Stuart Sr., David Brakenridge
Stuart Sr. David Brakenridge February 28, 2017 David Brakenridge Stuart Sr. of Portsmouth, died peacefully on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 surrounded by his children. He was born in 1929 in Pulaski, Va. and then lived in Roanoke, where his father located his medical practice in 1933. He was the son of the late Mary Park Stuart and David Brakenridge Stuart of Roanoke, Va. David was predeceased by his bride of 60 years, Elizabeth Markley Stuart, well known to friends and family as Betsey; his sister, Agnes Stuart Yore; and his brother, Alfred Wright Stuart. He is survived by his three children, David Stuart Jr. (Diana), Mary Leming and Faith McArdle. He will be greatly missed by his seven grandchildren, David and Christopher Stuart, Elizabeth, Sarah, John and David Leming, Robert McArdle and three great-grandchildren. David graduated from VMI in 1953. After graduation, he married Elizabeth “Betsey” Markley and spent two years in the Army, serving as a 2nd Lt. in Korea. He returned to Roanoke before relocating to Portsmouth in 1964. He began a 35 year career in the natural gas industry. He was associated with Portsmouth Gas Company and Commonwealth Gas Services as a director and officer. He retired in 1991 as a Regional Manager with Columbia Gas of Virginia. After retirement, he established and operated Prison Square Antiques on High Street in downtown Portsmouth during the 1990’s. A long time champion of Portsmouth as well as Hampton Roads, David was a member of the Portsmouth Rotary Club for more than 50 years where he was a Paul Harris Fellow and a past president. He served as the board president of Portsmouth General Hospital, and he later served as the board president of Tidewater Health Care. He was president of the Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Portsmouth Museum Board, president of The Portsmouth General Hospital Foundation, and a member of the Navy League of Hampton Roads. David was active in the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia and chaired the committee to relocate its headquarters to Portsmouth. For many years he was a member of the Portsmouth Civil Service Commission. In the late 1980’s he and other community leaders started Community Trust Bank where he served as a director. When the bank was acquired by Crestar Bank, he continued as a local board member until its merger with SunTrust Bank. David was an active member of First Presbyterian Church of Portsmouth for many years where he was a church officer and a trustee. He felt good fellowship was vital to the church and cooked many well loved Wednesday night dinners. He was involved in a great many events and projects including the revitalization of the church courtyard. David later became a member of Green Acres Presbyterian Church. David held a particular interest in gardening and earned the designation of Master Gardener after his retirement. He was an organic gardener well before it was popular and had an enormous garden each summer. He enjoyed sharing the bounty of the garden with everyone and was well known for the spiced figs he canned yearly. A strong faith and service to others were David’s strongest priorities and he was known as a resourceful and creative thinker. He had a natural ability to soundly encourage others who sought out his advice whether in their personal lives or their careers. He always took the time to visit a friend in the hospital or deliver a meal to someone in need. In 1992 he went to Homestead, Fla. as a volunteer with the Salvation Army to help with relief efforts after Hurricane Andrew. There he stayed in the “big red tent” and cooked and served meals for hundreds each day. He epitomized the Rotary motto of “service above self.” David will be remembered as a gentleman, for his thoughtful servant heart, and his impeccable integrity. He had an uncanny ability to transform the simplest things into treasures, whether it was refinishing a piece of furniture or transforming something ordinary into the truly extraordinary. The enduring love and devotion that he and Betsey shared continues to be an inspiration to his children and grandchildren. A memorial service in celebration of his life will be held Monday, March 6, 2017 at noon at Green Acres Presbyterian Church in Portsmouth. The service will be conducted by the Reverend Rebecca Leslie and followed by a reception in the social hall. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Green Acres Presbyterian Church, 3135 Hanley Avenue, Portsmouth, Va., 23703 or First Presbyterian Church of Portsmouth, 515 Court Street, Portsmouth, Va., 23704. A private service will be held at the Green Acres Presbyterian Church Columbarium at a later date. Condolences may be registered at BWFosterFuneralHome.com.