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Notable Charlottesville-area deaths of the past year

Richard Lynn Fraker Jr., 67, of Lake Monticello, Dec. 27, 2019. A retired major in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, he drove ambulance for the Lake Monticello Rescue Squad, winning squad awards in 2017 and 2018. He also served as a volunteer track coach for Fork Union Military Academy.

Rhonda Moore Holland, 63, of Oak Ridge Estate in Nelson County, Jan. 2, 2020. She spent 30 years restoring Oak Ridge and served as president and CEO of John C. Holland Enterprises and Hampton Roads Disposal.

Joshua James Scott, 41, of Charlottesville, Jan. 3. He was chosen by his University of Virginia classmates to live in the Augustus S. Blagden “Good Guy” Room on The Lawn. He worked for the late state Sen. Emily Couric of Charlottesville, at the UVa Center for Politics, the development office for the UVa Cancer Center and as vice president for development at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and operates Monticello.

Tom Wilson Page Jr., 62, of Roseland, Jan. 11. He wrote and drew the popular comic strip “Ziggy” after taking it over from his father in 1987.

Adam Paul DeSio, 42, of Orange County, Jan. 13. He owned and operated DeSio Studios from his home, specializing in graphic design, photography and the visual arts. He was a member of the Art First Gallery in Fredericksburg.

Rev. James William Wright Sr., 83, of Charlottesville, Jan. 17. Served as supervisor of the housekeeping department at the UVa Medical Center for 28 years and as a pastor for 49 years.

Barbara Ruth Walker Besse, 96, of Earlysville, Jan. 25. Named one of President George Bush’s 1,000 Daily Points of Light in 1991, she volunteered at Church of Our Savior, delivered food for Meals on Wheels, worked at the Emergency Food Bank, assisted with animal rescues for the Virginia Wildlife Center, cleared trails at the Ivy Creek Natural Area and volunteered with the grandparenting reading program at Jackson-Via Elementary.

Gene Corrigan, 91, of Charlottesville, Jan. 25. He began a career in college athletics in 1955 that included serving as UVa’s athletic director from 1971 to 1981 and commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference from 1987 to 1996. He also served as president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association from 1995 to 1997.

Mary Antil Lederman, 94, of Charlottesville, Jan. 25. She taught French and Spanish at Albemarle High School from 1964 to 1987 and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. In 1986, she received an award for excellence in foreign language education.

Barbara Kelly, age undetermined, of Garner, North Carolina, February. She became UVa’s first full-time female athletic staff member in 1971. She served as assistant director of intramurals and physical education and director of women’s sports, developing UVa’s first women’s varsity intercollegiate teams — field hockey, basketball and tennis. She was the university’s first women’s basketball coach and worked at UVa for 38 years.

Stephanie Anne Elisabeth Guerlain, 52, of Albemarle County, Feb. 21. She was a UVa engineering professor and researcher for 21 years in human-machine interaction and a cognitive engineer. She was also an avid horse enthusiast and award winner in dressage, hunter and jumper classes, as well as a dedicated member of the Farmington Hunt Club.

Henry J. Abraham, 98, of Albemarle County, Feb. 26. He was born in Germany and sent to the United States by his mother when she saw the rise of the Nazi party. He worked to support his parents, who came to the U.S. after being released from concentration camps after Krystallnacht. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942 and became a citizen in 1943. He served as an interrogator during World War II and translated Third Reich documents for the Allies during the Nuremburg War Crimes trials. He left the military in 1946 and used the G.I. Bill benefits to attend college. He joined the UVa faculty in government and foreign affairs in 1972 and he retired in 1997. He received the Thomas Jefferson Award from UVa and a host of other honors from university organizations and societies. He wrote 13 books and served the U.S. Department of State as a lecturer in 65 countries.

Charles “Charlie” T. Page III, age undetermined, of Batesville, March 1. He was a member of the family that owned and operated Page’s Store, now known as the Batesville Market.

Marshall R. Taylor Biddle, 75, of Media, Pennsylvania, March 2. A graduate of UVa and UVa’s law school, he was a renowned interior designer who crafted the interiors of Edgemont, a historic home in Covesville.

