Charles Ray "Charlie" Tomlinson 77, died Thursday, December 20, 2012 at Blue Ridge Nursing Center in Stuart. Charlie was born in Damascus, on September 1, 1935 to the late Edward Ray Tomlinson and Viola Mae Hilton Tomlinson. Charlie served in the United States Naval Reserves; he was a member of the V.F.W, Past Post Commander of the American Legion Pannill Post 42, the Piedmont Masonic Lodge of Martinsville, The Woodman of the World, the I.O.O.F., the Travelers Protective Association and the Martinsville Ruritans. Charlie held his license as a Virginia Life and Causality Insurance Agent. Charlie was a bluegrass music enthusiast. Between 1963 and 1967 songs such as "The Last Farewell" Charlie had recorded with Rebel Records Recording. The song held the number one position on the Bluegrass Music Charts, along with other recordings such as "I Can Change My Mind" by Charlie Tomlinson, Billy Baker and the Shady Mountain Boys. Charlie performed several bluegrass gospel concerts throughout, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Maryland. Charlie formed a local gospel group in Martinsville in 1977, known as the original "Singing Directors". Consisting of Charlie Tomlinson, Hap Holt, Darrell Warren and Frank Collie. Jim Eanes, country and bluegrass legend, produced the Singing Directors' first album in the Eanes Recording Studio in Collinsville. Charlie hosted a local gospel music television show in Martinsville called "The Charlie and Friends Show". Charlie and his singing companion of more than twenty years, Kelly Ratcliff of Stuart, held numerous television appearances, radio and community events, performing bluegrass and southern gospel music. Kelly began working under Charlie's mentorship shortly after the death of his father and continued his career in the funeral profession in which he presently is location manager of the former Tomlinson Funeral Home known as Community Funeral Service of Ridgeway. Charlie has been instrumental establishing numerous bluegrass and southern gospel groups and according to close friends at the legendary, Carter Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, Charlie had performed with singers such as Marty Stewart, a county music legend, and upcoming country music performer, Austin Moody. Charlie's first love and passion was music, but he was dedicated to helping others through his funeral service ministry. Charlie held his license as a Funeral Director in Virginia and North Carolina for over thirty eight years. Charlie began his funeral career at a young age with Scott County Funeral Home in Scott County, Virginia and during those thirty eight years he worked for other funeral homes in the Northern Virginia area such as Hall Funeral Home, Lee Funeral Home and Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home. Charlie purchased the Hall Funeral Home in Occoquan, Virginia and operated the funeral home until 1972 when the funeral home was destroyed by Hurricane Agnes. Charlie then went to work for Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home in Alexandria, before coming to Martinsville in 1977, where he became co-owner of Roselawn Chapel Funeral Home. Charlie managed Roselawn Funeral Home until 1981 when he sold his interest in the funeral home and founded Tomlinson Funeral Home and Ambulance Service of Ridgeway in 1982. Charlie was preceded in death by his parents, Edward Ray Tomlinson, Sr., and Viola Mae Hilton Tomlinson and one sister, Patricia Tomlinson, He is survived by his first wife, the mother of his daughter Sandra Lynn Tomlinson Bridgett, Audrey Tomlinson of Gate City, and his second wife, mother of his son, Charles R. "Chucky" Tomlinson, Sandra Sebastian Tomlinson of Ridgeway, daughters Sandra Lynn Tomlinson Bridgett of Upper Marlboro, MD., Katherine Hope Robinson of Bassett and Jennifer Renea Jones of Midlothian, one son, Charles R. "Chuckie" Tomlinson of Ridgeway, adopted son Kelly G. Ratcliff of Stuart, sister, Carolyn Tomlinson Melton of Savanna Park, MD., one brother, Edward Ray "Eddie" Tomlinson, Jr., of Phoenix MD., nine grandchildren, Heather, Holly, Joshua, Miles, Jordon, Michael, Tyler, Christopher and Alexis and six great grandchildren
A celebration of life service will be held 4:00p.m. Sunday, December 23, 2012 in the chapel of Community Funeral Service of Ridgeway with Rev. Jimmy Woods officiating and military flag presentation performed by the Martinsville-Henry County Veterans Honor Guard. Interment will follow in Holston View Cemetery In Weber City on Wednesday December 26, 2012 following the continued Celebration of Life Service which will be held at 12:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Gate City. The family will receive friends from 2:00p.m. Until 4:00p.m. Sunday December 23, 2012 in the Community Funeral Service Chapel in Ridgeway
On line condolences may be made by visiting www.communityfuneralservices.com
Arrangements by Community Funeral Service of Ridgeway.