Wendell James Pile

Published 5:31 pm Friday, June 21, 2019

Wendell James Pile passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 16 at his home in Smithfield on the day that he and Billie (deceased, March 2015) would have celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary.

Wendell was born in Ray, N.D. to Ann Catherine and Fred Webber Pile on Aug. 5, 1922. Raised in nearby Fargo, he was enamored with the local Native American culture.

He attended North Dakota State, the University Medical School and University of Illinois Medical School. He served as a U.S. Army surgeon during that time. Dr. Pile completed his residency at Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg before moving to Newport News to establish his private practice, as the first psychiatrist on the Peninsula. In 1959, he founded Bayberry Psychiatric Hospital in Hampton, where he was medical director until 1978. He continued his practice and served on boards and as a consultant to Langley AFB and NASA until his retirement. Dr. Pile was highly decorated and published in his specialty.

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As a child, Wendell began a lengthy and accomplished musical pursuit, playing piccolo and flute in local symphony, church organ and became a consummate classical pianist. His love for classical music, especially opera, led him to a leadership seat in the Virginia Opera Association and support of local arts community. He enjoyed challenging outdoor sports. He became an avid golfer, an enthusiastic equestrian and competitive tennis player. He loved sailing and yachting and eventually captained a total of five family “PILE INN” vessels.

Dr. Pile became a creative investor, business entrepreneur and real estate developer, credited for many area neighborhoods and successful business ventures. A longtime member of James River Country Club, he was also a founding and charter member of Cedar Point Country Club, and co-founded two local banks. He supported his wife’s vision and enterprise, building the Newport News Ramada Inn and popular nightclub of the 80’s.

Dr. Pile is survived by sons, Jim (Beth), and William (Lisa); daughters, Virginia King and Nancy Griffin (Clay); ten grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and was predeceased by daughter, Margaret Anne (Peggy) Pile in 1974.

Wendell was slow to anger, quick to laugh, and his listening skills made him an effective and well-loved psychiatrist. He will be missed by family and friends, including the hundreds of families he served through the years.

A visitation will be held at Peninsula Funeral Home in Newport News on Saturday, June 22 from 3-5 p.m. A memorial service will take place on June 23 at 2:30 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 201 Cedar St., Smithfield.

Contributions can be made to Trinity United Methodist Church, Smithfield and St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, S.D.