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August 23, 2015

Bishop Earl Preston Dudley left this earthly life to be with The Lord on Sunday, August 23, 2015. He passed away peacefully at the home he built with his own two hands, surrounded and embraced by his family. He was the patriarch and cornerstone to his loving family. He was a devout Christian and a selfless man, who dedicated himself to his family and all of those around him. Earl was born September 16, 1935 in Botetourt County, amidst the Great Depression. He was one of nine children born to parents of the late Charles William and Mary Catherine Dunbar Dudley. Unfortunately, his father died tragically during a railroad accident when Earl was on 10 years old. He learned very early in life the value of hard work as he had to help his young mother make ends meet. They struggled to put food on the table, but a young Earl did what he had to do to help his family. A true legacy that he exhibited throughout his life. He came from humble beginnings, and that's what helped to create a truly exceptional man. Earl joined the military in 1954 before completing high school and served in the Army during most of the Korean War. He was honored with the National Defense Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, and the Korean Service Medal. After the war was over, he returned home and married his sweet heart, Virginia Catherine Ford on December 22, 1955. They settled in Covington where they had three beautiful children: Cathy, Lois "Jody" and John. No stranger to sacrifice and hard work, Earl took on innumerable amount of jobs to provide for his family. He learned on his own how to build cars and become a skilled machinist. He loved to work with his hands and began building homes and foundations in his area. There wasn't a task put before him that he couldn't complete. He quickly became the man that many reached out to in the community when they needed expert advice on just about anything. He was also a loyal employee at Mead Westvaco for 34 years, before he retired from there in 2001. He was always available and willing to help. He was a true renaissance man, with a generous spirit and dedication to his community. Perhaps his proudest accomplishment was his calling to be a minister, and ultimately a Bishop in the Church of God. He was first ordained as a minister in 1973. He served God throughout most of his life. He began in a small church in Covington before he eventually founded and built his own church in Hot Springs. He reached out to his family and community for help and never tired or wavered in his dedication to Christ. He touched many lives with his ministry and he walked with God up until the very end of his blessed life. His generous heart, strength and beautiful smile will be missed by all who knew him. In addition to his parents, Earl was preceded in death by a brother John, and four sisters, Mary Ann, Edna, Shirley and Hannah. Surviving are his loving and loyal wife of 59 years, Virginia Catherine Dudley; his two daughters and sons in law, Cathy Marie and Lonnie Montgomery and Lois Geraldine and Gustav Asboth ; his son and daughter in law, John William and Stacey; and also one sister, Wanda and two brothers, Steve and Roy. His memory will never be forgotten and his legacy will live on in the hearts of his grandchildren, Robert, Amanda (Eric), Emily (Sam), Tasha (Chris) Morgan, Sydney, Kelly and Jackson; his great grandchildren Davey, Lukas, Hayden, Hannah, Abbi, Brendan and Eli.; He loved each and every one of his family and as long as they are alive, Earl will be also. The funeral service will be held Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 2:00 PM in the Arritt Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Paul Horton officiating. The entombment will follow in Alleghany Memorial Park Mausoleum. Active pallbearers will be Dr. Samuel Deem, Robert Montgomery, Morgan Dudley, Chris Dolinger, Eric Walker and David Nicely. Honorary pallbearers will be Bruce Bazzrea,Thomas Deem, and Richard “Red” Stark. The family will receive their friends Monday evening from 7:00 PM until 8:30 PM at the Arritt Funeral Home. The family would like to thank Dr. Terence Rhodes, MD, PhD at Charleston Medical Center for his love, dedication and compassion to Earl as they battled his illness together. "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept my faith." (II Timothy 4:7) Visitation Information Date: Monday, August 31, 2015 Time: 8/26/15 07:00 pm - 8/26/15 08:30 pm Arritt Funeral Home Service Information Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2015 Time: 8/26/15 02:00 pm Arritt Funeral Home Chapel Cemetery Information Date: Monday, August 31, 2015 Alleghany Memorial Park Mausoleum
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