Courtland – Jesse William “Bill” Vick, 83, of Courtland, completed his journey through this life on March 19, 2019. He passed away peacefully at home with family at his side after a courageous battle with cancer. Bill was born on February 1, 1936 in Conway, North Carolina. He was raised by his late grandmother, Lula Rebecca Vick, Aunt and Uncle, Marguerite Evelyn Vick Vann and David Collin Vann. He was also preceded in death by his parents, James Godwin Vick and Valestia Mae Vann Vick.
Left to cherish his memory is the love of his life – and sweetheart since elementary school – Eunice Frances Castellow Vick. They were married for 60 years and together had four children – Cynthia Vick Choate (husband Richard) of Ashburn, VA, David James Vick of Ivor, VA, Ann Vick Magee (husband Kevin) of Leesburg, VA and John William Vick (wife Ann) of Suffolk, VA. He had seven loving grandchildren – Michael Choate (wife Elise), Jessica Saville (husband Scott), Tiffany Vick, Meghan Mori (husband Bradley), Macy Magee (fiancé Taylor), Justin Vick (fiancé Amanda), and Kristen Vick. He is also survived by his sister, Marilyn Vick Douglass of Tarboro, NC and his cousin, who was more like a brother, C. Kelly Vann of Conway, NC.
Bill graduated from Conway High School where he was active in 4-H and Future Farmers of America and was a 4-H Grand Champion of Beef Cattle two years in a row. He learned woodworking in the 9th grade – a skill that would turn into a passion in later years. In high school, he played basketball and baseball and was named an all-conference baseball player three times. He played semi-professional baseball and tried out for the Pittsburg Pirates. From high school, he went on to obtain a degree in Physical Education/Health with a minor in Science from East Carolina University. At East Carolina, he was in ROTC, was a member of the men’s glee club, the Drum and Bugle Corps, and hosted the weekly “Sunday Serenade” on the campus radio station. He attended North Carolina State University for a teaching certification in Driver Education, and completed graduate-level courses at East Carolina University and Duke University. He began his professional career as a teacher and coach at Franklinton High School (NC) and went on to serve as an Assistant Principal and Athletic Director.
In 1962, Bill and Eunice moved to Courtland, VA where he was a Physical Education and Driver Education teacher at Southampton High School. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was a track coach (with a State Championship win), a JV basketball coach, and he organized the men and women’s gymnastics program that went on to win a District Championship. He was the voice of the Southampton Indians and could be heard as the public address announcer during home football games. The 1968/69 school yearbook was dedicated to Bill as a “hard working, dedicated teacher who is always interested in the well-rounded development of all students in the school”. Over the course of Bill’s 14-year teaching career, he touched the lives of hundreds of young people – many of whom remained in touch with him until his passing.
After leaving teaching, Bill operated Shands Hardware in Courtland and then went on to serve Southampton County for 24 years as a Water and Wastewater technician.
Bill finally “retired” in 2004. He enjoyed woodworking as a hobby and formed Red Barn Crafts where he produced and sold a variety of handcrafted segmented bowls, cutting boards, scroll saw ornaments, and intarsia plaques. He enjoyed demonstrating his craft and attended a number of craft shows in the VA/NC area. His extraordinary craftsmanship was recognized with his acceptance into the Albemarle Craftsman’s Guild in 2006. He was a member of the Tidewater Turners and attended classes at the Judy Gale Roberts Studio for Intarsia Training. In 2016, Bill was selected to create the Christmas ornament to represent Southampton County on the Christmas tree at the Virginia Governor’s mansion, which he saw as one of his greatest honors.
Bill was a volunteer at the Southampton Agriculture and Forestry museum in Courtland for more than 26 years and was the museum’s chairman for more than 10 of those years. He found his greatest friendships and joy working with the men and women at “the museum”. He was a frequent guide and was always on call to provide tours to visitors. In 2016, his devotion to the museum was recognized at “Bill Vick Day” where the little country church on the museum property was dedicated to him. In recent years, he helped create a display of model trains at the museum and loved watching the trains run and sharing them with museum visitors.
Bill was an active member of Courtland Baptist Church for more than 50 years. He served as a Sunday school teacher and Deacon for many years and was selected as Chairman of Deacons several times.
He was a member of Courtland Ruritan Club where he served as President and Chaplain and was an officer in the Franklin-Southampton Concert Association. He was a founding member of the Courtland Rescue Squad and served the community as a volunteer for many years. He followed sports of all kinds and enjoyed every opportunity that he got to go fishing. He loved to travel with Eunice. Together they traveled to all fifty states, Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and South America.
Bill will be remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather, a dedicated teacher, an accomplished craftsman, a pillar of the community, and a devoted friend to many. Services to celebrate Bill’s life will be held on Friday, March 22, 2019 at 2:00pm at Courtland Baptist Church, 22265 Main Street with burial to follow at Riverside Cemetery in Courtland. Visitation is from 7:00pm-8:30pm on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at Wright Funeral Home, 206 W. 4th Avenue, Franklin, Va.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Bill’s honor to Southampton Agriculture and Forestry Museum, 26315 Heritage Lane, Courtland, VA 23837, Courtland Baptist Church, 22265 Main Street, Courtland, VA 23837 or the Franklin-Southampton Concert Association, P.O. Box 3, Courtland, VA 23837. www.wrightfuneralhome.org