Public Announcements


Death in our VCA family - Vernon E. Stuart, Sr.

Vernon E. Stuart Sr., 83, passed away on April 24, 2019. Born in Newport News, VA on July 5, 1935, to Henry C. and Ruby (Price) Stuart. They later moved to New Jersey where his father sailed in convoys with the Merchant Marines during World War II.
After completing Newark Prep during the Korean War, Vernon enrolled in Marine Telegraph School and received his FCC license to serve on merchant ships. With the war still going, he joined the US Navy as a radioman. He later volunteered for submarine duty, serving on the USS Grampus and the USS Redfin. Once honorably discharged from service, he completed his education with an AIB in banking through the College of Hampton Roads and The College of William and Mary.
He began his civilian career working as a loan officer with the Bank of Virginia for a short time, but after having worked at a funeral home doing odd jobs growing up in Kearny, NJ, Vernon always had a yearning to be a part of the funeral and cemetery business. Those ambitions continued when he started college in Virginia and spent time at Caffee Funeral Home in Newport News with Tom Weymouth, volunteering and helping out when needed. He loved the industry, and Tom was a dear friend until his death in 1995. Vernon made his dream come true in 1961 when he founded Carver Memorial Park, now Hampton Memorial Gardens, the first African American perpetual care cemetery in Virginia. He often spoke of having only 17 burials the first year, and now they conduct 500 a year with the heritage it has built over time. Vernon built the first crematories in Hampton and the first indoor chapel mausoleum at Parklawn Memorial Park where he and his family have their crypts.
He later ventured out internationally with the purchase of The Reefs Hotel in Bermuda. Vernon and his wife were the only U.S. citizens in history to own a hotel on the island. Mr. Stuart also purchased the historic Chamberlin Hotel, owning for 19 years the building that served the U.S. Army and civilian guests, saving it from possible demolition.
Vernon is preceded in rest by his parents; his only daughter, Judith Mary, having passed as an infant and his Aunt, Evelyn Stuart.
Vernon is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Mary. He always said “I could not have done it alone, not without her. She was always there for me in good and bad times, and always faithful and supportive.” He is also survived by his two sons, James W. (fiancée Jacqueline Martin) and Vernon Jr.; along with their children, Vernon III, Noah and Jennifer Lynn (our VT graduate we are very proud of); brother, Henry C. Stuart Jr. (Carolyn) of FL; his oldest uncle on his mother’s side, John L. Price (Sally) of Newport News; his dear cousin, Lyn (Stuart) Hart of FL; Donald Hoffler (Eileen) of NJ; Marshall Stinnett Buchanan of VA; brothers- in- law, Bruce Maxwell of FL and James Kiernan (Carol); sister- in- law, Peggy Kiernan of CA; all of his wonderful nephews and cousins and many other beloved extended family on the Stuart and Price sides.
Mr. Stuart was active in many local, national and international projects serving as President of the Virginia Cemetery Association on two occasions, and Director of two National Cemetery Organizations. Vernon and Mary were active in many local fundraising events, including the USS Hampton’s commissioning. In his later years, Vernon devoted hours of research and documented the Stuart Ancestry, Genealogy and Descendant Kinship to J. E. B. Stuart where he and his brother, and cousins Lyn and Marshall are all fifth generations.
Mr. Stuart was a member of the Masonic Lodge, James River Country Club, Hampton Yacht Club, a Real Estate agent and a life member of the Submarine Holland Club.
The family will receive friends 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM, Monday, April 29, 2019, at Parklawn-Wood Funeral Home. A celebration of life service will be held at 11:00 AM, Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in the funeral home. Entombment to follow at the Stuart Family Crypts in Parklawn Memorial Park.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters.
Friends are encouraged to visit to share memories and offer words of condolences with the family.
Arrangements are under the care of Parklawn-Wood Funeral Home and Memorial Park, 2551 N. Armistead Avenue, Hampton, Virginia 23666.