Obituary of Dr. Thomas Vest
Rev. Dr. William Thomas Vest, Sr., Captain, U. S. Navy Chaplain Corp. (Retired), passed away March 22, 2018 at Westminster-Canterbury in Lynchburg. He was born in Appomattox, Virginia on November 23, 1920, son of the late Hattie Lee Worley and John Thomas Vest. His beloved wife, Marion Page Vest, predeceased him in October 2017, just one month shy of 79 years of marriage.
He is survived by three daughters, Patsy V. Gallagher of Salem, Barbara V. Schrader and her husband, Danny, of Goode, Naomi V. Tuttle of Chesapeake, and one son, The Honorable William Thomas Vest, Jr., and his wife, Gaynelle, of Virginia Beach; twelve grandchildren, twenty-five great grandchildren and seven great great-grandchildren also survive him. A daughter, Janice V. Carter, and two sons-in-law, Rawlings Gallagher and John Tuttle also preceded him in death. Captain Vest had four siblings, three brothers and a sister. His mother died in childbirth in 1930 when he was only ten years old. He attended Lynchburg Public Schools until, as the oldest child, he needed to work to help the family.
He and his three brothers joined the U. S. Navy when the draft was established. He served a short tour in the Pacific at the end of the World War II. After the war he used the GI Bill to attend school. He received his GED and was admitted and graduated from Lynchburg College, as well as Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and from Luther Rice College and Seminary, where he received a Doctor of Ministry degree.
He enjoyed his military career immensely. He served twenty-six years as a
U. S. Navy Chaplain; six years were in the Navy Reserve and twenty years were U. S. Navy active duty. He loved his ships. His first sea duty was Mayport, Florida, serving as Chaplain for four destroyers. His next sea duty was aboard the USS Northampton, the President's Flag Ship. During the Vietnam War, he was stationed aboard the Navy hospital ship, USS Repose. His last duty ship was the USS Little Rock, home ported in Gaeta, Italy, where he served as the Sixth Fleet Chaplain.
After his last duty station in Charleston, South Carolina, he and Marion retired, and returned to Lynchburg, eventually building a house in Forest, Virginia. This became home for the family for 25 years. Many holidays were spent at the farm with plenty of food on the table and lots of laughter as the family gathered.
Before and after his military service, he served as Interim Pastor for local churches in Lynchburg, Bedford County and Amherst County. He was a former member of the Lynchburg Exchange Club, Military Order of World Wars, Military Officers' Association, and a was a lifetime member of Disabled American Veterans.
Memorial donations may be made to Lynchburg College Annual Fund for Student Support, 1501 Lakeside Drive, Lynchburg, VA, 24501.
The family wishes to express our deepest appreciation to the staff on Hearthside Five at Westminster-Canterbury for the loving care given to our father.
Relatives and friends are welcome to visit with the family at noon on March 27, 2018, before the funeral service which will be held at 1:00pm in West Lynchburg Baptist Church, 3031 Memorial Avenue, Lynchburg, with Dr. Robert Putt officiating. Interment will follow at Fort Hill Memorial Park with full military honors by the American Legion Post 16. A reception will be held after the burial at 2:30 at the church.
Diuguid Funeral Service & Crematory, Wiggington Road Chapel, 385-8900, is serving the family. On-line condolences may be sent to www.diuguidfuneralservice.com.