Rachel Forbes Bradshaw, 91, died Saturday, July 28, 2018, passing into the loving arms of her Lord. We know the angels in heaven received her with open arms. She was born Oct. 11, 1926, to Willie Jewel Porter and Benjamin Clark Fortner in Saint Paul, Virginia, then lived in Big Stone Gap, but lived her adult life in the Tidewater area.
She attended First United Methodist Church in Norfolk for many years and loved teaching Sunday school and playing the piano. She was a member of the T.E. Landis Bible Class and a member of the Lucy Clyde Blanton Circle. She was also a member of the Eastern Star. In more recent years, she attended Baylake United Methodist Church.
Her passion in life was teaching music and she helped many during her 60-plus years of teaching. She was an active member of Tidewater Music Teachers Association, Virginia Music Teachers Association, American College of Musicians and various local music clubs. In earlier years, she taught music at Newton’s Piano and Jordan Kitts Temple of Music. In 1992, she received Jordan Kitts Rookie of the Year Award and won an all-expenses-paid trip to Paradise Island in the Bahamas. She performed at local venues, including fashion shows, Harbor Club, private parties, weddings, churches, Flying Tigers conventions, and she especially enjoyed playing live organ music at Scope for the Red Wings Ice Hockey Team. Her favorite game was when three referees scampered across the ice and she played “Three Blind Mice!” Even in her retirement, she taught several piano students, the Norris’, on her beloved piano in her room at Bay Lake Assisted Living.
Rachel will be remembered for her love of life, her optimistic outlook, her caring nature, and her willingness to help others. Her strong faith in God sustained her throughout her life, she always said she knew she was never alone, that God was always with her.
She was preceded in death by her husbands, Nelson M. Forbes and Harold “Brad” Bradshaw. She was devoted to her husbands and took great care of them during their long illnesses. She was also preceded in death by brothers, Ben and Boyd Fortner; sister, Jean Cobb; and son, David, and his wife, Nancy.
Survivors include three children, Susan Thomas, Don Forbes, and his wife, Faye, and Rebecca Brooks, and her husband, Micah; six grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild; sister, Marcella Whitson and family; host of relatives and friends; and stepchildren, David, Rick, and Rob Bradshaw, and their families.
The family would like to thank the staff of Bay Lake Ret/Assisted Living for their loving care and support. Rachel loved living at Bay Lake for three years and would always welcome newcomers and make them feel at home.
More recently, she resided at Sentara Nursing Center/Rosemont in Virginia Beach. She received wonderful care from all the staff. Her last years there were peaceful and comfortable. The family would like to thank all the wonderful caretakers, God bless you all.
Donations may be made in Rachel’s name to the First United Methodist Church or any music teachers association.
A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m., Friday, Aug. 17, at Altmeyer Funeral Home, 5033 Rouse Drive, Virginia Beach, with a reception to follow.
Share online condolences with the family at altmeyerfh.com.