Ronnie Clair Rice, 86, of Bedford, passed away Saturday, March 27, 2021. He was born in Big Island, VA on August 22, 1934, a son of the late Eric Clair Rice and Ethel Brown Rice. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his son, Eric Coleman Rice; and his sister, Jeanette Eubank. Ronnie was retired from Ericsson after 38 years of service. He was a member of Bedford Baptist Church and also a member of the Bedford City Council for 12 years, Bedford Breakfast Lions Club, and a lifetime member of Bedford Moose Lodge #1897. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Barbara C. Rice; daughter, Suzanne R. Roberts and husband Donald; sons, Ronald Lee Rice and wife Jan, Terry Rice; grandchildren, Thomas Rice, Cory Nichols, Ryan Nichols, Madeline Rice, Christopher Rice, Kayla Rice, and Caden Rice; daughter-in-law, Dawn Rice; and several nieces and nephews. A funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at Bedford Baptist Church, with Rev. Phil Bailey and Dr. Benjamin Owens officiating. Family will receive friends 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, at Bedford Baptist Church. In lieu of flowers the family asks that you consider a donation to Bedford Baptist Church or National D-Day Memorial. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Lauren Leigh Woconish, age 35, of Forest, VA went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, March 25, 2021.  She passed away at home beside her loving husband and two crazy dogs. Lauren was born in Abington, PA on August 16, 1985 to Craig and Jane Nishiyama.  She was the younger sister of Kevin Nishiyama and Drew Nishiyama. Lauren was married to Robert Woconish on July 24, 2010 in Warrington, PA. Lauren graduated from Liberty University in 2009 with a BS in Interior Design.  She worked as an operations analyst for J.Crew for 12 years. Lauren was preceded in death by her grandparents, Eddie and Ellen Nishiyama, William and Laura Jean Hummel, and Raymond and Stella Woconish; aunts and uncles, Louise Hummel, Lynn and Jesse Corum, Stephen Nishiyama, and Greg Pendell. Lauren is survived by her husband, Robert Woconish; her parents, Craig and Jane Nishiyama; her parents-in-law, Vince and Patty Woconish; and her siblings, Kevin and Jen Nishiyam; nieces, Taylor and Sienna, Drew and Ingrid Nishiyama; nephews, Titus and Maximus, Brian and Maggie Ellis; niece/nephew, Olivia and Hunter; her grandparents, Glen and Janice Slusher; and many special aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the ALS Association of DC/MD/VA. and to Centra Hospice. I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear it and rejoice.  O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.  I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.  Psalm 34:1-4. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Richard Allen “Ricky” Fortune, 67, of Goode, died Friday, March 19, 2021.  He was preceded in death by his parents, John William Fortune and Fay Fortune. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Wayne and Ann Wright. Ricky was a retired lineman with AEP and a member of Tree of Life Ministries. Ricky is survived by his loving wife of 34 years, Patty Fortune; his son, Joey Wright and wife, Becca of Rustburg; his daughter, Danielle Fortune of Marble, NC; his brother, Toni Fortune and wife, Loretta; his sister, Sharon Callahan and husband, Jessie; three grandchildren, Sierra Cassidy, Tanner Cassidy and Gunner Woodrow Fortune Hayes; sister-in-law, Susan Scruggs and husband, Tom; many nieces and nephews including a special niece, Jessica Belcher. A funeral service will be held 11 am Tuesday at Tree of Life Ministries with Rev. Mike Dodson officiating. Burial will follow in Virginia Memorial Park. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday evening at Tree of Life Ministries. In lieu of flowers please consider Tree of Life Ministries, 2812 Greenview Dr. Lynchburg, VA 24502. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Richard Wayne Scicli, 68, of Bedford, passed away Friday, March 19, 2021. He was born in Greenwich, CT on October 14, 1952, a son of the late Louis Joseph Scicli and Mildred Simpson Scicli. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Randy Scicli (Jill). Richard proudly served his country in the United States Marine Corps. He adored his grandchildren and loved to help our older people. He also loved working on cars and enjoyed fishing, painting, and Elvis. His favorite saying was “I did it my way”. He is survived by his daughters, Trinda Gardner-Scicli of Bedford, Shannon Scicli of Sommerville, SC, Stephanie Scicli (Stephen) of Sommerville, SC; brothers, Ronnie Scicli (Wendy), Robert Scicli (Michelle), Louie Scicli (Cindy); grandchildren, Cody Windle (Amanda), Christian Windle, Sammy Windle, Giada Geisler; four great-grandchildren, Huntley Windle, Paisley Windle, Macie Staton, Alice Windle; special companion, Daisy Simmons; and special caretaker, Katy Rodney. A memorial service will be held 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut Street, Bedford, with Rev. Mike Jones officiating. Family will receive friends ½ hour before the service beginning at 10:30. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.


