Hugh Thomas Berkley
Published 3:03 pm Thursday, July 4, 2019
Hugh Thomas Berkley 68, of Blackstone, VA, died June 23, 2019 following complications from the treatment for a
brain tumor. He never complained or lost his sense of humor throughout his long ordeal. He will be remembered for his pleasant personality, quick wit, innovative thinking, collaborative but competitive style and for his love of classic cars, classic country and classic rock. He was a life-long fan of the New York Yankees.
Born August 23, 1950 to Morgan and Emma Wilkerson Berkley, Hugh graduated from Randolph-Henry High School in 1968. He worked for Craddock-Terry Shoe Corporation and was recruited to the Blackstone factory in 1973 where he began many friendships that remained the rest of his life. He relished the softball games between local factories in the area. In 1978 Hugh joined ICI Americas in Hopewell, where he was instrumental in developing and implementing the Safety, Health and Environment Department. Hugh became Chief Operator with the Town of Blackstone Water Utilities Department in 1997 and retired in 2016 due to his illness. Hugh’s life’s interest was in Emergency Medical Services. For over 43 years, he was a leader in prehospital emergency care on the local, regional and state levels as a volunteer paramedic, community leader and educator. He was passionate about attending to patients and their families in a medical crisis. His guiding principle which he shared at every
opportunity was, “Did we do our best and how do we do better?” He began as an EMT-Basic in 1977 and was the first nationally registered paramedic in Nottoway County in 1989. Hugh led the Nottoway County Emergency Squad as Captain for over 20 years. As an EMT and ALS Instructor and Education Coordinator, he taught over 40 EMT, Cardiac, and Shock-Trauma/Enhanced classes and taught his last class in June 2016 while undergoing
Hugh is survived by his wife Laura Watts Williamson and by her children whom he treasured and enjoyed as his own: Caroline W. Herath (Jeff) of Yorktown, VA, Matthew L. Williamson of rural Crewe, VA, and Laura K. Mondrey (Carlos) of Blackstone, VA. His grandsons were the light and joy of his life: Christopher Fray Herath,
Michael Alan Herath, Jesse Aaron Mondrey and Jasper Thomas Mondrey. Whether it was fishing, playing putt-putt, attending soccer games or piano recitals, or playing board games, if it involved one of his grandsons, he would be there. Hugh is also survived by sisters Etta Powers, McKenney, VA, and Louise Wright, Farmville, VA, and sister-inlaw Joyce Berkley, Richmond, VA. In addition to his parents, his brothers Paul Berkley, Roy Berkley
and sister Martha Jackson predeceased him.
A memorial service of worship and celebration of the life of Hugh Thomas Berkley was held on Saturday, July 27 at 2:30 p.m. at Blackstone Presbyterian Church, with Rev. Dr. Peter C. Smith officiating. Afterwards, the family greeted friends for fellowship and remembrance from at Blackstone Herb Cottage. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions in memory of Hugh Berkley to Nottoway County Emergency Squad, P.O. Box 453, Crewe, VA 23930; or to Blackstone Presbyterian Church, 301 Church St., Blackstone, VA 23824.
Arrangements by Joseph McMillian Funeral Home, Blackstone, VA. www.mcmillianfuneralhome.