Howard Arthur Thacker, Jr, 79 of Forest, Virginia passed away on May 31, 2023 after a brief illness. Howard was born to Hattie Shumaker Thacker and Howard Arthur Thacker from Madison Heights, Virginia in 1943. He lived with his parents and his younger sister in Amherst Virginia in his youth. Howard graduated from Amherst High School and went on to Danville Technical School to study. He would work from a young age when he wasn’t messing around with his hod rod and would learn many skills that led to a passion for building houses. Building the home he lived in for more than 30 years with his wife gave him great pleasure. He played basketball in high school, and this would become a lifelong love of his. Howard was known as a real character with his practical jokes, at times inappropriate humor and for the infectious if not mischievous smile he wore. Jimmy Buffet, Jim Beam, and the occasional Margarita were acquaintances of his. Howard was drawn to the ocean which led him to become a master scuba diver and meet Curtis who would become his best friend. The pair dove with sharks, manatees and explored shipwrecks from the quarry in North Carolina to the Bahamas always keeping the other safe and creating a little mischief along the way. Howard was a loyal husband, father, brother, and friend. He was known for his strong will, determination, and commitment to the people in his life and in the way he approached his life. He faced many challenges and met them with determination and often irritability but most of all an amazing resilience and strength. He was a good man. Howard is preceded in death by his parents, Hattie Shumaker Thacker and Howard Arthur Thacker Sr as well as many pets all of whom he loved with all his heart. Howard leaves behind his wife of 32 years, Sherri Walker-Thacker and their two dogs, Max and Trouble of Forest, Virginia. His daughter, Tara Thacker Hallett and his grand dog, Zoey of North Carolina whom he was so proud of; his loving sister, Judy Thacker Wade who always looked out for her older brother, brother-in-law, Rodger A. Wade who was so kind to help with doctor appointment transport and home projects of Forest, Virginia; and his longtime dear friend, Curtis Daily who would do anything for Howard of Madison Heights, Virginia. In lieu of flowers: Donations can be made to Forest Volunteer Fire Department who helped Howard up when he fell many times and the Lynchburg Humane Society as Howard had a great love for animals. No services are planned currently. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Julie Marianne Brunner Manck, 93, of Thaxton, VA formerly of Bronx, N.Y. and Baldwin, Long Island, N.Y. passed away on Tuesday, May 30, 2023. She is a first generation American since her mother was German. She was born on October 28, 1929 in Manhattan, N.Y., the only child of the late Julie Binder and Otto Brunner and lived in the Bronx, N.Y. for 21 years. She graduated from Walton High School, then worked for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company for nearly six years until her marriage to Edward Manck for 61 years, who is preceded her in death on November 30, 2012. She also worked for the school district in Baldwin, Long Island, N.Y. for 16 years until she retired at age 65. She and Ed first lived in Stuyvesanttown, N. Y. for nearly six years, had their three children there, then lived in Baldwin, Long Island for 33 years, before moving to Bedford, VA for 28 years. She is survived by her children, Richard E. Manck, Kenneth W. Manck and wife Christine, Nancy J. Kartowski and husband Robert, four beloved grandchildren, Rebecca J. Cullop and husband Geoffrey, Christian E. Manck and wife Angel, Matthew Z. Kartowski and Nicole L. Kartowski; one great-granddaughter, Arabella Rose Cullop; cousins, Lucille De Vane (deceased) and husband Bill, Roman Binder and wife Elsbeth and their two sons, Matthias and Achim Binder of Goppingen, Germany and Walter Ohlrogge also of Goppingen, Germany; and nieces, Joan Canto, Jane Colgan and husband Ed. She belonged to Thaxton Baptist Church for many years and loved the Lord and her wonderful family. In Baldwin, Long Island, N.Y. she belonged to PTA, Homemaker’s Council, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and 4-H. She also loved working in her garden, loved animals; especially cats and dogs, she loved crafts and handwork; crocheting, knitting, embroidery, etc. and she loved to sing. She sang in the Bethlehem Lutheran Church choir in Baldwin, Long Island, N.Y, Thaxton Baptist Church choir for nine years and with the Silver Notes; a singing group in Thaxton, VA.  A funeral service will be held at 3:00 p.m., on Sunday, June 4, 2023 at Thaxton Baptist Church with Rev. Ethan Strickler and Rev. Randy Krantz officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service.  Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Ray Henderson Nichols, Sr., 86, of Huddleston, passed away on Saturday, May 27, 2023. He was born in Bedford, VA on May 30, 1936 a son of the late Dewey William Nichols and Virginia Crouch Nichols. