James Bradley Crabtree, age 80, passed way on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, at his home, surrounded by his loving family. James was born on December 1, 1942, in Washington County, VA to the late Ira Fields Crabtree and Maude Ellis Crabtree. He attended Blackwell’s Chapel Elementary school and graduated from Glade Spring High School in 1960. James worked for US Gypsum in Saltville prior to joining the United States Army in 1964 where he served 3 years as Combat Engineering Battalion with 13 months active duty in the Vietnam Conflict. He was a great mechanic and enjoyed diesel mechanics which was evidenced by him working at Campbell Motors and being a co-owner of D&C Exxon in Glade Spring. He spent many years working for Bonham Oil Company, both delivering oil and working Mr. Bonham’s farm, as well as “moonlighting” as a mechanic. After retirement, he continued hobby farming at his family's homeplace and it wasn’t uncommon to see James in the front yard in the swing, “Checking for holes in his eyelids.” He never wanted to be the center of attention, but often was because of his humor and natural gift at storytelling. James liked to hang out each morning with his Marathon club and his friends at Glade Auto Parts, often solving the world’s problems and telling some tall tales.
His biggest buddies were his grandchildren, LeAnne (he nicknamed “Fireball Roberts” because of lead foot) and Reed (he nicknamed “Injun Joe” because of knowledge of knives and ability to get a cut). He was a member of Blackwell’s Chapel. He was a member of the VFW Post # 4667 and American Legion. He served on the Mt. Rogers Planning Commission and was an original member of the first Jaycees club in Glade Spring.
In addition to his parents, James was preceded in death by his brothers, William Crabtree, Junior Willet Crabtree, and John E. Crabtree.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Carolyn Price Crabtree; one son, Brad Crabtree II and his wife, Lisa; two grandchildren, LeAnne Crabtree and Reed Crabtree; sisters-in-law, Eva Lynn Crabtree, and Nina Crabtree; brother-in-law, Gene Price and his wife, Ruby; nieces and nephews, Rachel Cocke and her husband, Brandon; David Crabtree and his wife, Angie, Shawnie Brown and her husband, Rob, and Tina Price. Numerous great nieces and nephews also survive.
The family will receive friends on Friday, April 14, 2023, from 5:00 pm until 7:00 pm at Main Street Chapel of Farris Funeral Service. The funeral will be held at 7:00 pm following the visitation with Pastor Roger O’Quinn officiating. The burial will be held on Saturday, April 15, 2023 at 11 am at Mount Rose Cemetery. Those wishing to attend the graveside service, please be at the funeral home by 10:00 am on Saturday to proceed to the cemetery. Military honors will be provided by Highlands Veteran’s Honor Guard and Virginia Army Military Honors National Guard.
Pallbearers will be Olen White, Greg Rector, Bob Cuddy, Jason Shepherd, Jeff Gobble, Mike Mash, Kevin Freeman, Mike Harmon. Honorary pallbearers will be Ted Lester, Herbie Herman, The Blackwell’s Chapel area gang, the Marathon group and his friends from Glade Auto Parts, and, the host of friends, neighbors, farmers, loafers, and all who loved to hear a good story.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to:
St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.
River Bend Church, 24534 Brumley Gap Rd, Abingdon, VA 24210.
Blackwell’s Chapel, 8329 Blackwell Chapel Rd, Meadowview, VA 24361.
The family of James B. Crabtree is being cared for by Farris Funeral Service & Crematory, Main Street location, 427 E. Main Street, Abingdon VA 276-623-2700.