CALLAWAY, Va. – Tinsley Edward Webster, Sr., 93, departed this world April 15, 2023, after a brief hospitalization, entering into the arms of his loving Savior, Jesus Christ, and leaving a legacy of family, love, hard work, faith and selfless service.
Tinsley was born to Walter K. & Daisy Saul Webster April 5, 1930 in the Monte Vista section of Franklin County. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Henry Jefferson “Buck” Webster and George Washington Webster and great-grandson Garth Xavier Webster.
Tinsley married Gladys Beckner in July 1951 and they bought property in the Dillons Mill area, where they have been since, raising their family together. They also raised chickens and produce to sell, can and share. The exception was Tinsley’s Korea-era service in the United States Army, which sent him to California for training and service. After a training injury led to a medical discharge, he returned home to a variety of careers. Tinsley worked as a driver for Roanoke Linen and was a longtime associate of Ruff’s Grocery & Antiques, the Jack Garst Agency in Boones Mill, and Parts Depot in Roanoke, among others. Many Franklin County farms became and stayed green and fertile due to his knowledge and careful product delivery.
Tinsley had a gift for growing produce, and was especially good at recognizing, grafting and preserving apple species, serving as a reference for experts working to document and preserve heritage apple varieties. His damson plums, apples, peaches, pears, strawberries, grapes, cherries and other fruits and vegetables were quick-selling staples for the Websters at the Rocky Mount Farmers Market, where he was named Farmer of the Year. Tinsley - often against his family’s wishes - picked apples, cherries and other orchard fruit, gardened on his own and maintained his property into his nineties.
Tinsley also had a talent for running into bears raiding his orchard, recounting how he or his faithful dog Chance managed to survive the latest bear encounter around Sunday dinners with family and other special occasions. Tinsley especially enjoyed working his International Harvester tractor with his son Edward. He owned and restored an antique cider press used by his family most falls to press, preserve and enjoy fresh apple cider from home-grown apples. Fall Sundays spent with his children and grandchildren pressing cider left lasting memories for the family and brought Tinsley much happiness.
Tinsley was quick to smile, eager to ask questions, ready to tackle any mechanical challenge, prepared to help a neighbor and willing to welcome guests into his home. He was a member of Fairmont Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon, Sunday School superintendent and teacher, secretary & treasurer, buildings & grounds committee member, and generally as an example of how to live out your faith.
Tinsley loved to work and be active. Rare down time frequently found him working on thousand-piece jigsaw puzzles, reading or watching television with Gladys. When they were unable to attend church, Tinsley and Gladys enjoyed television and radio sermons from area churches. His love for Gladys constantly showed, and he frequently expressed his desire to always be able to take care of her.
In addition to his wife Gladys, Tinsley is survived by his son Tinsley Edward Webster Jr. and daughter-in-law Penny of Copper Hill, Va., and daughter Dulcie Kay Hankins and son-in-law Matt of Boones Mill, Va. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren include: Gina & Patrick Rakestraw and their children Jaren, Audrey & Olivia; Chad & Stephine Webster and their children, Easton, Dannan, Savannah, McKinley & Piper; Brent & Destiny Webster and their children, Emery & Deacon; Mary Grace & Matt Bouldin and their son Henry; Michael Hankins; and Marjorie Hankins; sister-in-law, Pearl Gardner; several nieces and nephews and their families.
A graveside service will be conducted by Pastor Tom Nestor at the Fairmont Baptist Church in Boones Mill Thursday, April 20, at 11 a.m., followed by a light meal celebrating Tinsley’s life in the church Fellowship Hall. Grandsons and great-grandsons will serve as pallbearers.
The family requests that donations in lieu of flowers be given in Tinsley’s memory to Fairmont Baptist Church, 1699 Bethlehem Road, Boones Mill, VA 24065.
The family wishes to especially thank the nurses and doctors of Lewis-Gale Medical Center for their efforts and loving care for both Tinsley and the family during his hospitalization.
Conner-Bowman Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements.