6, 2006, at 2 p.m. in Fairfax Memorial Park in Fairfax, VA. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make a donation to the deaf ministry at Temple Baptist Church.



Ruth Sullivan Frezzini, 86

Ruth Sullivan Frezzini reached the end of a long and happy journey on April 5, 2006.  Her journey began in Stafford County on September 9, 1919.  During her journey, Ruth married Joseph Frederick Frezzini with whom she shared her life for 53 years until Joe's death in 2001.  They enjoyed the company of their daughter Sharon Frezzini Karnes, her husband, Dennis Karnes, and two granddaughters, Danielle and Samantha Karnes.  Late in her journey, Ruth befriended Tammy Battista and her family and enjoyed many hours visiting with them.  Deaf since birth, Ruth did not have any problem communicating with people.  She was known for her infectious smile and hearty laugh, a trait that endeared her to everyone she met.  Ruth retired from the State of Virginia after many years of service and then volunteered at Catholic Charities Inc. performing tasks that helped make others lives more rewarding.  A memorial service to celebrate Ruth's life will be held on May 6, 2006 at 11 am at Westhampton Cemetery Mausoleum for friends and family.  For those wishing to make a contribution in honor of Ruth, please think of Catholic Charities, Inc.


  Elizabeth H. Harper

Elizabeth H. (Liz) Harper, 84

Elizabeth H. (Liz) Harper, 84, of Brownsville, Texas, formally of Bedford, Virginia, entered into Eternal Rest at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, 2006, at the Brownsville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.  Liz passed away after suffering a massive stroke to the right side of her brain on Sunday, March 19, 2006.

Elizabeth Jane Howell-Harper, daughter of the late Charlie T. and Bessie Forbes Howell of Bedford County, Virginia, was born on March 22, 1921 at her family's home on Sharps Mountain Road.  At the age of four, Liz's family learned that she was deaf.  However, she still walked every day through fields, climbed over fences, and even struggled through the snow to attend public school at the one-room schoolhouse in Penicks, later known as the Kirkwood Home.  This was Liz's source of education until she was 12 when her dad drove her 80 "bumpity bump" miles over rough and crooked mountain roads in order for his daughter to go to the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind (VSDB) in Staunton, Virginia.

Elizabeth Jane Howell graduated with honors in June 1940.  She went on to further her education at Gallaudet College (University) in Washington, D.C. (the only university in the world established strictly for students who are deaf).  After failing both Algebra and Latin, Liz went back to Bedford to become the "blushing" bride of the late Robert Sherman (Bob or Bobby) Harper at the Peaks Presbyterian Church on June 17, 1942.  To assist in maintaining the farm records, and perform bookkeeping tasks, Liz attended Philips School of Business where she earned a certificate in Bookkeeping and Business Finance.

Among her many activities on the farm, Liz enjoyed taking pictures with the Bedford Camera Club, planting flowers and shrubs, participating as a member of the Lisbon Garden Club, planning for their annual flower shows, and decorating churches for all occasions.

With love and grace, Liz performed her weekly duties, which included teaching an "all-deaf" Sunday school class at Peaks Presbyterian Church, Bedford in the mornings, and directing an all-deaf choir at both Saint John's Episcopal Church in Roanoke in the afternoons, and at Christ's Episcopal Church in Lynchburg every Sunday night.

In September 1975, Bob and Liz drove their first Sportscoach motor home to Brownsville, Texas, to visit their daughter Helen who had moved there to teach deaf children and to help establish the Regional Day School for the Deaf.  They enjoyed the climate so much that, after only one month, Bob and Liz hurried back to Bedford, sold the farm to the Key Family - Tony and Margaret Key-Mayhew, and moved to Brownsville where they lived happily together until Bob died in 1999.  They were married for 57 years.

Elizabeth was preceded in death by her devoted husband, Robert Sherman (Bobby, Bob) Harper, of Brownsville, formerly of Bedford; her parents, Charlie T. and Bessie Forbes Howell; three brothers and two sisters-in law, Ronald and Hallie B. Howell of Portsmouth, Roy and Mamie Howell, Harold Forbes Howell; one sister and brother-in law, Hazel and Madison Cottrell, all of Bedford; one son, Lewis Sherman Harper, one son-in-law, Chester (Chet) T. Rebok of Brownsville; one extremely special nephew, James "Charlie" Cottrell; and one loving niece, Virginia Medora (Ginny Mae) Cottrell-Crawford.

