Obituaries, Week of Aug. 29, 2013: Brannan, Chenault, Cochran, Epperly, Gee, Givens, Gostomski, Martin, Ragsdale, and Zook

Wesley Brannan, Jr., 81 years old, of Elmont, passed away Sunday, Aug. 11. Wesley is retired from Bouchan Masonry. A memorial service will be held Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 at 4 p.m. at Independence Christian Church, 14023 Independence Road, Ashland.

Pearl Minter Chenault, 91, of St. Stephens Church, passed away peacefully Aug. 23, 2013. She was preceded in death by her parents, Cleveland and Nettie Minter; husband, Robert Everett Chenault; grandson, Richard Everett Chenault and brother, Cleveland Franklin Minter. She is survived by her daughter, Shirley Chenault Parker; her son, Everett Dale Chenault; her grandchildren, Robert Chenault, Joel Parker Jr. and Abigail Parker; her sisters, Louise Wilson and Virginia Richards (Chuck); and many nieces and nephews. Pearl was employed by Cokesbury Bookstore of the United Methodist Publishing House where she enjoyed a fulfilling career in publishing. A woman of great faith, Pearl was a lifelong member of Shepherds United Methodist Church, where she was youth Sunday school teacher and a member of the choir. She served her church and many leadership roles on multiple committees. As a yearly delegate to the United Methodist Conference of Virginia, Pearl proudly represented her church and its district. She was also a member of the Women’s Missionary Society (Circle) where she held various positions. Throughout her life Pearl remained committed to serving her community and helping those around her. She was active in numerous charitable organizations, such as the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. Known for her cheerful and outgoing nature, Pearl helped organize and was a charter member of the Red Hat Royals and the “Road Mollies.” Pearl was blessed with a large family and many friends who will greatly miss her and cherish her memory. She will always be remembered as a loving and devoted mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, neighbor and friend. The family received friends Monday at the Aylett Chapel of the B.W. White Funeral Home, Aylett. Services were held Tuesday at Shepherds United Methodist Church in St. Stephens Church, Va. Interment church cemetery.

Margaretha Cochran, Our dear friend passed away at her home in Ashland, Aug. 14, 2013 at 84 years strong. She was preceded in death by her husband Samuel Cochran, her sisters Rosa Wiesinger and Stefanie Pfoser, and her brothers Ernst, Franz and Hans Wiesinger. She leaves behind three sisters Anna Fabian (in Austria), Theresia Johansson and Maria Larsson (both in Sweden), numerous nephews and nieces (in Austria, Switzerland and Sweden) and many friends. Margaretha was born in 1929 in Kefermarkt, Austria (near Salzburg) to Franz Wiesinger and Anna Schulz. She immigrated to the United States with her husband Sam after their marriage in 1955. She will be remembered for her love of her animals and all critters. She was kind and generous to everyone; always extending a helping hand. We will miss her warmth, her wit, her love, and her delicious fudge that she made for everyone at Christmas. Memorial Services will be held Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013 at 10 a.m. at Nelsen Funeral Home, 412 S. Washington Highway, Ashland. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her memory to the American Cancer Society or the Richmond SPCA.

Herbert A. Epperly, 96, of Floyd, Va., joined his beloved wife Aug. 24, 2013. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary A. Epperly; daughter, Linda Joan Epperly; six sisters and four brothers. He is survived by his son, Curtis Epperly (Sheryl); two granddaughters, Shania Carpenter and Crystal Barltrop (Brian); three great-grandchildren, Chance and Drake Carpenter and Shaelyn Barltrop; and one sister, Lucille Shelor. Herbert had a deep love for music and taught himself to play many instruments. He also loved his animals on the family farm. The family received friends Monday at the Mechanicsville Chapel of the Bennett Funeral Home, where services were held Tuesday, Aug. 27. Interment Signal Hill Memorial Park.

Mary Agnes “Nee: Pruy” Gee, 67, of Ashland, entered into heaven’s gate Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013. Mary was preceded in death by her father, Adolph Pruy and his wife Ethel; mother; Mary Pittsinger; brother; William Pruy; Ruth Rhodes; and dear friend Gene Wright. She is survived by her daughter, Barbara Delphia, her husband Bruce; her brother James Pruy, his wife Karen; her nephew James Pruy, Jr., and her sister, Betty Lou Pruy. Mary was a longtime resident of Ashland and Hanover County and worked for Chartwells of Randoph-Macon College until her recent retirement. Mary was a loving and generous person. She had a great sense of humor. She never met a stranger. She was a frequent contributor to local food banks and other charitable activities. She loved animals and was especially devoted to her two cats, R.C., and Danielle. A memorial service will be held at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 at 3 p.m. Mary’s mortal remains were taken into the care of Nelsen Funeral Home of Ashland. Her spiritual remains will be scattered out to sea, as was her wish. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Mary’s name to “Summer Lunch Train” of Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 247 Ashland, VA 23005 or your local animal shelter or food bank.

