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Charles Ray “Charlie” Tomlinson

founder of Tomlinson Funeral Home and Ambulance Service, now Community Funeral Service, Ridgeway, Virginia, died December 20, 2012, at age 77. Tomlinson served in the U.S. Naval Reserves and is a VFW member and past post commander of American Legion Pannill Post 42. He was a licensed funeral director and life and casualty insurance agent. Tomlinson began his funeral service career with Scott County Funeral Home and worked as a funeral director for 38 years for many firms in northern Virginia, including Hall, Lee and Everly-Wheatley funeral homes. He purchased Hall Funeral Home in Occoquan and operated it until 1972 when it was destroyed by Hurricane Agnes. He came to Martinsville in 1977 and was co-owner/manager of Roselawn Chapel Funeral Home, selling his interest in 1981 and founding Tomlinson in 1982.
    In addition to funeral service, Tomlinson had a love and passion for music, co-writing several noteworthy songs, including The Last Farewell, which held the number-one position on the Bluegrass Music Charts. He founded a local gospel group called the “Singing Directors” and hosted a local gospel music television show called The Charlie and Friends Show. With his singing companion of more than 20 years, Kelly Ratcliff, he made numerous appearances in television, radio and community events, performing bluegrass and southern gospel music. He mentored Ratcliff as he entered the funeral profession, and Ratcliff is currently location manager for Community Funeral Service. He is survived by first wife Audrey; second wife Sandra; daughters Sandra, Katherine and Jennifer; son Charles; adopted son Kelly; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.