Elizabeth is survived by one sister-in-law, Carrie Toms-Howell, Bedford; one son and daughter-in-law, Tommy and Barbara Harper of Bedford; one daughter, Helen Harper-Rebok of Brownsville; six grandchildren, Rob Harper of Atlanta, Georgia, Mike Harper, Bedford, Francie H. Morris and her husband, Gerald, Bedford, Kristen Harper and her fiance, Dan Shelton of Fort Wayne, Indiana; James Harper, Bedford; Stephen Forbes Rebok, Brownsville; step grandson, Michael A. Rebok, Steelton, Pennsylvania; four great-grandchildren, Thomas Pittman, Bedford, Krystle, Zachery, and Robert Williams of Fort Wayne, Indiana; as well as numerous nephews, nieces, grandnieces and nephews.

The family will be receiving visitors on Tuesday evening, May 2, 2006, between 7 to 9 p.m. at Peaks Presbyterian Church.  A celebration of her life will be conducted at the Peaks Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, May 3, 2006, at 3 p.m. with Rev. Larry Mills officiating.  Burial will follow at the Peaks Community Cemetery on Kelso Mill Road in Bedford. Family and friends are invited to attend a finger food reception at the church following the burial.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to: The Peaks Presbyterian Church, 1687 Kelso Mill Road, Bedford, Va. 24523; Gallaudet University Gallaudet Alumni Fund, 800 Florida Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20002.

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on 5/1/2006.



Jefferson Rowe Lawson, Jr., 84

Jefferson Rowe Lawson, Jr., 84, husband of Mary Ann (Jennings) Lawson of 12 Partlow Street, Staunton, died Wednesday morning (September 27, 2006) in the Augusta Medical Center, Fishersville.

He was born September 10, 1922 in Hampton, VA a son of the late Jefferson Rowe, Sr. and Nannie (Wornom) Lawson.  He had been owner/operator of Lawson Printing Company and later was a carpenter in the Harrisonburg, Charlottesville area.

In addition to his wife, family members include two sons, Jeff R. Lawson, III of Churchville and Charles Jennings Lawson of Waynesboro.  He was preceded in death by a brother, Charles W. Lawson.

Graveside services will be private.  There will be no public viewing or visitation.  Henry Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.



   Birdie J. Parker

Birdie J. Parker, 83

STAUNTON — Birdie J. Parker passed away in her sleep Wednesday morning, November 29, 2006, at her daughter's home in Staunton, Virginia.  She was born March 29, l923, at Gloucester, Virginia, the daughter of the late Harry L. and Mary E. Smith.  Her husbands, Oscar E. Minor, Jr., in 1947; and Samuel D. Parker in 1977 preceded her in death.

She is survived by her daughter, Birdie Jo Minor, of Staunton; three sons, Samuel D. Parker Jr., of McCleansville, North Carolina, Oscar E. Minor III of Hampton, Virginia, and Tommy Lee Minor of Newport News, Virginia; three grandsons, Jason, Joshua and Zack Minor; and three great-grandchildren, Hunter Lee Minor, Julianna Grace Minor, and Benjamin Minor.

Birdie Parker attended the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind at Staunton from l929 to 1940.  She was a past member of the Peninsula Deaf Club in Newport News, Virginia, in which she held various offices.  In 1987 she retired from the civil service at Fort Eustis and moved to Staunton, after which she became active in the Shenandoah Deaf Club, holding various offices.  In 1969 she had the honor of being chosen "Virginia Deaf Mother of the Year," and in l982 she was the recipient of the Department of the Army's "Fort Eustis Handicapped Employee of the Year Award."

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday December 2, 2006, at McDow Funeral Home, Waynesboro, Virginia, after which the family will receive friends in the funeral home until noon.

A graveside service will be held Sunday, December 3, 2006, at 2 p.m. at Newington Baptist Church in Gloucester, to be followed by a reception at the church.

The family requests that contributions be made to the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Staunton, VA, P.O. Box 2069, Staunton, VA 24402.  (Make check out to "VSDB Scholarship Fund" and indicate on the bottom of the check "deaf scholarship fund, in memory of Birdie J. Parker.")

McDow Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Published in The News Virginian on 12/1/2006.



  Jan K. Repass

Jan K. Repass, 72

PORTLAND -- Jan K. Repass, 72, of Maine Avenue, passed away peacefully at his residence on Nov. 2, 2006, with his family by his side. He was born in Bluefield, W.Va. on Sept. 26, 1934, the only son of Zeyn and Okie Repass. He was educated at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, then went on to obtain his undergraduate degree from Gallaudet University and his Master's Degree in education from the University of Virginia. Obtaining his advanced degree was a special accomplishment, as there was little to no interpreting assistance available for hearing impaired students at the time.

