Obituaries

altRobert Murray Perce, Jr., aged 80, of Lake Monticello, passed away Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, from cancer of an unknown primary.  

Bob was born in Oak Park, Ill., on Aug. 9, 1937. He got his undergraduate degree in history and English with honors at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., in 1959. He then became a commissioned officer in the United States Navy and served in Morocco and Newport, R.I., until 1963. After completing his military service, Bob attended the University of Virginia Law School and graduated with an LL.B., again with honors, in 1966. Thus began a 27-year career in corporate and general practice of law, the last 10 years of which he was general counsel to two corporations engaged in the international trading and transport of petrochemicals and in offshore drilling investments.

Bob was a man of extraordinary intellect, creativity, and curiosity – taking great pleasure in both the physical world around him and the life of the mind. A devoted husband and father, he was a legend to his children for reading novels aloud during family vacations, devising epic Halloween costumes, and his favorite phrase: “Everyone needs a weird father.” He loved the performing arts and maintained lifelong involvement in theater as both an actor and director, and founded two community theater groups, including the Reston Players in Reston, Va. He was also an avid traveler and tennis player.

While still working full-time as a lawyer, he pursued a degree in theology. He completed two years of study at New York Theological Seminary in 1980-81 and additional coursework at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1982, Rice University in 1984, and the Houston Graduate School of Theology in 1986-87. He taught a number of theology, history and Biblical studies courses over the years wherever he and his family were residing. In 1993 Bob left the practice of law to become a teacher at the White Mountain School in Bethlehem, N.H. For the next nine years, he shared his knowledge, wisdom and love of life with the students there as a teacher, athletic coach, theater director, and dorm parent.

In 2002 he suffered a serious stroke. Unable to continue working, he and his wife Pat left the school and moved to Lake Monticello, Va., where they remained to the present day. Though Bob’s ability to pursue many of his passions was limited after his stroke, he and Pat continued to enjoy music together, singing with the Fluvanna Community Singers for the past 10 years.

He is survived by his wife Pat; six children; and eight grandchildren. 

He will be remembered at a memorial ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, at 3 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Simeon, located at 1333 Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Charlottesville, Va.

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George BurnettGeorge William Burnett, of Lake Monticello, Va., died at home Nov. 29, 2017, surrounded by family. Amongst the last things George said were, “It’s good to be home.” He then softly sang, “I only have eyes for you.” He had a smile on his face.

George was the youngest son of William and Margaret Sullivan Burnett. He is survived by his wife Florann, son William George and his wife Renee, daughter Cheryl Ann Hoffman and her husband Thomas, and son Dennis Patrick Burnett and his wife Monica.

Grandchildren are Caisey Rose Hoffman, Monica Burnett Castellano and husband Jeffrey, Crystina Burnett Watkins and husband Jeffrey, Dennis William Burnett, and Tyler Burnett; great-granddaughters Eloise Aria Castellano and Juniper Willa Castellano; first cousin Karen Sneed and her husband Johnny; and godchildren Janice Zappala and Cheryl Ann Piggot.

George was born in Jersey City, N.J. in 1937. He grew up in Bayonne, N.J., where he graduated from Bayonne High School. During his career, he became a master electrician and managed his brother’s company, Burnett Electric.

He worked there for 37 years as both supervisor and foreman.

George was a charitable, loving man. He was a member and Worshipful Master of Peninsula Lodge #99, and president of the Masonic Temple Board in Bayonne, N.J. for many years. Most recently, he was treasurer of the Cabell Masonic Lodge in Kents Store, Va. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.

George loved ice cream, golfing, fishing, hunting, boating, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren…and Florann. We will miss him greatly.

We celebrated George’s life at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 4309 Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Palmyra, Va. The family received friends at 10 a.m. before the service. A reception followed the service.

Friends are welcome to visit at Florann and George’s home.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to Meals on Wheels, Caring for Creatures, or your own favorite charity, in memory of George.

