John Francis Finnegan, Jr., 75, of Huddleston, died Sunday, May 12, 2019. He was born in Miami, FL on December 6, 1943 a son of the late Dr. John F. Finnegan, Sr. and Anna McDonough Finnegan. In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by a sister, Anne Marie Favo, brother-in-law, William Wilson and nephew, John “Tommy” Rice. John grew up in Washington, DC where he attended St. John’s College High School. During 1961-1965 he attended Providence College, Providence, RI earning a Bachelor of Arts degree. He also earned a Juris Doctor from the Catholic University School of Law during 1965-1968. John worked for Razor & Ortman Law Firm (1967-1968); Law Clerk, Judge McIntyre (1968-1970); and he was admitted to the Bar in 1970 where he then worked as Assistant United States Attorney with the US Department of Justice in Washington, DC specializing in Criminal Law (1970-1999). He retired from the Federal Government in 1999 and moved to his dream home at Smith Mountain Lake in 2001. John enjoyed traveling, boating, skiing, golf and was an avid watch collector. He volunteered with Tuesday Men’s Group and was an usher at Resurrection Catholic Church. John is survived by his wife of 53 years, Caroline T. Judge Finnegan; his children, John F. Finnegan III and wife Sharon, Colleen M. O’Neal and husband Charles W., Maureen A. Brake and husband Richard, Timothy C. Finnegan and wife Misty; eleven grandchildren, Seamus, Brennan, Fionn, Emma, Caroline, Hayden, Alexis, Ashley, Amanda, Samantha, Jake; sisters, Mary Frances Wilson, Helen Eustace and husband John; and seventeen nieces and nephews. A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated on Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 2:00 p.m., at Resurrection Catholic Church, 15353 Moneta Rd. Moneta, VA 24121 with Father Salvador Añonuevo celebrating. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service beginning at 1:00 p.m. Following the service, a reception will be held at Bethlehem United Methodist Church, 13586 Old Moneta Road, Moneta, VA. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Resurrection Catholic Church or to Harmony Animal Rescue ( Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.   


Mary Arthur Grubbs, 74, of Lynchburg, died Friday, May 10, 2019. A visitation will be held 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Thursday, May 16, 2019 at Christian Chapel Church, 2347 Holiday Street, Lynchburg, VA. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.



William Tinsley Hill Sr, 80, passed away peacefully on Friday, May 10, 2019, at Lynchburg General Hospital. Tinsley was born September 30, 1938 to William “Knight” Hill and Estelle Burford Hill. He was a truck driver for most of his life and was known by his CB handle, Crook. Tinsley is survived by his wife, Kitty Witt Hill, two children Lisa Hill and David Hill, along with four grandchildren, Kaiti, Landen, Connor, and Rosaleigh. He was preceded in death by his son William Tinsley Hill II, a daughter Callie R Hill, and his parents, Knight and Estelle. A service will be handled by his children—details will follow. Contact Lisa or David Hill. Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360, is assisting the family.


Janet DeWitt Brooks Morris, age 80, lived courageously with cancer for the last two years of her life. She remained at home, surrounded by family, until she received her ultimate healing on 5/10/2019, going home to GLORY. Born in Bedford, she was the daughter of the late Joseph and Josephine DeWitt of the Kelso community. She was fortunate to have had two loves in her life, the late Carl Brooks Jr. and the late Lenneau Morris. Born into a musical family, she was said to have hummed melodies before she talked. She was discovered singing harmony with her cousin Mary Frances and friend Patsy, by a teacher in grade school, leading them to become the “Liberty Academy Trio”. She went on to sing with “the Four Cousins” (with sister Betty and cousins Joy May & Mary Frances), where their claim to fame was winning a contest against the now “Statler Brothers.” Other musical highlights of her young life, included recording an album, singing in various talent and radio shows, performing on the ‘Ted Mack TV show’ and meeting her first husband “Brooks”. Although raised in the church, it wasn’t until she was married with children, that she realized her need for a Savior. She surrendered her life to Jesus Christ in her late 20’s and became a faithful follower of His Word. She continued using her musical talents for God’s glory, serving as pianist at Salem UMC where she was a life member. Her music ministry involved various groups of friends and family. She was a known prayer warrior, battling for the souls and needs of her family, friends, community and nation. Her parting message for all is, “Don’t miss heaven! & Put Christ FIRST” – Romans 10:9 (NIV). If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.She will be sadly missed by her surviving family; Sister- Betty DeWitt Adamany and John of Rockford IL. and Brother – Jerry DeWitt & Heidi of Lynchstation, children Terry& Wanda Brooks of Lynchburg, Vivian Wilkerson, Steve & Susan Brooks, Karyn & Mario Rutoskey, Jr. all of Bedford and Joselyn Jill & Billy Busch, Jr of Forest. Her grand and great grandchildren; Jessica Brooks Richmond and Larry, children-Sydney & Laney; Laura Brooks Dawson and Jake, children-Emma, Julian & Christian, Aron Busch Hackworth and Brad, son- Jacob; Jerod Brooks and Tracy, children- Zachary & Reese; Billie Jo (Josie) Busch Davis and Josh, children – Jeremiah, Jackson & Jessa; Carly Brooks Kazanoglu and Anil, daughter – Vera; Monica Wilkerson Murden and Brian, daughters – Layla, Madison & Natalie; Amanda Busch Dobyns and Josh, sons- Owen & Paxton; Joel Wilkerson, and Kaitlyn Brooks Tomkinson, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. A funeral service will be held 12:00 Noon, Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at Salem United Methodist Church, 3717 Forbes Mill Road Bedford. A burial will follow in Suck Spring Cemetery. The family will receive friends 6:00-8:00 p.m., Monday, at Salem United Methodist Church. The family wishes to thank Gentle Shepherd Hospice for making it possible for Janet to remain at home during her last days. A special thank you to her nurses Emily, Donna & Bree for their loving care. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Campus Crusade for Christ @ or Gentle Shepherd Hospice. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.