It is with great sadness that the family of Tonya Lynn Overstreet announces her unexpected passing on Sunday, March 21, 2021 at the age of 50. Tonya will be lovingly remembered by her mother, Vickie Dixon; stepfather, Richard Dixon; longtime boyfriend, Michael Trent; her daughter, Summer Plumb; her son, John Overstreet; and the light of her life, her granddaughter Kamilla, her “stinkpot”. She preceded in death by her father, Ronnie Overstreet (Fuzzy); and her brother, David Overstreet (Little Dave). Tonya was a kind woman who was very passionate about her family and friends. She will be deeply missed by everyone that knew her. A family night will be held 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Thursday March 25, 2021 at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut Street, Bedford VA 24523. Revelation 21:4 (KJV) “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.


Mary Frances Floyd Campbell, 85, of Bedford, passed away on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. She was born in Lynchburg, VA on September 17, 1935, a daughter of the late Raymond Russell Floyd and Janie Wood Floyd. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Ray Campbell; sons, Lawrence Campbell, Ricky Campbell; and brothers, Russell Floyd and Steve Floyd. She is survived by her sons, Ronnie Campbell and wife, Angela, Danny Campbell, Raymond Campbell; grandchildren, Ricky, Heather, Whitney, Stacy, Criste, D.J., Michael, Chris, Albert, Bonnie, Shelia, Clayton, Reba, Tiffany, Caleb, Dakota; brother, Lewis Floyd; sisters, Beulah, Dorris, Joann, Clara, Susie; and numerous great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 12:00 Noon, Saturday, March 20, 2021 at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel, 1235 Walnut Street, Bedford, with Pastor Payton Fitzgerald officiating. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service beginning at 11:00 a.m. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.


Estel Freeland Blankenship, 72, of Clarksville, TN and formally of Bedford, VA joined his wife in glory on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. He was born in Iaeger, WV on April 19, 1948, a son of the late Estel Melbourne Blankenship and Elsie Roberts Blankenship. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife Violet Louise Robinette Blankenship. Freeland was a truck driver for forty-five years. He was known in the trucking industry as “Preacher” and “Roadrunner”. He was also a lay pastor for many years. He is survived by his son, Tim Blankenship and wife, Althea; grandsons, Matthew Blankenship, Jesse (Hannah) Blankenship; and six great-grandchildren. A graveside service will be held 2:00 p.m., Sunday, March, 21, 2021 at Church of the Great Shepherd Cemetery with Pastor Homer Hensley.  Family will receive friends 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Saturday, at Burch-Messier Walnut Street Chapel. 

Jessee Freeman Ford “Paw,” 73, of Evington, Virginia, entered his heavenly home on March 16, 2021. He is survived by children, Vinson Ford (Stephanie) and Aimee Ford (Danny Fielder); stepchildren, Pete Turpin (Laura), Denny Turpin (Loretta), Missy Johnson (Robbie); grandchildren, Steven (Taylor), Jacob and Garrett Ford, Christian Turpin (Roy Blair), Thomas and Trevor Vance, PJ Powell; six great-grandchildren; and former wife, Carolyn Ford. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jessie and Hester Ford; sister, Janet Ford Smith; and grandchildren, William Dunn and Joshua Powell. Jessee drove trucks for over 40 years. He was a hard-working man who loved farm life, raising cattle and pigs, and hanging out at the stock market. He enjoyed picking fun with those he loved and never knew a stranger. A private memorial will be held at a future date. Donations will be appreciated to help cover final expenses. A Facebook Fundraiser has been created online. Burch-Messier of Bedford is assisting the family.

