KILMARNOCK—Emerson Latham Gravatt passed peacefully at home on March 19, 2023, surrounded by his family.
Emerson, Doc, Uncle Doc, Pops or Pappa Doc was born on March 20, 1947, to Arthur Broaddus Gravatt Jr. and Ruth Latham Gravatt in Richmond. He grew up in Kilmarnock, attended Hargrave Military Academy and graduated from Campbell College. He married Joan Weeks in August of 1968 and following his graduation, they moved to Kilmarnock to begin their life together in his hometown.
Once home, Emerson taught math and science in Lancaster and Northumberland counties. Many of his students still comment on his quiet and calm demeanor in the classroom. During these early years, he also worked at Fitzhugh’s gas station on Irvington Road and drove an oil truck delivering for Standard Oil. He remembered those years fondly and often told stories of his delivery days when traveling up Route 3 towards Tappahannock.
In 1976, Emerson began his career with Rappahannock General Hospital which spanned 30+ years. He held many different positions over his entire career but retired as senior vice president of human resources and physician recruitment. Emerson was responsible for recruiting many doctors to the area including his own remarkable doctor, June Duffeh. He loved his work at Rappahannock General Hospital and considered his co-workers family.
When not actively recruiting doctors for the hospital, Emerson served his community in numerous volunteer and elected positions. He was a member of the Kilmarnock Town Council off and on for over 20 years. He volunteered with many civic organizations over the years including the Kilmarnock Volunteer Fire Department, KIWS Rotary Club, Kilmarnock Lions Club, Kilmarnock Chamber of Commerce, Lancaster High School PTA and many other organizations. Emerson was not one for recognition and failed to document the numerous organizations where he served. Those impacted by his service are aware and he would want it paid forward.
Emerson loved this community, the people, the place, the water, and he wanted everyone to experience the amazing things Lancaster County has to offer. When his children were young, he loved pulling his boat out into the Rappahannock River from Carters Creek, laying on the bow, looking up at the stars, allowing the boat to freely drift with the current and reminding them that we live in the most beautiful, special place.
Emerson lived for the free time he had with family and friends. He was an avid sportsman, including holding a state cross country record in his teens, slalom skiing medals in his 30s, tennis championships in his 40s, golf championships in his 50s, motorcycles in his 60s and cards with the guys in his 70s. He loved a good laugh with friends and never met a stranger. Please think of him when you sink the putt, spike the tennis ball, cross the Rappahannock River bridge, or look up on a clear night to see the magic of the stars over the Northern Neck.
He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Joan; their two children, Amanda Broaddus Gravatt Porter and Emerson Latham Gravatt Jr. (Krista); six grandchildren, Lucas James Gravatt, Carter Emerson Gravatt, Alexis Grace Gravatt, John Edwin Porter III, Joseph Emerson Porter and Lyla Page Porter; sister, Page Gravatt Hunt; his brother, Arthur Broaddus Gravatt III; special family, Darlene Walters; many nieces, nephews, chosen family; and his beloved dog, Fergus.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and brother, Bruce Lee Gravatt.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to the community for all your prayers and support over the past few weeks. We are reminded of how beautiful it is to be surrounded by a true community. We would like to especially thank Dr. June Daffeh who was ever present and the Hospice of Virginia angels Julia, Denise and Britney who allowed us to be with Emerson at home.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Town of Kilmarnock Dog Park Fund, P.O. Box 1357, Kilmarnock, VA 22482, where Emerson and Fergus spent every afternoon together. Or to the Hope Foundation of Hospice of Virginia for which we are forever grateful.
A service will be held at Grace Episcopal Church at 2 p.m. April 5.