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, William Hayden Nichols and Barry Wayne Nichols.  Ray proudly served his country in the United States Army and his greatest job was being a husband, father, and grandfather.  He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Glynda Louise Hudson Nichols; children, Ray H. Nichols, Jr. (Vicky), Deborah Lyn (Tom), Timothy W. Nichols, Todd Nichols (T.C.); twelve grandchildren; and thirty great-grandchildren.  A funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m., on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 at Bethlehem Baptist Church, 17440 Wyatts Way, Evington, VA with Rev. Charles Williams officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Military honors will be presented by American Legion Board-Canady Post 54. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service beginning at 1:00 p.m.  Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

William Alvin Kernan, 94, of Bedford, Virginia, passed away on Thursday, May 25, 2023. He was born December 27, 1928 in Bridgeton, New Jersey to Ethelyn Dolson Kiernan Wright and George O. Kiernan Sr.  He was a very proud member of the U.S. Navy, and served with pride on the destroyer USS English for four years from 1953-1957 in fire control. He was a member of the American Legion Post 54 of Bedford, Virginia, and Brearley Lodge No. 2, F&AM in Bridgeton, New Jersey since 1964. He was also an active member of Main Street United Methodist Church in Bedford, Virginia. After returning from service, Bill moved to Elmer, New Jersey to be closer to family. It was there he met his wife, Joan Heritage, and the two have been married for 63 years. They had two daughters, Cathleen Sue and Cheryl Lynn. He was Plant Superintendent at Price Bros. printing company in Bridgeton, New Jersey. When Price Bros. liquidated, Bill was hired by Piedmont Label in Bedford, Virginia, where he brought many contacts and years of experience. Bill was definitely a people person, and was well respected and loved by all he knew. He never met a stranger, and was an active member of numerous organizations throughout his life. He was a long-time member of a Barbershop Chorus, and sang in concerts and competitions with them. This was a fun part of his life. He also enjoyed watching sports, especially basketball and baseball. He played basketball during his youth, and was a member of the local City League. He also coached little league baseball in Elmer, and loved to recall how they played. Bill also volunteered at the National D-Day Memorial giving tours, and helped at Agency on Aging delivering meals to those who needed them. He was very proud of all of these adventures. Bill was predeceased by his parents, his sister Dolores Hemsley, and one daughter, Cathleen Sue Kernan. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Helen Joan Heritage Kernan; one daughter, Cheryl L. Fowler and husband Bradley A. Fowler of Bedford; three granddaughters, Hannah C. Hester and her husband, Jeremiah of Bedford, Emilie N. Fowler and fiancé, Timothy Andrews of Harrisonburg, and Rachel E. Fowler of Bedford; one brother, George O. Kernan Jr. of Vineland, NJ; one sister, Beverly Norbeth of New Jersey; and many nieces and nephews.  A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 a.m., on Saturday, June 3, 2023 at Main Street United Methodist Church, with Rev. Dawn Compton and Rev. Jack Davis officiating. Military honors will be presented by American Legion Board-Canady Post 54. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service beginning at 10:00 a.m.  Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-736.


Victor Charles Gnos, 47, died on Tuesday, May 23,2023 at his home peacefully in Bedford, Virginia. He lived in Pleasantville N.Y. most of his life and moved to Bedford, VA in 2004. He was born in Mt. Kisco N.Y. on July 10, 1975 to Victor A. Gnos and Aileen (Lee) Gnos. He loved nature, animals, hiking, camping, and he even had spiders as pets. He loved walking, but recently found joy in riding his moped everywhere! In addition to his parents, he leaves behind a brother, Joseph; sister, Tina Brown; and two nieces. No services will be held. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Betty Ramsey Padgett Jenkins, 86, of Bedford, passed away on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. She was born on April 5, 1937 a daughter of the late Lewis Ramsey and Erma Bryan Ramsey. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her first husband, Gerald Wesley Padgett; her second husband, Calvin Lee Jenkins; grandson, Aaron Ashley Padgett; brother, Cecil Ramsey; and sister, Jeanne Duff. She is survived by her son, Brent Padgett and wife Brenda; grandsons, Trey Wesley Padgett, Jordon Lee Padgett; sister, Nancy Terry and husband Bobby; nephew, Bryan Terry; brother-in-law, Richard Duff; and cousin, John Marks. A funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m., on Tuesday, May 30, 2023 at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut St. Bedford, with Rev. Rev. Rick Rasberry officiating. