James “Ruddy” Duty, a resident of Brumley Gap, Va., went home to be with Jesus on March 11, 2018.
A native of his beloved Russell County, he grew up as the son of a tenant farmer in Green Valley. During his long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, he frequently desired to return “home.” This often involved road trips around the region. Early in the disease process, he would tell stories of his childhood. His family learned many tales during this special time that they would have never known otherwise before these “trips home.” He moved to Washington County, Va. when he married Sue Lee in 1957. The two recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on September 10th, 2017.
Ruddy was a former employee of Hapco and Southwest Tobacco Warehouse. He was a land dealer, auctioneer, and a tobacco and cattle farmer. He was also one of the first Brumley Gap land owners to harvest Brumley Gap rocks and sell them at market. The harvest of Brumley Gap rock continues today for landowners, who years ago wouldn’t have dreamed anyone would want to buy the rocks that “grow” in our fields.
Ruddy was appointed and served on the Washington County, Va. Planning Commission from 1975 until 2005. His leadership helped develop his adopted county into the success it is today. He always fought for the hardworking, common man.
Ruddy was a member of the Brumley Gap United Methodist Church where he had served as a member of the Board of Trustees. He was also Sunday School Superintendent for many years. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease approximately 13 years ago. This terrible disease robbed him of memory but not of his kind, humble spirit. For that, his family has felt very blessed.
Ruddy is preceded in death by his son, Jeffery Duty, his parents Russell and Lyda Gilmer Duty, a brother Charles Duty and sisters, Rachel Warner and Nancy Duty.
He is survived by his wife, Sue Lee Duty, daughters Sarah (Mrs. Bradley) Webb and Kim (Mrs. Matthew) Gibson. Surviving grandchildren are Jeffery Brandon Duty (married to Rachel Duty), Whitney Webb-Cleland (married to Andrew Cleland), Carrie Webb, Lauren Gibson-Rotton (married to Caleb Rotton), and Russell Gibson. Surviving great grandchild, Brook Duty. Surviving sisters are Joann Fields of Lebanon, Va., Mary Ellen Harmon of Knoxville, Tenn., Betty Akers of Bristol, Va., and Margaret Duty of Abingdon, Va. Ruddy is also survived by several beloved nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank the many caregivers who have helped care for Ruddy. Special caregivers include Tracy and Brandon Fleenor, JMH Hospice, and extended family members Pat and Randy Parris, Kevin Parris, Debbie Moretz, Joan Worley, and the families of Don and Chris Lee. A special thank you to the Brumley Gap community who have cooked, prayed for, and supported the Duty family during this journey.
Ruddy has finally made it to his eternal Home. His favorite Bible passage was John 14. He frequently would read, “In my Father’s house there are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, so that where I am, there ye may be also”.
Visitation will be held Tuesday night, March 13th from 5 to 8 P.M. at Frost Funeral Home. Funeral services will be conducted on Wednesday, March 14th at 1 P.M. in Brumley Gap United Methodist Church with Pastor Steve McCready officiating. Burial will follow at Knollkreg Memorial Park.
Pallbearers will be Clarence Gobble, Allen Parris, Kevin Parris, Randy Parris, Don Lee, Chris Lee, Rocky Harmon, Johnny Jessee, Russell Gibson, and Brandon Duty.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Brumley Gap Methodist Church c/o Joan Worley, 21076 Brumley Gap Road, Abingdon, Va. 24210.