William A. Hudnall

KILMARNOCK—William A. Hudnall (Bill), 102, entered into eternal rest at Commonwealth Senior Living at Kilmarnock on February 22, 2017.

He was born in Ophelia on December 22, 1914, to Walter Hudnall and Lelia Smith Hudnall. He was the oldest of four sons. He was an avid reader and graduate of the historic Julius Rosenwald High School, Reedville.

On January 15, 1938, he married the love of his life, Bessie Bayse and they enjoyed seventy-nine beautiful years together.

In 1932, he began his work career in Baltimore, Md. After a few years in Baltimore, they moved to New York where they purchased property and opened Hudnall’s Grocery Store.

In 1960, Bill and Bessie returned to Ophelia and reunited with his home church, Shiloh Baptist in Burgess. He was elected to the deacon board in 1961 and served as chairman for more than 26 years. He played a major role, giving leadership as president and instructor for the Northern Neck Deacons Union.

He was hired by the Virginia Marine Resource Commission (VMRC) as a mate and later promoted to captain of a VMRC patrol. He was the first African-American to hold both positions.

He held several governors’ appointments including VRMC. He also served his community in many capacities. He was the first African American to serve on the Northumberland County Board of Supervisors and the first to serve as chairman of the board. He served as chairman of the planning commission and was chairman of the committee to build the new courthouse in Heathsville. His portrait graces the wall of the supervisors’ conference room.

Hudnall organized the Chanty Singers in 1990, a group of fishermen who sang locally, traveling across the state of Virginia and many other states and the District of Columbia where they sang at The Smithsonian Institute.

William A. Hudnall will be remembered as a man who loved God, a man who dearly loved his wife, his church, his family and friends. He was a wise leader, a man of dignity, integrity, generosity, love, loyalty and kindness.

He is survived by his wife, Bessie Bayse Hudnall; a brother, John Hudnall (Alma); a sister-in-law, Evelyn Hudnall; nieces; great nieces; nephews; great nephews; a godson, Kelby Funn; and many other relatives and friends.

A funeral service for William Hudnall of Heathsville will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, March 3, at the Shiloh Baptist Church with pastor Willard Felton II officiating.

Friends may call from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 2, at the Berry O. Waddy Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Burgess Branch, and an hour prior to the service on Friday at the church.