Dwayne F. “Buddha” Givens, 68, of Mechanicsville, passed peacefully in his sleep Thursday morning, Aug. 22, 2013 at his home. He was preceded in death by his parents, Fred B. and Bertha N. Givens. He is survived by his wife, Nancy Givens; two sons, Michael Givens and Paul Givens (Kristin); a granddaughter, Savannah Faith Givens, born Aug. 13, 2013; brother, Fred B. Givens Jr. (Rennie); and sister, Jean Levene; and also nieces, nephews and godchildren. The family would like to thank the staff and nurses of DaVita Dialysis Mechanicsville, for all of their love and care. Mr. Givens was a Vietnam veteran, who served in the U.S. Air Force. He was a member of Beulah Presbyterian Church and retired from Piedmont/US Airways. The family received friends Friday, Aug. 23, at the Mechanicsville Chapel of Bennett Funeral Home, where services were held Saturday. Interment Forest Lawn Cemetery. In lieu of flower, donations may be made to Beulah Presbyterian Church, 7252 Beulah Church Road, Mechanicsville, VA 23111.

Annaliese Gostomski,  89, of Ashland, formally of New Britain, Conn., the widow of Joseph Gostomski, passed away Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. She is survived by her daughter, Barbara Whitaker and husband Carl Whitaker; and two grandsons, C.J. Whitaker and Thomas Whitaker. She was a member of St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Ashland. Funeral services and interment will be held in New Britain, Conn. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to your local pet rescue.

Margaret Crouch Martin,82, of Mechanicsville, went to be with the Lord Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. She was preceded in death by her husband, Noel Lee Martin, Sr.; daughter, Thelma Mae Martin; a sister and brothers. She was a retired Hanover County magistrate and marriage commissioner, an honorary member of Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Dept., and a member of Shady Grove United Methodist Church, where she served as youth choir director. She assisted her husband in operating Martin’s Service Station and was a leader in the community for many years. She is survived by her son, N.L. Martin, Jr., and his wife, Christina; daughter, Diane Martin Hufner; grandchildren, Angie Marie Parker and her husband, Steve, and Anthony Martin Urban; two great-grandchildren, Anthony Gray Urban and Kimberlynn Faye Parker; brother, Raymond Crouch; numerous nieces and nephews, and other family members and friends. The family received friends Friday at the Mechanicsville Chapel of Bennett Funeral Home, where funeral services were held Saturday. Interment followed in Shady Grove United Methodist Church Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Dept., P.O. Box 515, Mechanicsville, VA 23111.

Judith S. Ragsdale, departed this life Aug. 22, 2013 peacefully at home, surrounded by loving family. She was a state employee in Hanover County for 30 years, where she first worked in communications and later held the positions of deputy clerk, magistrate and clerk of court. After retirement she served on the Richmond Metropolitan Multi-Jurisdiction Grand Jury for two years. She was preceded in death by her parents, Walter D. Swecker and Eunice C. Swecker. She is survived by husband, Jerry W. Ragsdale; children, Pam Palmer (Allen), Debbie Raikes, Beth Brooks (Debbie), Ray Brooks (Karen), Jo Ragsdale (Buddy) and Steve Ragsdale; eight grandchildren, six great- grandchildren; sister, Sue Smorto (John); as well as numerous nieces, nephews and friends. The family received friends Sunday, Aug. 25, at the Mechanicsville Chapel of Bennett Funeral Home, where services were held Monday, Aug. 26. In lieu of flowers, make donations to the American Lung Association. Also a special thanks to Bon Secours Hospice.

Gilbert S. Zook, 77, of Ashland, went home to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013. He was loved by many and offered a life of service and ministry. He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy Zook; his son, Jeff Zook, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and his parents, M. Simon and Elsie Zook, of Honey Brook, Pennsylvania.  He is survived by his sons and their families, Larry and Christina Zook, of Tewksbury, Massachusetts; Jerry and Daune Zook, his granddaughters Raleigh and Sawyer Zook; his grandson, Noah Zook, all of Ashland; his brother and his family, Alvin and Millie Zook, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and his sisters and their families, Sally and Larry Martin, of New Holland, Pennsylvania, and Mary Ann Miller, of Archbold, Ohio. Gilbert was a graduate of Lancaster Mennonite High School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and retired from Duke Construction after many years in the trucking industry. He was active in the Ashland Church of God for many years. He lived a life of service in ministry as a truck stop chaplain and serving others. Gilbert’s wit, sweet spirit and heart of service will be missed by all. The family received friends at Ashland Church of God, Ashland, Monday, Aug. 26. A service to celebrate his life was conducted Tuesday, Aug. 27, also at Ashland Church of God. Graveside services followed at Signal Hill Memorial Park in Hanover. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be given to the Ashland Church of God Building Fund, 407 Myrtle Street, Ashland, VA 23005.

Posted on Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 11:30 am