In his lifetime, Jan enjoyed two very fulfilling careers. He was first an educator at his beloved Virginia School of the Deaf and Blind, and later spent 18 years as a teacher and Dean of Students at the Baxter School for the Deaf in Falmouth. In midlife, he leapt into the growing field of technology and became a computer programmer and analyst for L.L. Bean in Freeport. He enjoyed many years at L.L. Bean before retiring from the company in 1996.

Jan's true passion in life was teaching, and countless people were introduced to deaf culture and connected with the deaf community as a result of his more than 20 years of teaching American Sign Language, through Portland Adult Education and many other forums. His charismatic teaching style kept his classes consistently full, and he formed lasting friendships with many of his students. He was one of the founding members of the Maine Center on Deafness and helped create the Maine Relay Service, which established an important telecommunications link between the hearing and the deaf. In addition, he was responsible for establishing the ASL program at Central Maine Community College. Through all of these endeavors, he was able to build a bridge between the local deaf and hearing communities.

Jan was an enthusiastic participant in many organizations over the course of his lifetime. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout in his youth and later served as Scout Master, helping many other scouts reach this goal. He was an active participant in student organizations during his college years and a member of numerous deaf community organizations, both locally and nationally, throughout his adult life. He served as co-chair of the National Deaf Senior Citizens Convention in Boston in 2003. He had a true zest for life which was evident in his many interests, including photography, flower gardening, golfing, motorcycle riding, hiking, and simply socializing with his many friends.

Jan was an extremely compassionate, gentle, thoughtful and caring person who always kept a positive outlook on life, and he will be warmly remembered this way by his family and countless friends. Jan is survived by his loving wife of 40 years, Helen; son Jeff, his wife Daphne, and grandson Ryan; daughter Libby, her husband Dave, and grandsons Caleb and David; mother-in-law Catherine Walker; and many cousins and extended family in Virginia.

His family would like to thank Dr. Thomas Ervin and the staff at the Maine Center for Cancer Medicine for the exceptional care given to Jan over the past two years, and the VNA Hospice staff for their loving and compassionate care in the last days of his life.

There will be no visiting hours. Please bring your memories of Jan to a celebration of his life planned for Saturday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m., at the Bible Believing Baptist Church, 92 Center Road in Gray.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to VNA Hospice, 50 Foden Road, South Portland, Maine 04106.

Arrangements are under the guidance of Independent Death Care of Maine, 471 Deering Avenue, Portland, Maine.

Published in the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on November 5, 2006.



Margaret Paulina Sprinkel, 97

Margaret Paulina Sprinkel, 97, of Richmond, Va., died Thursday, March 2, 2006.  Born December 22, 1908, in Nebraska, Margaret was the daughter of the late Inez Murphy Sprinkel and Fredrick Kemper Sprinkel.  She was also preceded in death by her sister, Rose Rosse; and brothers, Fredrick K. Sprinkel and Francis Murphy Sprinkel.

Margaret was deaf since childhood and was educated at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind in Staunton, Va.  Margaret had a career in photographic retouching and worked until retirement at Dementi Forster Studio, Richmond, Va.

Margaret enjoyed her membership in the Fraternal Order of the Deaf and participated in many of their social events and national meetings.  Margaret also traveled extensively.

Surviving family are her nieces, Mary Jane Sprinkel Stout of State College, Pa., Dorothy Boschen, of Doswell, Va., and Peggi Broughton, of Waco, Texas; and nephews, F. Murphy Sprinkel Jr., of Glen Allen, Va., and Frederick Rosse, of Boyerstown, Pa.  Margaret also leaves her dear friends, Ron Phaup and A.G. Rice, of Panama City, Fla.

A graveside service and burial will be at noon on Monday, March 6 at Forest Lawn Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to Commonwealth Catholic Charities Services for the Deaf, 1512 Willow Lawn Drive, P.O. Box 6565, Richmond, Va. 23230-0565.

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 3/4/2006 - 3/5/2006.




Marshall N. Butler, 92

Marshall Newlin Butler, 92, of Winchester, died Friday, Sept. 23, 2005, in a local nursing home.

Mr. Butler was born January 21, 1913, in Brunswick, Md., the son of George Addison Butler and Rosa Grace Newlin Butler.

He was a line type operator with the Winchester Star and the Washington Post, retiring in 1973.  He was a member of the Winchester Deaf Fellowship and the Winchester Deaf Club.

He married Mildred Alleene Moorehead Butler on April 28, 1938, in Winchester. She died April 19, 2004.

