RICHMOND — Eliza Beck Cofer, 93, of Richmond, died on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, after a long illness. Eliza was born and raised in Dinwiddie, and had lived in Richmond for the past 48 years. At Dinwiddie High School she was a basketball star and concert pianist, and was the valedictorian of the class of 1941. She graduated from Randolph Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg in 1945, and began a lifelong career as an elementary school teacher of English, science, and mathematics. She taught for many years at the John B. Cary School in Richmond before her retirement. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, John I. Cofer III, and daughter, Martha McLaurin Cofer. She is survived by her two sons, John I. Cofer IV and James Jordan Cofer; her daughter-in-law Sharon Nazzaro Cofer; two grandchildren, Emily Elizabeth Kramer and John I. Cofer V; and two great grandchildren, John I. Cofer VI and Quinn Marie Kramer. A graveside memorial service will be held at the Ivy Hill Cemetery in Smithfield, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9.

Donald Edgar “Don” Simkins Jr., 78, died peacefully, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.  Born in Norfolk, he was the son of the late Donald E. Sr. and Florence E. Simkins.

Don was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, nephew and cousin.  He leaves to cherish his memory his wife of 53 years, Helen W. Simkins; three sons, Wesley Simkins (Moni), Timothy Simkins (Anita) and Brian Simkins (Kellie); seven grandchildren, Tara, Nicholas, Courtland, Haley, Joshua, Katelyn, Natalie and Carver; and three great-grandchildren: Elijah, Trinity and Triston. Don had a particularly strong relationship with his nephew, DJ Everton-Lovell.

His sisters, Nita Everton and Donna Brown and their families; aunts, Nita Argante and Iva Everton; cousin, C.J. Everton Jr. (Sharon); and a host of extended family and friends will sorely miss Don’s warm personality, sense of humor and mentorship. 

In addition to his parents, Don was predeceased by his granddaughter, Daniella.

Don and his wife Helen started their married lives in Newport News. They also spent some 20 years in Wilmington, N.C. and five years in Jeffersonville, Ind. They have been living in Smithfield for the last 10 years.  

Don enjoyed weekends at home with his family, chasing his great-grandson and visiting local museums. Quick of wit, Don left a smile with everyone who knew or came in contact with him. 

A graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Don spent over five decades as a nuclear engineer. At the time of his death, he was a consultant and mentor at the Brunswick Power Plant in Southport, N.C.  

Family and friends will gather for visitation at 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 25, in Colonial Funeral Home, Carrollton, followed by a service at 2 p.m. to celebrate Don’s life.  

The family requests that memorial contributions be made in Don’s name at www. or Hope Floats, 414 James Tart Road, Lillington, N.C.  27546.
Service arrangements are in the care of Colonial Funeral Home, Carrollton.  Friends and family are encouraged to post condolences and remembrances at





Peggy Xeria Martin Egan of Smithfield passed away Sunday, Nov, 19, 2017. Born in 1929 and raised in Pass Christian, Miss., she was completely devoted to her family and her Christian faith. She shared with her husband, William John Egan (Bill), of 62 years their lifelong love of sailing adventures, hard work, animals, music and writing. Peggy's motto and the title of one of her writings was "Never Lose Your Romance with Life."

Known to her friends as Peggy, she is survived by three children: Bill Jr. and his wife Betsy; Michael and Connie; three grandchildren, Elizabeth Egan, William Egan III and Cody James Egan; two great grandsons, Noah and Liam; a great granddaughter, Thalia; several nieces and nephews, especially her beloved niece, Donna Levine.  Peggy is dearly missed.

Peggy met her husband in "The Pass" after WWII. Their love of music, singing and dancing, and their shared ethics of strong family values and respect for people, soon had them tying the knot that held fast for 62 years. When Bill Jr. was born, Bill Sr. used the GI Bill to enroll at the University of Mississippi at Oxford and Peggy worked at the telephone company to support the family's financial needs.  Following Bill's graduation in 1953, the family moved to Baton Rouge, La. where Bill worked as a civil/structural engineer for Ethyl Corporation and Peggy continued her employment with the telephone company until she had her daughter Connie and her other son, Michael. Peggy satisfied her passion for continuous learning by taking classes at LSU. 

Bill and Peggy's love of the Gulf coast led to a "vacation" home in Bay St Louis where the family first built and then bought boats, and also self constructed two houses on and near Bay St Louis, Miss. All of these passions were done on the weekends as the family lived, went to school and worked in Baton Rouge.  Peggy survived a serious radical mastectomy operation in 1967. Peggy credited her survival to a "decision" she made to live, in spite of the prevailing medical prognosis/opinion provided to her.  And live she did!

