John W. Raiford

Published 11:54 am Monday, April 24, 2023

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FRANKLIN – John William Raiford, known as Billy or Pop to his friends and family, passed away on Thursday, April 21, 2023 after a short battle with lung cancer. Billy was born on Dec. 12, 1933 and was a lifetime resident of Franklin. After high school Billy worked at St. Regis until he joined the Army in 1953. During his 2 ½ year service, he was stationed in South Korea and Hokkaido, Japan.

John W. Raiford

After his return in October 1955, he met and married the love of his life, Joan, his wife of 65 years. They enjoyed many happy years together until Joan’s death in December 2022. Billy worked at S.W. Rawls for 18 years and retired from the city of Franklin as a supervisor with Public Works after 23 years.

Billy was skilled in a wide range of repairs and was always readily available to help his family, friends and church. His motto was, “It’s good to be needed.” He was the happiest when helping others and was involved in many projects including solving electrical problems, building decks and troubleshooting water well issues.

Billy was preceded in death by his wife, Joan Lowe Raiford, his parents, John Shelton and Sadie Bass Raiford, his sister Brenda Luna, and his son-in-law Lawrence Beale. Left to cherish his memory are his two daughters, Joann Gatten (Burdette) and Sue Beale both of Franklin, a sister Audrey Gagner of Franklin, his grandchildren, who affectionately refer to him as Pop, Gabby and Barclay Gatten and Megan and Miles Beale, and a special nephew, Noel Luna of Missouri.

Billy’s family expresses very special thanks to the staff of the skilled care unit at Southampton Memorial Hospital where he was loved and received great care.

A memorial service will be held on Monday, May 1 at 2 p.m. at Franklin Congregational Christian Church with the Rev. James H. Hyatt Jr. officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Franklin Congregational Christian Church, 412 N. High Street, Franklin, VA 23851.