Obituaries, Week of Jan. 2, 2014: Combs and LeFon
John L. Combs, of Mechanicsville, passed away Dec. 24, 2013 after a courageous fight with cancer. He was born in Davenport, Iowa to Joseph and the late Mary Dilley. He is survived by his wife, Kelly Eastman Combs; their two young daughters, Gabrielle Anne and Christiana Hope Combs; his two grown sons, Michael John (Rebecca) and Patrick Scott; six grandchildren, Keeleigh, Kirsten, Katryn, John Ross, Karoline and Alexandria; brother, Richard Dilley (Connie) of Solon, Iowa. John attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1967. He was a Captain and Army Ranger, serving valiantly in Vietnam, and received the Bronze Star for his service. John earned his Master’s Degree in Engineering from the University of Virginia and started the engineering firm, Resource International, Ltd. with Mike Fiore. John consulted on the communications system for the Lake Placid Winter Olympic Games of 1980, patented a Solar Hot Water Collector and was Principal in Charge of projects including Colonial Downs and the 2,500 acre New Kent Vineyards Community, the initial rezoning and development of Kings Charter and the Bell Creek Community Development that includes a 160 acre historic park. John served his community, country and state in various positions including, president, board member and coach of the Atlee Little League and Atlee Youth Sports, Hanover County Planning Commissioner, president and board member of the Hanover Association of Businesses and was currently filling his gubernatorial appointment as a member of The Board of Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects (APELSCIDLA Board). John completed his Master’s of Theological Studies program from Liberty University, graduating in May this year. He planned to spend time volunteering as a Chaplain. He was an American hero, but more importantly, he was his family’s hero. The family received friends Thursday, Dec. 26, at the Mechanicsville Chapel of Bennett Funeral Home. Funeral services were held Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 at Fairmount Christian Church, Creighton Road, Mechanicsville. Interment Signal Hill Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the John Combs Memorial Fund, at any branch of Wells Fargo Bank, to benefit his minor daughters.
Elsie Gilman LeFon, 89, went to be with Jesus Dec. 11, 2013. She leaves behind three children, from her marriage to Kenneth Chewning: daughters Elsie Faye Chewning Weems and Linda Rae Chewning Nelson, and son Carroll Gray Chewning. Her youngest child, Glenn Reuben Chewning, went to his heavenly home in 1961. Elsie has a grandson, Thomas Nathan Weems; a granddaughter, Ann Chewning Kiracofe; two great-granddaughters, Reece and Dillan Kiracofe; and a great-grandson, Keilan Kiracofe. Surviving loved ones also include her daughter-in-law, Maryjane Chewning; her son-in-law, Bill Nelson, her grandson-in-law, Brandon Kiracofe; sisters Edith Cannon, Doris Lutz, and Lula Bowles; and many nieces and nephews. Elsie was born May 7, 1924, in Hanover County, where she grew up on the farm of her parents, Lemuel Franklin and Ella Jones Gilman. In her youth she attended St. Peter’s United Methodist Church in Montpelier. She later became a member of Berea Baptist Church in Hylas (Rockville), where she was active for many years. Generously gifted by God, Elsie was a talented homemaker, especially adept at dressmaking and interior design, with an excellent eye for color and style. Her skills were most happily put to use when she served on the committee in charge of furnishing and decorating the newly constructed sanctuary at Berea. She was endowed with a quick wit and a sense of both playful and wise humor. That these traits withstood the toll of advancing age and declining health is a special source of consolation for her children.The family received visitors Monday, Dec. 16, at Nelsen Funeral Home in Ashland. A graveside service was held Tuesday, Dec. 17. Elsie was buried next to her son Glenn in the cemetery at Berea Baptist Church.