The family moved to Carthage Tenn. in 1968 where Bill managed the construction of a new aluminum extrusion plant that Ethyl Corporation was building. While in Carthage, Peggy was active in the Red Cross, American Cancer Society, PTA, Girl Scouts, church and music programs. 

The family then moved to Newnan, Ga. in 1970 where Ethyl Corporation was also expanding a large aluminum plant. When landlocked in Newnan, the family substituted the pastoral life for seagoing adventures. Peggy became the matriarch of a 27-acre farm, Whispering Pines, in Newnan. The land was transformed by the family from a pine thicket to an upscale horse ranch/farm.  Peggy could be seen leading a content parade of escaped pets (cows, horses, bull) along the country road back to their pens.

Upon Bill's retirement from Ethyl in 1978, Bill and Peggy sold or stored all of their belongings and sailed away; they lived on board a 38-foot Island Trader sailboat for a year.  Peggy and Bill eventually ended up in Pensacola, Fla. where they continued their romance with the sea and sailboats until Bill's death in 2007. Following Bill's death, Peggy moved to Smithfield, which she acclaimed as being "an absolutely amazing town with wonderful people." She sowed seeds of joyfulness and made many friends.

A service celebrating Peggy's life will be held Saturday, Nov. 25, 2 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, Smithfield, with the Rev. Connie W. Gilman and the Rev. Bob Gilman officiating. A reception will follow after the service in the parish hall. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any memorials be made in her memory to Christ Episcopal Church, 111 S. Church St., Smithfield, VA 23430, or Sentara Hospice House, Sentara Hospice Fund,

Arrangements are by Colonial Funeral Home, 14214 Carrollton Blvd. Carrollton. Family and friends may share condolences and remembrances at



SURRY — Wayne Alexander Sprouse passed away on Nov. 14, 2017. Wayne was born on Dec. 13, 1929.  He was preceded in death by his sisters, Julia Daughtery and Mary Jane McKaig. 

Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 53 years, Earlene; children, David Koren (Robbie) of Ashland, Elysia Edmondson (Richard) of Chesapeake, Merri Branchaud (Phillip) of Suffolk and Michael Sprouse (Angelia) of Suffolk; eight grandchildren, a great-grandson and many cousins, nephews and friends.

Wayne will be remembered for his service in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and also for his years as a chemist and a quality control manager at Lipton Tea. He was an elder at Suffolk Presbyterian Church and a member of Surry Methodist Church.  Wayne was recently re-elected vice-mayor of Surry. 

A graveside service will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 11 a.m. at the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery 5310 Milners Road, Suffolk, by the Rev. Ray Roland. 
The family is being assisted by R. W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home and Crematory, 509 W. Washington St. Suffolk. Condolences may be offered online at 

Arlene Collins Hassell, 81, passed away Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. A native of Richwood, W.V., she had been a Battery Park resident since 1970. Mom was always a hard worker and it showed in how she lived her life.  Raised in the coal fields of West Virginia, she started work early in life working at a clothes pin factory before traveling down to North Carolina in the summer of 1958.  It was there she met the love of her life, Vernon, and they married in November 1958.  Together, they raised three sons and in the summer of 1970 moved to Battery Park.   A Proverbs 31 type woman, mom was a former member of Battery Park and Carrollton Baptist and most recently Harvest Fellowship Baptist Church where she attended as much as her health would permit.  

A beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Arlene was preceded in death by her husband of 47 years, Vernon, and is survived by three sons, Nathan (Mary), Donald (Tracy) of Smithfield, Jack (Anita) of Carrollton., and grandchildren, Joshua, Daniel, Hannah, John, James, Emerald, Cory, Robin, Jalee, Cody, Caleb and Basil; and great grandchildren, Gabrielle, Kaden, Zoey, Eric Jr., Philip and Addison; a sister, Elaine Piper, and a brother, Leo Collins.  

A celebration of life service will be conducted Tuesday Nov 7, 11 a.m. at Harvest Fellowship Baptist Church with the Pastor Randy Green officiating. Burial will follow in Battery Park Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 7 - 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6 at Little’s Funeral Home, Smithfield. 
The family wishes to express their special thanks to Tina Henry and Georgina Foumthim for the love and care they provided mom for the last two years of her life.  The family suggests memorials to Harvest Fellowship Baptist Church Building Fund, 19290 Battery Park Road, Smithfield, VA 23430. Condolences may be registered online at