John F. Merchant, 87, of Greenwich, Connecticut, March 5. He was the first Black graduate of the UVa School of Law, in 1958. He was appointed to the U.S. Golf Association executive committee in 1992 and worked to integrate the professional golf circuit, served as counsel for a teenage Tiger Woods, was executive director of the National Minority Golf Foundation and was inducted into the National Black Golf Hall of Fame in 2010.

Virginia M. Lumpkin, 95, of Scottsville, March 20. She and her husband operated Lee’s Restaurant in Scottsville from 1961 until 1970, when they built Lumpkin’s Restaurant and Motel on Route 20, which they ran for years.

David Bowerman, 76, of Albemarle County, March 23. He served 10 years on Albemarle’s Planning Commission and 16 years on the county Board of Supervisors, representing the Rio District. He was a member of the county Board of Zoning Appeals up until his death.

Ida Johnson Lewis, 91, of Charlottesville, April 16. A lifelong Charlottesville resident, she was well known in the community. She worked as a school crossing guard, a deputy sheriff and a Downtown Mall ambassador and operated a business.

Jaquelin T. Robertson, 87, of East Hampton, New York, May 9. A well-respected urban architect, author and university professor who once served as a planning director in New York City and designed a new district for Tehran, Iran, under contract with the shah, he was dean of UVa’s School of Architecture in the 1980s.

Donald Davis Sandridge, 78, of Keswick, May 11. A lifelong area resident, he served for 35 years as vice president of Martha Jefferson Hospital.

Richard Gilder, 87, of Charlottesville, May 12. A well-known investor and philanthropist, the native New Yorker served as a trustee for Monticello beginning in 1994, helping to publish papers of Thomas Jefferson’s retirement years and supporting the historical landmark through donations and organizational efforts.

James “Jim” Severn Parks, 84, of Charlottesville, May 13. He headed his family’s business, Parks Finance, and served as president of the Charlottesville Lions Club, president of the Charlottesville Retail Merchants and as a member of the Albemarle County Planning Commission.

Joseph William Teague, 83, of Charlottesville, May 15. He and his family founded Teague Funeral Service. At one time or another, he led the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad, Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, the local Jaycees, the United Way of Greater Charlottesville, Kiwanis Club, The Senior Center and other nonprofits.

John Hayes, 81, of Greene County, May 19. A well-known veterinarian in Greene, he helped to found and lead in his retirement the Madison-Greene Human Society, including providing veterinarian services to the animals. He was also a founding member of the Greene County Chamber of Commerce, served as president of the county’s Lions Club and was a volunteer reader for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic in Albemarle County.

William “Bill” Marcellus Harris, 87, of Lovingston, May 31. A lifelong resident of Nelson County, he served as Nelson’s sheriff for 20 years until 1991, when he returned to his former career in logging, retiring again at age 80.

Carrol Wade Bickers, 68, of Charlottesville, June 18. He served the Charlottesville and Albemarle County school systems for more than three decades as a teacher, coach and athletic director. He was athletic director at Charlottesville High School, baseball coach at Albemarle High School and assistant athletic director at Western Albemarle High School.

Elizabeth Alexander Tice, 94, of Albemarle County, June 22. She was the descendent of Dr. Thomas Walker, who explored the Cumberland Gap and served as guardian for a young Thomas Jefferson after his father’s death and also of James Maury, who served as Jefferson’s tutor.

John Allan Bartelt, 74, of Albemarle County, June 26. A graduate of the UVa Darden School of Business, he owned Sycamore House/Studio Art Shop on West Main Street, played with the Charlottesville Municipal Band, acted with the Four County Players and ACT I and developed property along West Rio Road and near UVa.

Jane Walentas, 76, of Southampton, New York, July 5. She and husband David, successful property developers in New York City and elsewhere, gave UVa $100 million in 2019 to benefit first-generation students. David Walentas, who was a first-generation student, graduated from UVa in 1961.

Wesley Aaron Volk, 95, of Albemarle County, July 12. A World War II veteran of the South Pacific campaign, where he served as a deck officer on a tank landing ship, he spent 43 years as a professor of microbiology at UVa’s School of Medicine.

John Leonard Colley Jr., 90, of Albemarle County, July 15. He taught at UVa Darden School of Business for 50 years, living for six years in Pavilion VIII on the Lawn. A professorship at Darden bears his name.

