Eldridge L. Canaday Jr., known as "Buster" by his friends and family, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011 at Sentara CarePlex Hospital in Hampton. Born in Williamsburg, Buster was the son of Eldridge L. "Kitty" Canaday Sr. and Maxine E. Canaday. He was baptized at an early age at New Zion Baptist Church. Buster lived in the Williamsburg area most of his life.
He graduated from Lafayette High School in Williamsburg in 1976. He attended Christopher Newport College and Thomas Nelson Community College. While at CNC he was in ROTC.
He retired from James City County Fire Department in 2008 with over thirty years of distinguished service. At James City County he started as a firefighter in 1977, was promoted to lieutenant, then captain, and finally to district chief in 2005. At retirement, he managed the Support Services Division of the Fire Department. He also served the City of Williamsburg Volunteer Fire Department from 1979 to 1989, serving as a firefighter and officer. In 1997, Buster was recognized with the "Fire Chief's Award" for his many contributions, as well as, several other Fire Department, local and state recognition awards over the years. As a captain he was singularly instrumental in developing the Department's training division. With training as a passion and as a fire service instructor, Buster has trained hundreds of firefighters in the Hampton Roads area through the Tidewater Regional Fire Academy since 1982. He was the coordinator for nine fire academies. Buster was an adjunct instructor for the Virginia Department of Fire Programs and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
He was a long-serving member of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3306. He served in several capacities and was a Trustee upon his retirement. He was a member of the Hampton Roads Training Officers Group and several James City County groups and committees. He also had been a member of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association.
He is survived by his loving wife of 19 years, Deborah; and his parents; sister, Diane E. Jackson; father-in-law, Alvin H. Kahn; mother-in-law, Mary L. Kahn; brothers-in-law, Scott F. Moyer (Jana) and David H. Kahn (Shanna); sister-in-law, Hannah I. Neill; nephews, Thomas Harmon, Kyle Kahn, Wayne Kahn, Blaze Kahn and Trevor Moyer; nieces, Dionne Thomas, Catherine Neill and Darian Bratton; great-aunt, Mamie Brown; uncles, Morris D. Canaday, Robert Canaday, James L. Canaday (Olivia) and Willie J. Reid (Alma); aunts, Mavis E. Canaday and Audrey Brown (Percy); special friend, Bernadette Williams; and, many cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Furman and Bessie Perry, and, Miles and Lillian Canaday; uncles, Henley C. Canaday, Josephus Canaday, Bert Canaday, Robert Reid and Jesse Reid; and, an aunt, Geraldine Canaday.
A visitation will be held Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, from 5 to 8 p.m. in Whiting's Funeral Home, 7005 Pocahontas Trail, Williamsburg. A funeral service will be held 11:00 a.m. on Friday, December 2, 2011, in New Zion Baptist Church, 3991 Longhill Road, Williamsburg with Dr. Robert A. Whitehead and James City County Fire Department Chaplain, Randy Garner officiating. A reception will follow in the church fellowship hall. Family and friends will assemble at the church by 10:45 a.m. on Friday.
In lieu of flowers, the family wishes expressions of sympathy to take the form of contributions to the James City County Fire Department Scholarship Fund, 300 McLaws Circle, Suite 200, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185.
Online condolences may be registered at www.vagazette.com.