Surviving are a daughter, Martha Grace Butler of Winchester; a brother, Lee Butler of Georgia; and a granddaughter.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.  Memorials may be made to Blue Ridge Hospice, 333 West Cork St., Winchester 22601.  Jones Funeral Home, Winchester, is in charge of arrangements.



George "Wayne" Heppert, 60

George W. "Wayne" Heppert, 60, of Richmond, died Monday, July 18, 2005.  He went to his heavenly home where he was preceded in death by his mother and father, Dorothy and George Heppert.

He is survived by a devoted and special sister, Marilyn R. Neighbors; his wife, Kimberly Heppert; one brother, Wade "Oggie" Heppert; three children, Janitha, Joshua and Abby; three granddaughters, Janequa, Jamira, and Jakiria; nephew, Daniel K. Neighbors of Richmond; niece, Marlo Neighbors Tucker of Richmond; nephew, Daniel W. Heppert of Glen Allen; great-nephews, Dillon and Dustin Tucker and Nick Neighbors; and great-niece, Arden Neighbors.

Mr. Heppert worked at Thalhimer's Department Store for 28 years.  He also worked for Manchester Paper and at Tyson Chicken. He loved sports, especially the Redskins, Richard Petty and Dale Jarrett, and achieved All-Metro and Hall of Fame while a student at V.S.D.B. at Staunton, Va.  He will be missed by his family and friends.

The family will receive friends beginning at 11 a.m. Friday, July 22, at the Nelsen Funeral Home, 4650 S. Laburnum Ave., followed by graveside services at 1 p.m. Friday at Washington Memorial Park.



  Mary Elizabeth Kiser

Mary Elizabeth Kiser, 89

STAUNTON — Mary Elizabeth Kiser died Friday (Dec. 16, 2005) at her home.

She was born Nov. 29, 1916, at Covington, to Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Fridley. She and her husband served as dormitory supervisors at Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, and she worked as a teacher's aide for the school.

Mrs. Kiser was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, Raymond Fridley Jr. and James Fridley.  Survivors include her husband, Ralph Kiser; two sons, Charles and Jim Kiser of Staunton; a sister, Teresa Hill of Newport News; and two brothers, Bernard Fridley of Seaford, Delaware, and Joe Fridley of Fountain, Colorado.

Services will be at 12:30 p.m. Monday at Hamrick Funeral Home.  Burial will be at Oak Lawn Mausoleums and Memory Gardens.  Visitation will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.

Originally published December 16, 2005.




Mildred B. Balfour, 89

Mildred B. Balfour, beloved wife of Louis Balfour, passed away on Monday, February 23, 2004.  The funeral was held at Capital Baptist Church, 3504 Gallows Road, Annandale, VA, on Friday, February 27.  The viewing was from 10:00 to11:00 a.m., and the funeral was at 11:00 a.m.   The luncheon was at 12:00 noon in the Church Gymnasium.  The burial followed afterwards at Mt. Comfort Cemetery, Alexandria, VA.



William C. Brizendine

William C. Brizendine of Silver Spring, MD, passed away on Thursday, May 6, 2004.  Beloved husband of Isabella and the late Dorothy S. Brizendine; father of Brian and Bruce Brizendine; grandfather of Brooks, Fallon, and Adam; brother of Bernice Morris, Kitty Black, and the late Morris Brizendine and Ernestine Hillis.  Relatives and friends may call at Collins Funeral Home, 500 University Blvd., West, Silver Spring, MD, Monday, 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m., where service will be held on Tuesday, May 11, at 1 p.m.  Interment Gate of Heaven Cemetery.  Memorial contributions may be made to Montgomery Hospice-Casey House, 6001 Muncaster Mill Road, Rockville, MD 20855.



Edna H. Crow, 89

Edna Laurie (Hurt) Crow, of 1433 Dennison Ave., died Friday, January 16, 2004, at Rockingham Memorial Hospital. She was born April 24, 1914, at Doddridge, Ark., to Edward E. and Lola Belle (Atchison) Hurt. Mrs. Crow was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur Daniel Crow. Survivors include a daughter, Alice Belle Frick of Staunton. Services will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Henry Funeral Home. Burial will be at 11 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 24, 2004) at Roselawn Cemetery, Little Rock, Ark. Visitation will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.



Eugene Charles Hughes, 69

Eugene Charles Hughes, 69, Olathe, KS, passed away Sunday, January 11, 2004, at home.  Memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 16, at First Baptist Church of Olathe, 2024 E. 151st St., Olathe, KS.  Memorial contributions may be made to OMC Hospice or Deaf Program in First Baptist Church of Olathe in lieu of flowers.

