James “Jim” Brooke Rea passed away peacefully at home on February 14, 2022, at age 95, on the same Crozet land where he was born.
Born, August 19, 1926, to Roy Temple Rea and Charlotte (Story) Rea, Jim grew up on the family orchard tending to strawberry vines, raspberry canes, apple trees, and peach trees. He attended Crozet School and Miller School, graduating from Crozet School in 1944. He was drafted upon graduation to the U. S. Navy where he served until 1946 patrolling the waters of Guam and the Philippines.
After his early years working in insurance and finance, he became known for being able to select the very best fruit and produce as the proprietor of fruit stands and small groceries in the Crozet area including Ridge Market, Brownsville Market, Ivy Store, Wyant’s Store, and Ashley’s Store. During his many years owning small stores he supported the community, time and again, by extending credit to members in need, ensuring no one went hungry. Those who knew him will remember Jim for his good cheer, dry humor, and self-effacing demeanor.
Jim and his wife of 61 years, Patsy Painter Rea, worked as a team to run the stores and raise their two sons. Jim Rea was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings Temple, Charlotte, Violet, and Mastin. He is survived by his wife Patsy; his sister Dorothy Lee Phillips of Jacksonville, FL; his sons James Brooke Rea, Jr. of Long Island, NY and William “Bill” Daniel Rea of Nelson County, VA; grandchildren Cecily Rea, Daniel Rea, Matthew Rea, Temple Rea, and Walton Rea; and great granddaughters Brianna Collins, Clara Collins, Chloe Collins, and Becca Rea.
A self-described lifelong Democrat who took personally the mission of serving and caring for those around him, it seems fitting that Jim would pass on Valentine’s Day. A memorial service was held on February 25, 2022, at Crozet Baptist Church with the Rev. David Collyer officiating. Jim will be forever loved and missed by his family, friends, and community.