Cecil E. Counts, of Salem, passed away at his home on Wednesday, December 28, 2016. He was born in Washington County, VA on February 10, 1928 to the late Charles Edward and Vada Taylor Counts. Also preceding him in death were his wife of 60 years, Faye Gearheart Counts, sister Evelyn Henderson and sons Fred R. Gearheart, Jr. and Randolf A. Gearheart.
He is survived by his sons, Charles E. Counts, II (Melody) of Washington County; Rodney Rex Gearheart (Shirley) of Dublin, VA; daughter Madeline Terry of Greensboro, NC; grandsons William S. Counts and Charles E. Counts, III; granddaughter, Kaleigh, who always brought a smile to his face; sister Vivian Boardwine (Charles) of Saltville, VA and numerous other grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Cecil was raised on the family farm in Washington County until he entered military service in 1950. He was a staff sergeant and served as a tank gunner with the 245th Tank Battalion, 45th Infantry Division. He served in the Yonchon-Chorwon area of Korea, including sectors fronting Old Baldy, Pork Chop Hill, Heartbreak Ridge and Luke’s Castle. His service medals included the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Korean Service Medal with one Bronze Star, Japan Occupation Medal, United States Service and National Defense Medals.
Cecil retired from the VA Medical Center where he served as a nurse’s aide for 37 years. He dearly loved Bluegrass and Old Time Country Music. He was a self taught fiddle player and performed with the Star Mountain Boys. There was always a weekly jam in the kitchen on Florida St.
Special thanks to the Meals on Wheels volunteers, Dr. Karen Barnhart and staff, Gentiva Health, friends and family who helped keep Cecil at home, special neighbors, the Palmers, and especially Charlie Counts, his grandson, who helped care for Cecil for eight years.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 6 PM, Monday, January 2, 2017 at the Chapel of John M. Oakey & Son in Salem, with a memorial service beginning at 6PM. The Rev. Andrew Taylor-Troutman will officiate. A graveside service will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Meals on Wheels PO Box 14205 Roanoke, VA 24038, as they served Cecil for many years. An online guest book is available for family and friends by visiting www.johnmoakey.com.