Eugene was born Aug. 13, 1934, in Piedmont, MO.  He graduated from Missouri School for the Deaf in 1954.  There he fell in love with Melba, his wife of almost 50 years.  He was ordained as a pastor in 1980 in Virginia.  His last devotion serving God on the earth was as a pastor for the deaf program in First Baptist Church of Olathe for six years.  Before this, he was the founder and pastor of the Deaf Missionary Program in West Hampton, VA.  He also worked in numerous fields as a teacher of the deaf and owner of dry cleaning businesses in Virginia and Missouri.  Eugene was very devoted in his work serving the Lord.  He touched so many hearts in many places.  He talked about the Lord to many strangers on a daily basis.

Survivors include his wife, Melba of the home; daughter and son-in-law, Bonnie and Lee Kramer of Ijamsville, MD; daughter and son-in-law, Patty Hughes and Mike Culligan of Valencia, CA; daughter Mary Hughes of Lenexa, KS; son and daughter-in-law, Billy and Rena Hughes of Boyds, MD; grandchildren, Ethan, Jena and Dalton Kramer, Jake and Iris Culligan, Paul and Shana Daniels and Calvin Hughes; brothers, Ronald and Norman Hughes; sister, Debbie Strickland; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Arrangements will be handled by McGilley & Frye Funeral Home, Olathe, (913) 782-0582.



L. Sherman Harper, 54

L. Sherman Harper died Friday (December 3, 2004) at Valley Baptist Medical Center.

He was born June 11, 1950 in Bedford, Va.  He was preceded in death by his father, Robert Sherman Harper of Brownsville.  He is survived by his mother, Elizabeth Howell Harper of Brownsville; a brother, Thomas LeRoy Harper of Bedford, Va.; and a sister, Helen Harper-Rebok of Brownsville.

Services will be 2 p.m. Tuesday at Tharp Funeral Chapel in Bedford, Va.  Burial will be in the Peaks Community Cemetery in Bedford County, Va.  Visitation will be from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.

See the obituary printed in the Staunton News Leader



Howard "Rocky" Stone, 79

Howard "Rocky" Stone, 79, a retired Central Intelligence Agency officer and an advocate of the hard of hearing, who, early in his career, helped foment the 1953 coup that restored the shah of Iran to his throne, died August 13, 2004, at Washington Hospital Center.  He had adult respiratory distress syndrome.

Mr. Stone suffered profound hearing loss during Army basic training in 1944.  More than five decades later, he founded Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH), which grew to international stature.  Despite his diminished hearing, Mr. Stone always seemed to be where the action was during his 25-year career as a spy.  In addition to his posting in Iran, he was in Pakistan, Vietnam and Nepal, often during times of tension and invariably of intrigue.  Based at CIA headquarters, he was chief of operations of the Soviet bloc division from 1968 to 1971.

Mr. Stone was born in Cincinnati and grew up during the Depression.  He earned his nickname from his father, an amateur boxer called "The Rock," and from his own scrappy nature.  To help support his mother and two sisters, he ran a corner newsstand as a boy and, at 14, was managing the busiest dairy bar in Cincinnati.  During World War II, his military service ended prematurely when he lost much of his hearing from being around explosions in training exercises.

He retired in 1975, after falling down a flight of stairs while chief of mission in Rome and losing what remained of his hearing.

He received the CIA's highest honor, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.

In 1979, he incorporated SHHH as a nonprofit organization and set up his office in the basement of his Bethesda home.  He hoped to inform the hard of hearing and their families about hearing devices and inspire them to deal with their deafness as "simply one more life crisis."  In 1994, he lost his sight to macular degeneration.  He had a cochlear implant that same year, which he deemed a success.  Although he was blind, he could hear well enough to communicate with his family again and to continue working on behalf of others with hearing loss.

Mr. Stone is survived by his wife of 53 years, Alice Marie "Ahme" Stone of Bethesda; four children, Joelen Stone Frank of Rockville, Michael H. Stone of White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Howard E. Stone of Bethesda and Melanie Stone Hogan of Lakewood, Ohio; two sisters, Helen "Teddie" Spies of Silver Spring and Mary Meyer of Chicago; and 10 grandchildren.



Ruth Tester, 67

Ruth Tester, 2003 Deaf Mother of the Year, passed away on Sunday, March 7, 2004, at the Arlington Hospice Center.

Survivors include her husband, Paul of home, son Dave and his wife Janis of Indiana, and daughter Gina, also of Indiana.  Ruth has three grandchildren, all in Indiana.

Her late father, Rhulin, was the first deaf pilot to fly coast to coast in 1947.  Her mother, Gladys, is 96 and lives with the Tester family.


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