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Rebecca Ann Howell McCauley, 96 years “antiqued”, passed away peacefully, Sunday, May 21, 2023, at Noah’s Landing, where she resided for the past year and a half with constant care and abiding love for which we will forever be grateful. She was born on October 22, 1926, to the late Nickodemus Thurmond Howell, Sr. and Emma Odella “Della” Ore Mitchell Howell. As a country girl who lost her father when she was young, she rallied on with “Nanny” tackling the hogs, chickens and continuing her education at Phillips Business College, retiring after 43 years of service to the Bedford County Department of Social Services. She was preceded in death by her husband, James Samuel “Jim” McCauley, Jr.; her son, Stephen Lewis McCauley, and her brother, Nick T. Howell, Jr. She leaves to cherish her memory of Granny Bread, Sand Tarts and Chocolate Chess Pies, with love, her son, John Austin McCauley (Trish), daughters, Ann James McCauley ( and husband, Tom Meyer) and Mary Rebecca Wilkerson (Mike), grandsons, Samuel Austin McCauley (Callie); Jason Ray McCauley (Sarah); granddaughters, Clair W. Morck (Wes) and Stevie Ann Roberson (Ryan), and great granddaughters, Caroline James and Rebecca Kathryn “Kate” Morck and Peyton Elsie Roberson. A graveside service will be held in her honor on Friday, May 26, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. in Oakwood Cemetery, Bedford with Pastor Danny Holdren officiating. In lieu of flowers and/or food, please donate to your favorite charity or give someone you love a hug while you still can. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford.


Francis Otey Overstreet, 78, of Staunton, passed away on Sunday, May 14, 2023. He was born in Bedford, VA on April 6, 1945 a son of the late Claudie Eugene Overstreet and Helen Andrews Overstreet. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Sue Overstreet; brothers, Johnny Overstreet, Tommy Overstreet, Wayne Overstreet, Frank Overstreet; sister, Mary Lee Witherspoon; and nephew, Paul Johnson. He was a parking attendant for the Washington Redskins. He is survived by his brother, Robert Overstreet of Bedford; sisters, Frances Johnson of Bedford, Shirley Godfrey of Ohio, Marjorie Frazier (Walter) of WV; special friend, Gloria and many nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at a later date. The family would like to thank Staunton Post Acute & Rehabilitation; Gentiva Hospice for their care of Francis and also thank you to Melvin Brown for all of his help. Memorials may be made to Bedford Humane Society. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Michael Ray Willis, 60, of Bedford, passed away on Wednesday, May 10, 2023. He was born in Bedford, VA on July 10, 1962 a son of the late Willie Ray Willis and Martha Lawson Willis. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister-in-law, Sabrina Willis. He was a tractor trailer driver and was a big jokester. Michael enjoyed riding motorcycles, loved airplanes, he loved to cook, and was an avid Alabama Crimson Tide football fan. He will be missed by all who knew him. Michael is survived by his wife of 38 years, Renay Willis; brothers, Paul “Toby” Willis and wife Brenda, Kevin Willis, Jason Willis and wife Kathryn; nieces, Savannah Willis, Hannah Willis; nephews, Benjamin Willis, Bradley Willis; and father-in-law, Billy Jean St. Clair. A memorial service will be held at 7:30 p.m., on Monday, May 15, 2023 at Bedford Baptist Church with Rev. Michael Khol. Family will receive friends from 6:00 – 7:30 prior to the service. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Floyd Henley Bryant, Jr. passed away on Friday, May 5, 2023 at his home in Huddleston, VA. He was born in Fieldale, VA to the late Floyd Henley Bryant, Sr. and Sis Louise Barrow Bryant. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Tracy Bryant Hylton. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Dana Scott Bryant; his son, Chris Bryant; granddaughter, Jade Hylton and grandson, Camden Bryant; both of whom he loved dearly. He is also survived by his sisters, Catherine Warrick and Judy Roach of Fieldale, VA, Janice Joyce of Stuart, VA; and son-in-law, Greg Hylton. Floyd was a member of Morgans Baptist Church. He was an avid golfer of 60 years and enjoyed playing at and was a member at Mariners Landing Golf ad Country Club in Huddleston, where he resided. He was a great husband, dad, grandpa, and friend to all who knew him. He will be greatly missed. Per his wishes there will be no services. Special thank you to Brandon Cox M.D. at Centra Village in Moneta, VA and Amedisys Hospice for their care. Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s association online at or by phone 1-800-272-3900 or by mail to Donor Services, 225 N. Michigan Ave 17th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.