|Birth: ||Jun. 26, 1914|
|Death: ||Apr. 19, 2009|
Elisha Ray Nance, 94, of Bedford, died Sunday, April 19, 2009. Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at Oakwood Cemetery.
Elisha "Ray" Nance, the last surviving officer of Company A and the last surviving Bedford Boy, died Sunday at 94. Nance was one of 34 servicemen from Bedford County who landed on the beaches of Nazi-held France during World War II. He arrived on France's beaches in the first waves of the largest land, air and sea invasion in military history.
On Sunday April 19, 2009, Major Elisha Ray Nance, AUS, Retired, of the Elks National Retirement Home in Bedford, Va., entered peacefully into eternal rest. Born on June 26, 1914, in the Joppa Mill community of Bedford County, he was the fifth of six children of the union of Derastus Lee and Martha Elizabeth Fuqua Nance. He was the devoted, loving, and respectful husband of Alpha Mae Watson Nance for 64 years. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his three sisters, Thelma Eliza Sandifer, Ruth Emma Robertson, and Mary Lucy MacGowan; and by his two brothers, Frank Lee and Homer Fuqua Nance.
In addition to his wife, left to mourn the end of his earthly journey are two daughters, Martha Susan and James R. Cobb Jr., of Front Royal, and Sarah Watson and Catesby Jones, of Richmond; son, John Granville Nance and Mary Ann, of Lynchburg; grandchildren, John Granville Nance II and Karen, James R. Cobb III, Anne Fuqua Cobb Powell and Mike, and Eliza Taliaferro Jones; great-granddaughters, Vanessa Danielle Van Landingham and Emma Marguerite Nance; and many loving nieces and nephews will also mourn his passing.
Like many others of his generation, Ray was reared in a farming family, persevered through the Great Depression and served our country during World War II. A member of Captain Taylor Fellers' well trained Company A "Bedford Boys," he waded ashore onto Omaha Beach in the early dawn of D-Day, June 6, 1944, and was one of the very few to survive the concentrated hailstorm of enemy fire that day. When he returned from the war, he married a wonderful young lady and together they raised three children. Also following his wartime service he worked in the Postal Service as a rural carrier out of the Bedford office and then after retiring from the Postal Service he worked many years in management for the Virginia Peaks of Otter Company.
As a direct result of his military experience, he also devoted himself to honoring his fellow soldiers who did not return from battle by helping their grieving families, by reorganizing and commanding Bedford's Virginia National Guard Company A, by helping secure the memorial stone given in 1954 by the grateful people of France for the 10th anniversary commemoration of D-Day, by observing every June 6th with flowers and flags and by supporting the National D-Day Memorial which commemorates this important battle for freedom for future generations. His military experience and family upbringing also engendered a keen interest in Virginia history and genealogy leading to his memberships in the Order of Freemasons, the Jamestown Society, the Huguenot Society, the Sons of the American Revolution, and as a parishioner of historic Saint Paul's Episcopal Church in Lynchburg.
He lived a long life well into the 21st century. He witnessed and benefited from the many advancements and achievements in modern technology. Throughout his life he was a Christian and a true gentleman, mindful of and grateful for many blessings.
A graveside service will be conducted 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 22, 2009, at Oakwood Cemetery in Bedford with the Reverend Doug Wigner officiating. Military Honors will be provided by American Legion Post #16 of Lynchburg.
Alpha Mae Watson Nance (1918 - 2014)*
Created by: Laurie
Record added: Apr 20, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 36082598