Brian David Raub, of Smith Mountain Lake, VA (and previously, Greenville, PA and Wynnewood, PA), passed away on March 10, 2021 after a nine-month battle with rare duodenal cancer. Brian’s unwavering strength of character, Christian faith, and moral insight drove a lifelong insistence on what’s right over what’s easy, on kindness without publicity, and on generosity toward both neighbor and stranger. Born on August 5, 1953, in Grove City, PA, Brian was the third of four sons. He was born into the adept hands of his father, Paul Lester Raub II, D.O., and to his beloved mother, Miriam Geraldine Smith Raub. Brian was a man of many marks: The “iron cradle” wrestler and nationwide top-50 wrestling senior (1971) with an almost unbeatable pin. Leader of his Greenville High School Class of 1971: Student Council President, President of the Varsity Club, and Captain of the wrestling team. A small-town kid with big-world dreams – and his pick of acceptances to Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. He chose Yale (1971-1975), where he was named Outstanding Freshmen Wrestler, Business Manager and then General Manager at Yale Banner Publications. In 1977, he graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School. In 1972, Brian married his best friend and high school sweetheart, Lisa. She also chose Yale and together, they became the university’s second-ever married undergraduate couple. Brian also became Lisa’s fiercest cheerleader, providing unwavering encouragement throughout a lifetime of academic, personal, and professional endeavors. In 1983, they welcomed their first and only child: a daughter, Erin. As children so often do, Erin became Brian’s greatest pride, deepest joy, and impetus for many future paths. (And also, clearly, the writer of this obituary.) Brian’s pursuit of work-family life balance, paired with his entrepreneurial drive, led him launch the Vacation Villa Referral Center (VVRC), a visionary vacation rental website and predecessor to, which in 2005 was sold to HomeAway/VRBO and later acquired by Expedia. In 2001, Brian and Lisa realized a dream and moved to live waterfront on Smith Mountain Lake – Brian’s final home, happy place, and ultimate resting spot. Here and together, they pursued their love of the water and of each other, while Brian developed By 2010, Brian had finally retired, successful and professionally fulfilled. In 2011, Brian embraced a new role: enthusiastic, loving, and wholly giving grandfather to Max, his half-Costa Rican grandson. Brian and Lisa adopted Costa Rica as their second home, spending many months there with their Costa Rican family and grandchild, who Brian taught about wrestling and camping, hiking and photography. In retirement, Brian pursued many interests, including genealogy and photography, hiking and coffee roasting. He took a solo 13,000-mile road trip to 22 national parks; hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail (450 miles!) and up Costa Rica’s Cerro Chirripó; and traveled through Costa Rica, Europe, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Alaska, and Canada. Husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend, visionary, wrestler, moral compass, entrepreneur, Christian, advocate, photographer, humanitarian, ally, genealogist, adventurer – not adjectives, but accolades bestowed by those who knew him best. Brian was a faithful Presbyterian who embraced Jesus Christ as his Savior. He is preceded in death by his parents, Paul Lester Raub II and Miriam Smith Raub, and two of his brothers and best friends, Dr. Jeffrey D. Raub (d. 2004) and Paul L. Raub III (d. 2017). His spirit lives on in those who survive him: wife and lifelong best friend, Annalyse Callahan Raub (Lisa), of Smith Mountain Lake, VA; daughter Erin E. Raub, her husband Fabián Cordero González, and grandson Max C. Cordero Raub, of Santa Bárbara de Heredia, Costa Rica; and beloved brother Dr. Daniel J. Raub and his wife, Linda Riley Raub, of Aurora, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to two causes near to Brian’s heart: the David H. Clelland Scholarship Fund (via the Community Foundation of Western PA) and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. When gatherings are safe to resume, family, friends, and loved ones will gather at his celebration of life service at Trinity Ecumenical Parish – Smith Mountain Lake. For now, messages of sympathy, stories, and photos may be shared on Brian’s Caring Bridge. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.

Franklin Delano Carson passed away peacefully in his home on March 6,2021 at the age of 87. Frank was born in Phenix, Virginia on January 24, 1934 to Leslie Dillard Carson and Annie Templeton Carson. He served in the US Army and was a veteran of the Korean conflict. Frank then worked at General Electric and retired after 35 years of service. Upon retirement from GE, he enjoyed working part time at Harris Teeter and Kroger. Frank is preceded in death by his wife Grace S. Carson. Frank is survived by his children, Leslie Carson Harris (Bobby Harris), Ann Carson Reinisch (Roger Reinisch), Franklin D Carson Jr. (Frances Tyree) and Mark Dale Carson; his grandchildren, Seth Harris, Carson Reinisch, Forrest Carson, and Fischer Carson; his sister, Gaile Hensley and her husband Wallace Hensley. The family of Frank wishes to thank Centra Hospice for their guidance, support and compassionate care. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Lynchburg Humane Society. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360. Our father would want his loved ones and friends to reflect on this poem as they remember him. 

               Weep not for me though I have gone

Into that gentle night

Grieve if you will, but not for long

Upon my soul’s sweet flight

I am at peace, my soul’s at rest

There is no need for tears

For with your love, I was so blessed

For all those many years

There is no pain, I suffer not

The fear is now all gone

Put now these things out of your thoughts

In your memory I live on

Please do not dwell upon my death

But celebrate my life