William R.J. “Bill” Fleming, 71, of Bristol, Va., entered the gates of heaven on Monday evening, July 22, 2013, at NHC Healthcare of Bristol with his family by his side.
Bill was born in Johnson City, Tenn., to the late Joseph and Oakley Tribble Fleming. He grew up in Elizabethton and graduated in 1958 from Elizabethton High School. He faithfully served his country as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. He returned home to earn three Master’s Degrees from ETSU. He was a chemist for Beecham Labs and a tax auditor for the Office of Surface Mining, U.S. Department of Interior. He attended Scenic Park Baptist Church.
Bill never met a stranger, loved westerns, old music and waterskiing on Watauga Lake. He had a wonderful sense of humor and was never afraid to speak his mind. Bill had a thirst for knowledge and firmly believed in the power of an education.
Over the last several years, Bill had battled many illnesses related to his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.
Bill loved many things and considered himself to be blessed in many ways, but nothing made his eyes sparkle and spirit thrive more than his granddaughters, Callie and Zoe.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; brother-in-law, Kenneth Stout; nephew, Kenny Stout; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Fred and Mabel Simcox; and sisters-in-law, Elizabeth Rankin and Shelby Hayden.
Survivors include his wife of 32 years, Phyllis Simcox Fleming; two daughters, Kirsten Fleming and Megan Mason and husband, Jonathan, two granddaughters, Callie and Zoe Mason, all of Bristol, Va.; a sister, Rosemary Stout of Johnson City, Tenn.; and many nieces and nephews.
The funeral service for Mr. Fleming will be conducted at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 27, in the Akard Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor Charlie Jones and Rev. Luke Martin officiating. Interment will follow in Mountain View Cemetery with Military Rites conducted by the Bristol VFW Honor Guard. Active pallbearers will be Jonathan Mason, Robert Stout, Steven Stout, Scott Stout, David Stout, Colby Amos, Darby Amos, Keith Owens and Dean Hedrick. Honorary pallbearers will be the staff of NHC, Dallas Hayden, Larry Owens, Bob Hughes, Kenneth Hughes, Harvey “Pappy” Gentry and Bob Mumpower. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Akard Funeral Home or anytime at the home of Megan Mason. Email condolences may be sent to the family at firstname.lastname@example.org
Akard Funeral Home, 1912 W. State Street, Bristol, (423) 989-4800, is serving the family of Mr. Fleming.