Remembering Buddy Whorton

John 3:16 — For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

The soul of a beloved local man now rests eternally in the arms of the Prince of Peace. Franklin Lee Whorton, better known to all as Buddy, leaves behind hundreds of mourners; his bereaved wife Betty, their children and grandchildren, and the countless lives he touched. His service overflowed with closely knit church brethren, many his kin, all congregants of the Amissville Full Gospel Church.

Weeping silently, Betty sat surrounded by generations of prominent families filling the chapel to capacity. Whortons, Lams, Hitts, Settles, Vances, Woodwards, direct Hatfield and McCoy descendants, many families of Rappahannock, Culpeper and neighboring counties, gathered at Moser’s funeral parlor in Warrenton for the service.

Pastor James Pittman, of Amissville Full Gospel, Buddy’s church, officiated a powerful and impassioned oratory. The funeral procession, an unbroken chain of vehicles brimming with somber faces, a tribute to his life, stretched for miles along Route 211 en route to the internment at Rappahannock Washington Masonic Cemetery.

Tim Vance, Amissville Full Gospel Sunday School preacher and Buddy’s son-in-law, took to the funeral parlor podium. He spoke of Buddy’s charming unpredictability and of his health challenges.

“For as many years as I can remember,” Tim relayed, “Buddy’s life was very much an unknown event, meaning you couldn’t predict where he would show up, or what he would have in his hand when he arrived, or most unknown, as most of us can attest — what he would say!” Family and friends laughed at this commentary. Indeed, Betty, his loving wife, smiled and nodded her head knowingly.

Lexi, Buddy’s granddaughter, followed Tim’s eulogy. She spoke of her Pawpaw, the man she said spoiled her so much, who showered her with beautiful dresses and always said, “I thought of you when I saw this.” With tears flowing she softly whispered, “I love you, Pawpaw.”

Jamie, Buddy’s daughter, said, “Daddy was disabled so he was home with us while momma worked. He loved to tinker with what most would call junk.” She recounted his attempt to repair the broken handle of her crockpot and, to peels of laughter, described how he’d replaced it with a screwdriver sticking out one end thinking that was completely normal.

The service was punctuated with hymnal music provided by family members, including Clarissa Lam singing in her sweet, dulcet voice, “I’m using the Bible for a Road Map” and “God is on the Mountain.”

As Pastor Pittman concluded his homage, he held up a large canister filled with mints and asked that it be shared. Buddy, you see, was known to supply handfuls of mints to his church brethren, even reaching out fistfuls to Pastor Pittman as he preached his trademark fiery sermons in the aisles. With a pained smile, the pastor told of a child of the church who’d asked him plaintively, “Well who’s going to give out the mints now?”

The Washington Masonic Cemetery played host to the hundreds standing blanketed in the welcome shade, saying their final goodbyes. Psalms were read, hymns chorused and a tearful rendition of Amazing Grace sung acapella by all in attendance concluded the internment. Later, at the Castleton Fire Hall, over a bounty of home-cooked food, heartfelt hugs and many a tear, poignant stories of Buddy were shared.

Buddy was a man of immeasurable kindness, bestowed upon his family, friends and many a stranger as well. He will be greatly missed.

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