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Blair SuberRalph Blair Surber on Nov. 24, 2017, ended his battle with cancer and died at his Palmyra home with his wife by his side. He was preceded in death by his father, Ralph Blair Surber, Sr. He is survived by his mother, Mary Dixon Surber; his wife, Judith “Judy” Joy Surber; daughter, Joy Walczak Byington of Michigan; son, Greg Blair Surber of Texas; five grandchildren, Jacob, Ellen, Samuel and Megan Walczak and Keith Surber; and three great-grandchildren, Terrallyn Surber and Declan and Roman Walczak.

Blair was born in Burlington, Iowa on Dec. 11, 1938. He excelled in his career in the purebred cattle industry and upon retirement excelled in the sport of trapshooting. The family wishes to thank his cattle and trapshooting buddies who continued to keep in touch with him until the end.

In accordance with Blair’s request, friends and family will be invited to a special gathering given by Judy at a future date. He believed in the pursuit of our personal responsibility of citizenship and felt strongly about supporting the Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution State Regent’s Project. This project underwrites a conference room in the newly built Center for the Constitution at Montpelier, the lifelong home of James Madison. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: State Treasurer, Virginia DAR, 1814 Pocahontas Street, Lynchburg, Va., 24501-4416.

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Anthony RugariAnthony D. “Tony” Rugari, 85, of Lake Monticello, passed away Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, at his home following a lengthy illness of myasthenia gravis and heart arrhythmia.

He was born April 10, 1932, in Utica, N.Y., son of the late Luigi and Maria (Labbozzetta) Rugari. 

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Theresa; and son-in-law, Eric Kittle.

Anthony graduated from Syracuse University in 1958 and worked as a research physicist for the Department of Defense. He was a disabled veteran, having served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Professionally, he was a member of the American Optical Society; Society for Information Display; and a life member of the Institute for Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE).

Survivors include his loving wife of 57 years, Janet (Gifford) Rugari; four children, Anthony Jr. of Alexandria, Steven and wife Angela of Herndon, Janice Coffield and husband Brian of Troy, and Linda Kittle of Manassas; four grandchildren, Joseph, Thomas, Catherine, and Samuel; four brothers, John and wife Maria, and Joseph and wife Mary, all of Utica, N.Y., Louis and wife Camille of New Hartford, N.Y., and Frank and wife Susan of Hico, Texas; a sister, Sophia Godward and husband Tom of Brookfield, Conn.; and numerous nieces, nephews, and other extended family members.

In honoring Tony’s wishes, there will be no services and burial will be private. Thacker Brothers Lake Monticello Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Family and friends may share memories and photos at www.thackerbrothers.com.

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Ricki CollinsRicki  James Collins, 59, of Palmyra, Va., passed away Oct. 3, 2017.

He is survived by his wife and very best friend, Laurie Beth Collins.

He was the extraordinary father to Randall Stuart James Collins, Daniel Travis Williams and Candace Ivy Collins. He had a special relationship with his grandsons, Raiden James Stuart Collins, Kenneth Downing, and his great-nephew, Eli “Slick” Fitzgerald.

Ricki was the son of Ivy Glass and Robert Stuart Glass of Louisa. He was the brother of Rita Sue Glass, R.S. Glass, Jr., and Randall A. Collins, wife, Vickie and a special brother-in-law to Kelly McCutcheon Franz. He was a special uncle to Samantha and Timmy Fitzgerald.

Most of all Ricki loved his family and his Virginia Cavalier sports. Many of his happiest moments were with his family at U.Va. sporting events, road trips and tailgating with very special friends.

Following a 20-year naval career he worked for the Virginia Department of Corrections and volunteered with the board of the Jefferson Swim League and the FAST swim team.

Teague Funeral Home handled the arrangements. Visitation took place Tuesday, Oct. 10 from 6-8 p.m. In honor of Ricki, attendees were asked to wear blue and orange game day gear.

A final military honor salute and committal of ashes took place Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 11 a.m. at the Bybee Baptist Church in Troy.

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