Fretwell, Charles Everett

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Charles Everett Fretwell, 83, died Wednesday, September 26, 2007 at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Salem, Virginia following a long illness.

He was the longtime owner of the Alleghany Hotel and Newsstand on Norwood Street in Radford and a former columnist for the Radford News Journal. He was born in North Fork, West Virginia, the eighth and last child of Martha Jane and Everett Charles Fretwell. The family moved to Radford in 1937 to assume management of the Alleghany Hotel. He graduated from Radford High School in 1940, and was married to the former Evelene Grace Mayberry on October 16, 1942 in the parsonage of the old Grove Avenue Methodist Church in Radford.

Survivors include daughters Carol Wall and husband, Dick, of Roanoke; Judy McKinley and husband, Don, of Galax, VA (formerly of Johnstown, PA.) Eight grandchildren survive: Charles Wall (and wife, Ashley), of Morgantown, WVA; Sara Joyner (and husband, Bryan), of Charlotte, NC; Jennie Wall of Wilmington, DE; Beth McKinley of Charlotte, NC, Ethan McKinley of Denver Colorado, Phil Wall of New York City; and Katlin McKinley, of Morgantown, WVA. He is also survived by a great-granddaughter, Madeline Elizabeth Wall, of Morgantown, WVA, and two goddaughters, Barbara Wohlford Marshall of Blacksburg, and Charity Barnard Losh of Dayton, VA. He was predeceased by his wife, as well as a daughter, Barbara Ann, who died in May of 1952, at the age of two.

Fretwell was a veteran of World War II, having served for two years in the 26th Infantry Division in Europe. His duties included driving a jeep that often doubled as an ambulance carrying the wounded to aid stations. He often remarked that his life was forever changed by the experience of witnessing the suffering and death of young men “who wanted to live as much as I did.” This theme, along with others centering on the War, became a standard feature in his weekly Reflections column in the Radford News Journal.

Following the war and in partnership with his loving wife, Evelene, he entered into a life of service to family, church and community. Their generosity extended to securing a universal gym for the benefit of athletes at Radford High School, the building of a chapel at Grove United Methodist Church, and the establishment of the Roseberry award, given in memory of classmate Charlie Roseberry (RHS class of 40) to a graduating senior who has demonstrated resilience and strength of character. In 1986, he was one of the founders of The Radford High School Foundation, and was a leader of the Foundations early fundraising efforts. In April, 2000, the Foundation announced an endowed scholarship in Fretwells name as a result of a trust fund established by Charles (Chuck) Eaton and wife, Mary Jo, both graduates of Radford High School.

Fretwell was instrumental in the establishment of D League Radford Rockets baseball in the late 1940s. He collaborated in efforts that resulted in Radfords being named an All-American City, by Life Magazine in 1960. In the late 1960s, he spearheaded the campaign for a new high school stadium, and from his favorite spot just below the press box, he offered support for the Bobcats on a regular basis, receiving frequent invitations from Coach Norman Lineburg to deliver words of wisdom in the locker room before or after the football games he enjoyed so much.

He was the recipient of numerous awards for community service. He served as a past Lt. Governor of the Capitol District of Kiwanis International. In retirement, he was a visitor for Grove United Methodist Church and a lay chaplain at Carilion New River Valley Medical Center, in Radford. He was a tireless community booster, a faithful member of Grove United Methodist Church, and a reliable source of information on the history of Radford. The reverence in which he held his fellow man regardless of race, creed, or social status was reflected in every facet of his life.

He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He led his family, his church, and his community with the strength that comes of innate decency and kindness. Among the extended clan on both sides of the family, he proved an able counselor and worthy role model. Along with Evelene, he opened the door of friendship and hospitality to persons from all walks of life. Among their long list of accomplishments none shines more brightly than the many daily kindnesses that came to them as second nature and shall remain known to God Alone.

Visitation will be Friday, September 28 from 6-8pm at Grove United Methodist Church in Radford. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, September 29 at 11:00 a.m. at the church.

Memorials may be made to Grove United Methodist Church on Tyler Avenue in Radford, or to The Radford High School Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 2823, Radford, VA 24143. The Fretwell family is in the care of Mullins Funeral Home & Crematory in Radford.