Harry (Pete) Gordon Gooch, Jr. 87, of Keswick, Va., passed away on Sunday evening, July 23, after a courageous battle with multiple cancers. Despite spending much of his last two years in and out of treatments, his strength never wavered as he faced each day grateful for the extra time to spend with his family and friends. He was predeceased by father Harry Gordon Gooch and mother Bessie Blythe Britts, both of Troy; sister Margaret Turner of Charlottesville; and brother-in-law, William Parker of Scottsdale, Ariz. He leaves behind his wife of 63 years, Ann Layman Gooch; daughter Della Vache of Frederick, Md.; daughter Anita Schrunk (Tony) of Glen Allen, Va.; son Neil Gooch (Michelle) of Keswick; and his sister, Mildred (Mickey) Parker of Scottsdale, Ariz. His grandkids meant the world to him—Andrew and Julia Vache; Claire, Carter, and Caden Schrunk; Kirsten Frazier; Brooke Deane; Skyler Breeden; and Forest Gentry.
Pete was born on October 17, 1935, and grew up on a simple family farm riddled with old oak trees where he and his sisters raised calves as pets, survived with no indoor plumbing and really did walk to school in the snow. His work ethic was handed down from his father and he used that discipline to drive his long career at State Farm Insurance where he worked in Data Processing. He treasured the outdoors—especially the mountains—and enjoyed hunting and fishing with son Neil and his best buddies. A self-taught mechanic, he loved a chance to tinker with anything broken and almost always succeeded with his (often creative and ingenious) repairs. Bluegrass music was a lifelong passion; he was known as a “pretty good fiddle player,” relishing the time spent with friends and fellow pickers. As a devoted member of Beaverdam Baptist church, he built lasting friendships dear to his heart.
The family will welcome friends and relatives at Hill and Wood funeral home in Charlottesville on Friday, July 28, from 5–7 p.m. A graveside service will be held Saturday, July 29 at 11:00 a.m. at Beaverdam Baptist Church in Troy followed by a light reception.
Condolences may be shared with the family on the Tribute Wall.