Vest, Gratton W.

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Gratton W. Vest, 76, of Salem, Va. went to be with his Lord and Savior on Wednesday, October 3, 2007. He was born November 4, 1930 in Check, Va., to the late Albert Washington and Wilda McNeil Vest.

He graduated from Check High School in May of 1948. His classmates will remember him for his awards of being voted the “biggest pest and best looking guy.” He was a member of the Tabernacle Baptist Church for many years where we learned he had a love of angels.

He is a retired dispatcher from Wilson Trucking Company where he was employed for 24 years. He was better known for building homes in the Salem area and grooming several friends to learn the residential construction business. In total, he built over a 100 homes from 1960 until he retired from his company, Vest Construction, in 2005.

He was a very devoted husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. He never stopped giving, never stopped helping, and never met a stranger. He spent the majority of his time studying the bible, playing solitaire, and watching the history and travel channel. He loved to hunt, fish, watch birds, and take long walks through the woods looking at nature and timber. He would take every opportunity to travel and see the world and did so on several occasions throughout the United States including Alaska and a trip to some of the Caribbean Islands.

If you would take the time to slow down and sit with him, he would tell you of life experiences, the Bible, and his treasured memories. Most of his friends, family and business associates will always remember him for his sense of humor, guidance and his knowledge for building homes and a family. He was at peace with the world while standing on a bank catching fish. If you really knew Grat, you might even describe him as being “dumb as a fox.”

The sky will shine brighter tonight as you will see a bright “snickering” shining star in the sky. The birds will sing louder as they rejoice in heaven for his arrival. He will be greatly missed, but we will patiently wait for our paths to cross again as he waits for family and friends at heavens gate.

The family would like to request if you have a story or special memory that you would share with the family, please mail to a family member. He was such a special man that we would like to have these special memories for keepsake so that we can reflect back on the great person that he was.

After 55 years of marriage, he leaves behind a wife, Marie Ann Sowers Vest; three children, Becky Thomas of Salem, Debbie Feury Hakola and son-in-law, Henry Hakola of Shawsville and Janet Boxley and son-in-law, Watson Boxley of Cleveland, Ohio. Also, he leaves behind a special grand “son,” Staff Sergeant Jesse Feury of Fayetteville, N.C. and special grand “daughter,” Lindsay Thomas of Salem. Brothers and sisters that preceded him in death, Bonnie Vest Willis, brother-in-law, Roscoe Willis, Truman Vest and sister-in-law, Dorma Vest, Ruby Vest Foster, and brother-in-law, Clinton Foster, and Gerald Vest. He leaves behind a sister, Iva Vest Sowder; a brother, Hampton Vest; sister-in-law, Louise Dickerson Vest; along with several nieces, nephews; and several wonderful friends and business associates that Gratton cherished.

We would also like to give special thanks to his very dear and special friends, Kenneth Duncan, Billy Pugh, DW Sowers (brother-in-law) and Cecil Waid for the many trips traveling back and forth to UVA for his doctor visits. Also special thanks to UVA, Dr. Yeaton, gastroenterology / endoscopy and Dr. Weiss, oncology / hematology. Many praises and thanks to Adventa Hospice and ResCare employees who enabled us to have him at home in his last days. Also, we want to extend a special thank you to the friends who touched Gratton’s life, who are too numerous to list, along with his special “angel” who sang him to sleep. Sincerest thanks to Joyce and Richard Spencer who continued to support us through all the years.

Donations to the American Cancer Society in lieu of flowers are always appreciated. Funeral services will be conducted on Saturday, October 6, 2007 at 12 Noon with the Rev. Rick Elmore and the Rev. Emory Tarpley officiating. Interment will follow in Wilson Cemetery in Check, Va. The family will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 5, 2007 at the funeral home. Arrangements are being handled by Lotz Funeral Home, Salem.