Brig. Gen. Joseph A. Washington

Published 10:25 am Tuesday, December 31, 2019

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RICHMOND — Brigadier General Joseph Alfred “Al” Washington (USAF, retired) of Richmond, Virginia, 84, passed away at his home peacefully with his family by his side on Dec. 28, 2019, after a long and courageous battle with prostate cancer.

Brig. Gen. Joseph A. Washington

He was preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Lila Mae Smith Washington of Boykins, Virginia.

Al was born on Nov. 22, 1935, and raised on a peanut farm near Boykins. Upon graduation from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1957, he entered the United States Air Force pilot training program. He received his pilot’s wings in 1959, and after completing F-86 training became a flight instructor at Craig Air Force Base in Selma, Alabama. During this time, he met Martha Grace Hardy and they married on Aug. 4, 1962.

In 1965, Al transferred to the Virginia Air National Guard as an F-84F and T-33 pilot. In 1977, he was selected as the 149th Fighter Squadron commander flying the F-105D and later the A-7D. He became commander of all Virginia Air National Guard units in 1987 and was promoted to Brigadier General. As the State Commander, he successfully spearheaded the effort to acquire the F-16 for the Virginia Air National Guard. Al retired from the Air National Guard in 1992 with 35 years of military service.

Simultaneously with his Virginia Air National Guard career, he had a long civilian career as a corporate pilot with Ethyl Corporation in Richmond flying several types of corporate jets. He retired as that company’s Chief Pilot in 1995 after 27 years of service and over 13,000 hours of flying time.

Al enjoyed fishing off of the Outer Banks on his boat named “Check Six.” He especially enjoyed fishing the Blackwater and Nottoway rivers in Southampton County with his boyhood friends. He also spent a lot of enjoyable time working in his large vegetable garden and fruit orchard.

Al is survived by his devoted wife of 57 years, Martha Grace Hardy Washington; his daughter, Alice Hardy Washington Mitchell, her husband, Kevin Lee Mitchell; his son, William Brian Washington, his fiancée Jennifer Lee Davis; and his beloved granddaughter, Grace Ann Mitchell, all of Richmond. He is also survived by two sisters, Mary Elizabeth Washington of Boykins, and Martha Ann Washington Wright and her husband, Robert Wright of Chesapeake, Virginia. Surviving sisters-in-law are Alice Hardy Payne of Auburn, Alabama, and Kathryn Mayo Hardy of Selma, Alabama. Remaining survivors are many loving nieces and nephews, and a host of extended family and friends.

The funeral will be on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, at 11 a.m., in First Baptist Church. Interment will be private in Hollywood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Angel Flight Mid Atlantic, 4620 Haygood Road, Suite 2, Virginia Beach, VA 23455; or First Baptist Church, 2709 Monument Ave., Richmond VA 23220

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