Campbell Co., VA - It's been a very hard couple of days for members of the Campbell County Board of Supervisors.
Board member and long-time political figure, Hugh Pendleton, 78, died Tuesday, Christmas Eve.
According to close friends, Pendleton passed out last Saturday, and had been recovering in the hospital. They say doctors were ready to release him Christmas Eve, but he died later that night.
Friends describe Pendleton as a public servant. He worked as a teacher, coach and principal in Rustburg before spending 24 years on the board of supervisors.
"The citizens of Rustburg considered Hugh as one of their family members. They respected him," Charles Falwell, from the Campbell County Board of Supervisors said.
Pendleton was known as a person who had passion for his community.
"He loved people. He would get around, he would go to McDonalds, he would eat there, just to talk with people and see what they had to say about the various issues," James Borland, from the Campbell County Board of Supervisors said.
A lot of his life, he spent with young people.
In the late 1950's Pendleton worked as a teacher and coach at Rustburg High School.
"He talked me into leaving Hargrave Military Academy and come back to public school at Rustburg and help him start football. He was our coach. He was only ten years older than I, but I always looked up to him as a mentor," Falwell said.
Pendleton spent 27 years as principal. Many say that's his lasting legacy.
"His door was always open, if you had a personal problem you could always come in and talk to him and know that he would understand and work with you. That type of guidance he gave his students over the years will go on for generations," Falwell said.
His dedication to education and sports did not go unnoticed. In 2011, Rustburg High School named their new athletic complex in Pendleton's honor.
"You may not agree with him, you at least respected his viewpoint and what he thought," Falwell said.
"[He was] a kind gentleman. He was quiet, yet he could speak his mind, but whenever he did, he was soft spoken," Borland said.
A funeral service for Pendleton is set for 10:00 a.m. Saturday in the auditorium at Rustburg High School. His burial will take place later in the day at 3:00 p.m. at the Kenbridge Heights Cemetery.