Rachel Bradshaw, age 91, died July 28, 2018, passing into the loving arms of her Lord. We know the angels in heaven received her with open arms. She was born on October 11, 1926 to Willie Jewel Porter and Benjamin Clark Fortner in St. Paul, Va., then lived in Big Stone Gap, but lived her adult life in the Tidewater area. She attended First United Methodist Church in Norfolk for many years and loved teaching Sunday school and playing the piano. She was a member of the T.E. Landis Bible Class and a member of the Lucy Clyde Blanton Circle. She was also a member of the Eastern Star. In more recent years, she attended Baylake United Methodist Church.
Her passion in life was teaching music and she helped many during her 60+ years of teaching. She was an active member of Tidewater Music Teachers Assn., Va Music Teachers Assn., American College of Musicians, and various local music clubs. In earlier years she taught music at Newton’s Piano and Jordan Kitts Temple of Music. In 1992 she received Jordan Kitts Rookie of the Year Award and won an all expense paid trip to Paradise Island in the Bahamas. She performed at local venues including fashion shows, Harbor Club, private parties, weddings, churches, Flying Tigers conventions, and she especially enjoyed playing live organ music at Scope for the Redwings Ice Hockey Team. Her favorite game was when 3 referees scampered across the ice and she played “Three Blind Mice”! Even in her retirement, she taught several piano students, the Norris’, on her beloved piano in her room at Bay Lake Assisted Living.
Rachel will be remembered for her love of life, her optimistic outlook, her caring nature, always willing to help others. Her strong faith in God sustained her throughout her life, she always said she knew she was never alone, that God was always with her. She is predeceased by her husbands, Nelson M. Forbes and Harold “Brad” Bradshaw. She was devoted to her husbands and took great care of them during their long illnesses. She was also predeceased by brothers Ben and Boyd Fortner, sister Jean Cobb, and son David and his wife Nancy. Survivors include 3 children, Susan Thomas, Don Forbes and wife Faye, Rebecca Brooks and husband Micah, 6 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren, and 1 great great grandchild, sister Marcella Whitson and family, a host of relatives and friends, and step children David, Rick, and Rob Bradshaw and their families.
The family would like to thank the staff of Bay Lake Ret/Assisted Living for their loving care and support. Rachel loved living at Bay Lake for 3 years and would always welcome newcomers and make them feel at home. More recently she resided at Sentara Nursing Center/Rosemont in Va. Beach. She received wonderful care from all the staff. Her last years there were peaceful and comfortable. The family would like to thank all the wonderful caretakers, God bless you all. Donations can be made in Rachel’s name to the First United Methodist Church or any music teachers association. A memorial service will be held at Altmeyer Funeral Home 5033 Rouse Dr. VB on Friday, August 17, 2018 at 6:00pm with a reception to follow. Online condolences can be shared with the family at altmeyerfh.com.
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