James Edwin Booth Jr., 85, longtime high school football coach and captivating storyteller in the classroom

James Edwin Booth, Jr. (Courtesy of H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts)
James Edwin Booth, Jr. (Courtesy of H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts)

James Edwin Booth Jr., long-time football coach and educator in Norfolk and Virginia Beach passed away December 11, 2015.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland on May 10, 1930 to James Edwin Booth, Sr. and Francis Lee Elliott Booth, Ed graduated from Bedford High School where he was the tailback in the single wing on the football team. Initially, he attended and played football at the University of Virginia before transferring and graduating from Emory and Henry College. Later, he received his Master’s Degree in Education from Old Dominion University.

Ed started out as head football coach and government teacher at Smithfield High School in Smithfield, Va. His many head coaching positions were at Oscar Smith, Maury, Franklin, Kempsville and Kellam High Schools. In the late 1960’s he was the Offensive Coordinator of the Norfolk Neptunes. He was a captivating storyteller in the classroom which made “Coach” one of the most sought after teachers in every school.

Well known in the Virginia Beach community he spent his retirement years on the Beach with family and friends; he enjoyed sailing, music and football. He was a consultant and participant in the acclaimed feature documentary Bedford “The Town They Left Behind,” a cross-generational story of War and the Home Front through the eyes of this small Virginia town spanning from D-Day in 1944 to Afghanistan and Iraq.

He is preceded in death by oldest son John E. “Jack” Booth and his grandson 1LT Joshua L. Booth, USMC (KIA 17 OCT 2006) and second wife Dorothy Booth. He is also pre-deceased by his former wife and mother of his three (3) sons, Peggy Louise Gentry Booth of Galax. He is survived by his brother Robert B. Booth and Susan Hunnicutt, sons Col. William F. Booth, Sr. (USMCR) and wife Karen, Blackburn J. Booth and wife Linda G. Ford, daughter-in-law Debra L. Booth, grand daughter-in-law Erica R. Booth, step-daughter Kimberly Cassidy, two grandsons, Major William F. Booth, Jr. (USAF) and wife Nikole, Thomas P. Booth and wife Karla, nephew Edwin S. Booth, wife Jessica and grandniece Ava, and four great-grandchildren, Grace, Tristan, Macyn, and Alivia.

A memorial service will be held in Virginia Beach on Friday, December 18th, 11:00 a.m. at H. D. Oliver Funeral Home, 2002 Laskin Road. Graveside service will be held on Saturday, December 19th at 2:00 p.m. in Longwood Cemetery, Bedford, Virginia. A reception will held at the family home in Bedford immediately following the graveside service.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA) 912 Killian Hill Rd S.W. Lilburn, GA 30047 or visit www.LBDA.org. or The National D-Day Memorial, P.O. Box 77 Bedford, VA 24523 or visit www.dday.org.

Online condolences may be made to the family at hdoliver.com.

To view the full list of Southside Daily obituaries, click here.

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