John E. Thomasson, 98, of Louisa, July 20. He was the founder and owner of Thomasson Funeral Service.

Joseph E. Gibson, 96, of Charlottesville, Aug. 17. A World War II veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps, he served on the faculty of UVa’s McIntire School of Commerce for 48 years. He was an Albemarle County supervisor from 1967 to 1971 and helped to establish Piedmont Virginia Community College.

Alan Percy Batson, 87, of Charlottesville, Aug. 29. The “Father of Computing” at UVa, he was hired as a physics professor in 1958 and helped to found the university’s academic computer facility in the early 1960s. He later helped to develop the school’s computer science programs. He retired as a professor emeritus in 2000.

Leonard “Len” Foster Gardner, 98, of Palmyra, Aug. 30. A World War II veteran of the U.S. Navy, he served on the USS Reid and survived the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, as well as several sea battles in the Pacific Theater. He worked with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, the Navy’s Polaris Program, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Science Foundation. After retiring, he moved to Lake Monticello and published The Fluvanna Review and served as a Fluvanna supervisor as well as on local commissions.

Rodney S. Thomas, 76, of Albemarle County, Aug. 31. A lifelong area resident, he served as pressroom supervisor of The Daily Progress before starting Charlottesville Press in 1979 and operating it until its sale in 2017. He served as an Albemarle County supervisor, a planning commissioner and as a board member for the local Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA, Lions Club and Crime Stoppers.

Rev. James “Jim” C. Jetton, 89, of Scottsville, Sept. 2. He taught Latin and Bible classes at Fork Union Military Academy for many years and served on the Scottsville Town Council.

William “Bill” Walker Byers Jr., 74, of Charlottesville, Sept. 6. He taught aquatics and water safety for Charlottesville City Schools for 30 years and served as pool manager and swim instructor for the city’s parks and recreation department for 40 years. He also taught first aid, CPR, lifeguarding and water safety for the local chapter of the American Red Cross and served on its board of directors.

Violet Payne Mawyer, 97, of North Garden, Oct. 12. She owned and operated The Little Market in Batesville for 47 years, made Friendship cakes and crocheted Santa Claus outfits for friends and neighbors.

Alan S. Boyd, 98, of Seattle, Oct. 18. A World War II veteran who piloted C-47 transport aircraft, he flew paratroopers into Normandy on D-Day and supplies to besieged Americans at the Battle of the Bulge. He failed out of college but was accepted into UVa’s School of Law and went on to become the country’s first secretary of transportation and chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board.

Stuart Wallace Connock, 95, of Richmond, Dec. 6. Born in Charlottesville, he graduated from the UVa McIntire School of Commerce and worked in Virginia state government finance positions, culminating in his appointment as secretary of administration and finance, serving under Govs. Charles S. Robb and Gerald Baliles.

Ralph Harrison, 92, of Charlottesville, Dec. 15. He served on the coaching staff of the UVa football team from 1959 to 1961 and then on the coaching staff at Charlottesville’s Lane High School during the team’s 53-game winning streak. In 1965, he began as football coach at Albemarle High School, posting a 47-12-1 record with three undefeated seasons and three district titles. He also coached the school’s golf team from 1971 to 1990, including the 1974 state championship. He was a referee, umpire and official for football, basketball, baseball and lacrosse for more than 25 years at high school and college games.

W. Nathaniel Howell, 81, of Charlottesville, Dec. 17. A UVa graduate, he served with the U.S. Foreign Service in numerous posts, including in Lebanon and Egypt, and was named the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait. He was serving at the embassy in 1990 when Iraq invaded the country and tried to force the embassy to close. Surrounded by Iraqi troops, Howell, other state officials, the U.S. Marine Embassy Guards and nearly 100 others sheltered at the embassy for more than 100 days. After his retirement, he taught at UVa.

Walter Edward Faulconer, 94, of Charlottesville, Dec. 23. An Orange County native, he ran a dairy farm in the county after his service in World War II, leaving in 1966 to join his family’s Faulconer Construction Co., from which he later retired.

S. Teel Goodwin, 62, of Orange County, Dec. 30. He served on the Orange County Board of Supervisors for 13 years, many as chairman. Known for his wit and dedication to citizens, Goodwin served on numerous other boards and commissions, as well.


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