Stanley Yates Merritt, 92, of Bedford, VA and Baltimore, MD, died on Wednesday, May 8th in Baltimore. During his life he was a much-loved son, brother, husband, father, and colleague, and a friend to many. He was a Bedford orchardist and a distinguished electrical engineer, inventor, and patent-holder, having worked in the engineering departments of such firms as Alcoa, General Dynamics, General Electric, Union Camp, and International Paper. After retiring from International Paper, he formed a family corporation and consulted for government and corporate entities. He served the electrical engineering profession to the end of his life, most recently with Highground Services. Born in 1926 on the family farm in Lebanon, TN, Stanley was the older son of Dixon L. Merritt and Ruth E. Yates. He attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, earning B.S and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering. He served 42 years in the active Naval Reserve, being part of the initial setup of the Naval Reserve unit in Knoxville. When the call came for watch standing junior officers to volunteer to commission a new Essex class aircraft carrier, he was there and the commissioning day (Oct. 25, 1950) engineering log of the USS Oriskany (CV 34) shows him as the Electrical Division Officer. He advanced through the management ranks of Naval Reserve Training centers wherever his civilian employment took him until completing his term as Commanding Officer at the Knoxville Naval Training Center. While stationed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and working on commissioning the USS Oriskany in October 1950, he married Ann Arlen Anderson of Bedford. They were devoted to one another in marriage, and in family life with their son and two daughters, for 52 years until her sudden death in 2002. They lived in Knoxville, Ft. Worth, TX, Waynesboro, VA, Franklin, VA, and Bedford. In 2006 he married a high school classmate, Charlene Finley Gill. They lived in Lebanon and traveled the country for both recreation and his professional activity. They enjoyed quilting and created hand-crafted quilts together until her death in 2018. Stanley is survived by his brother Robert & wife Linda of Chanute, KS, daughter Meredith & husband Don of Charlotte, son Robert of Roanoke, daughter Maria & husband Stuart of Baltimore, step-children Edna Lee, Ron, and Carolyn and their spouses, children, and grandchildren, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. The family is deeply grateful to Karrisa Whitaker and to everyone involved in Stanley’s care at Brookdale Towson and Gilchrist Center Towson in Maryland for their love and generous support, and to Stanley’s great-niece Marty Watkin for her love and tremendous support in the last days of his life. Stanley’s funeral service will be held at 2:00 P.M., Wednesday, May 15th, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Bedford. Interment will be at Greenwood Cemetery, Bedford, next to Ann Arlen Merritt’s grave. Visitation is on Tuesday, May 14th from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the Walnut Street Chapel of the Burch-Messier Funeral Home. Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Community Concerts at Second, 4200 St. Paul St., Baltimore, MD 21218 (or Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.



Barbara “Bobbie” Ann Noel Hensley of Big Island, 85, stepped from this life into Glory on May 3, 2019 at The Carrington in Lynchburg. She was born on August 12, 1933, a daughter of the late John Noel and Bertha Pauline Goff Tolley. In addition to her parents, Bobbie was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph Howard Hensley; sons, Dale Hensley, Dwayne Hensley, and Doyle Hensley; brothers, Wesley Goff, Jesse Goff, Eugene “Pete” Goff and Junior Noel; and one sister, Clara Dean Goff. She is survived by a beloved sister, Erma Whorley, as well as four sons, Darrell (Susan) Hensley, Delbert Hensley (Angie), David Hensley (Donna), Durwood Hensley (Carol); one daughter-in-law, Brenda Markham Hensley Crance (Danny); and one daughter, Dawn Hensley Fisher (Steve). She leaves behind twenty grandchildren and forty great-grandchildren whom she loved dearly and was loved by them. Many nieces, nephews, and cousins will miss her presence in their lives. Memories of Maw-Maw and her eyes lighting up when a child entered the room will sustain us during this time. Bobbie graduated from M.E. Marcuse High School. She attended Hunting Creek Baptist Church from the time she was 2 years old and accepted Christ as her Savior there. Her service in years past along with her generosity to Missions and other work in the church will be long remembered along with the “dollar bills” she gave to children everywhere. Conversing with Bobbie would often end with a discussion of how many children and grandchildren she had and with how many years she had driven a school bus for Bedford County—31 and no accidents! Her love for the children she carried on the bus was evident; many would come and hug her as adults. It broke her heart when she had to give up driving the bus and her habit of rising at 4 AM to clean the house before her route and then going to bed by 8 PM was one she kept. Faithful in Bible study, prayer for the sick and hurting, in attendance to Hunting Creek Baptist Church, and to her Savior, Bobbie would often witness when she was carrying on a conversation. God was merciful in taking her Home before she lost the memory of her love for Him to Dementia. Today, we are confident and take comfort in this verse, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24, NIV) A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Monday, May 6, 2019 at Hunting Creek Baptist Church with Rev. Kenneth Bledsoe and Dr. Benjamin R. Owen officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Following the service, a meal will be served in the church fellowship hall and everyone is encouraged to bring a covered dish to the church. Family will receive friends 5:00 – 7:00 P.M., Sunday, at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut St., Bedford. The family would like to thank all who sent cards, offered prayers, and visited over the past months. Bobbie loved people, never met a stranger, and kept a tally (with a grin) of cards and visits. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Hunting Creek Baptist Church, the Big Island Emergency Crew or the Big Island Fire Department. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.