Rev. Frank Hughes, Jr.

Auditorium of South Norfolk Baptist Church, Chesapeake, Virginia

The display pipes above the choir loft are part of the Henry Pilcher’s Sons pipe organ, and actually “speak.”  They belong to the Open Diapason stop. They are in front of the Swell box (Swell division) with shutters that open and close (right side) with the Great division on the left, also behind the screen. The console was renovated some years ago, and moved to where the baby grand piano is shown. The piano was then moved to left side, opposite. The current pastor and church leadership, as of 2012, decided they didn’t want to use the organ (having, unfortunately, opted for "contemporary" worship), and the console has been moved to the right side classroom, out of sight. The Virginia State Flag (to left of American Flag) was given in memory of Trooper James R. Hughes.  The City of Chesapeake Flag stands to the right of the Christian Flag. The four large stained glass windows are beautiful, especially on a Sunday morning, when sunlight illuminates the pulpit area around the time of morning worship at 11 a.m. (This architectural feature was studied by a former Art History Professor from Old Dominion University). The balcony is of unique design, with no visible means of support, and is called a “floating balcony.” The lower floor slopes downward, and is so designed that the congregation feels very close to the preacher.

Meet the Minister
30 Years

35 Years

Knotts Island, N.C.

Baptist Church where he became a member:

Information about one of Rev. Hughes' Knotts Island Baptist Church Sunday School teachers, John Thomas Lassiter, written by Artwell L. Pierce:
Methodist Church where he accepted Christ during a revival service:
Picture of first South Norfolk Baptist Church building:
Current Church Building:
Church service letting out, late Fall:
Young Men's Sunday School Class, late 40's or 1950s:
Henry Pilcher's Sons Pipe Organ,
Church Musicians

Dr. Hubert M. Poteat
Organist for Installation Recital at South Norfolk Baptist Church.

Dr. Poteat at the organ console,
Wake Forest Baptist Church,
where both
Rev. Hughes and his son Joe, worshiped.

Dr. Hubert M. Poteat was the Organist for the Installation Recital of the Henry Pilcher’s Sons Pipe Organ at South Norfolk Baptist Church.  He was organist and choir director at Wake Forest College, N.C., where Rev. Frank Hughes, Jr. and his son Joseph attended.  Both attended services at the Wake Forest Baptist Church, where Dr. Poteat was Organist.


In a rare recording found recently, we hear Dr. Poteat delivering an address to a Wake Forest College graduating class. In this recording, we hear the introduction of Dr. Hubert McNeill Poteat and the commencement address delivered by Poteat. He proposes that the College's foundation stones include "hard, solid work," "the open mind," "faith," and "the lordship of Christ."


This project was supported by a Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Joe Hughes at the Henry Pilcher's Sons Pipe Organ.  He was often asked to substitute when Gwen had to be away:
Some who Served at
South Norfolk Baptist Church:

Two of the many superlative musicians
who played the Organ and Piano at South Norfolk Baptist:
 Mrs. Betty LeBlanc
and Mrs. Gwen Whitehurst.
Both were outstanding keyboard artists
on either instrument!

Mrs. Harvey Whitehurst, Sr. ("Gwen")
at the Henry Pilcher's Sons Pipe Organ,
South Norfolk Baptist Church.  She served as Organist for over 25 years, retiring on April 2, 1976, and moving to Lynchburg, VA.

When Gwendolyn Roberts was born on May 3, 1913, in Gordonsville, Virginia, her father, John, was 32, and her mother, Lucy, was 24. She had 11 siblings. She died on April 13, 1999, in Chesapeake, Virginia, at the age of 85.  She was married to Harvey A. Whitehurst, Sr.

Gwen Roberts (Whitehurst) at age 9
Gwen Roberts (Whitehurst), 1931
Gwen Whitehurst with some of her family and friends:
John Marshall Roberts, Jr. (Johnny) was brother of Gwen, and served for some years as Music Director at South Norfolk Baptist Church.
An early picture of Betty LeBlanc at the Baldwin grand piano:
Betty LeBlanc playing the Henry Pilcher's Sons Pipe Organ:
Betty served 42 Years as Church Organist
at Kempsville Baptist, before retiring. Betty and Ernie have two wonderful children, Barry and Bonnie, who are also talented musically; Barry is also Pastor of a Church.

Mrs. Betty Miles LeBlanc, Director of Student Work, Radford College, news article:

Betty Miles


1930 - 2015


Betty Miles LeBlanc, 84, went to be with her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on April 20, 2015. A native of South Norfolk, she was the daughter of the late Joseph Wesley and Lucille Grimes Miles and wife of the late Ernest George LeBlanc, Jr. She earned her BS degree from Madison College and a Masters of Music from Southwestern Theological Seminary and taught private piano lessons for many years. She was organist of Graham Funeral Home for 30 years and retired as organist of Kempsville Baptist Church after 42 years of faithful service.


Surviving are her children, Bonnie L. LeBlanc and Rev. Barry E. (Cynthia) LeBlanc; four grandchildren, Cristen (Karl) Hepler, Lauren Thompson, Joshua (Susie) LeBlanc and Charity (Chris) Olney; two great-grandchildren, Wesley LeBlanc and Emmett Olney; and a sister, Ellen Fogel (A.J.).

Her life will be celebrated on Friday at 9:30 a.m. at Kempsville Baptist Church with Rev. Barry LeBlanc and Rev. Ken Carlton officiating. Burial will follow in Woodlawn Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends at Graham Funeral Home, Chesapeake on Thursday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to Kempsville Baptist Church.


Betty served as Educational Secretary, Church Secretary, Children’s Choir Director, and Church Pianist and Sub-Organist at South Norfolk Baptist Church for many years, before becoming Organist at Kempsville Baptist Church.

In Memory of
W. Russell Mathews
Organist at South Norfolk Baptist Church
for 10 Years

Portsmouth - William Russell Mathews, 72, died May 6, 2016. A native of Portsmouth, he was a retired warehouse manager at the Navy Exchange Command in Norfolk. Russell was a member of Cradock Baptist church and a Navy veteran. He was an organist and choir master for over 50 years, currently serving as organist at Cradock Baptist Church. Music was his passion, life and ministry. He touched many lives.

Survivors include his wife, Linda A. Mathews; and brother, R. Earl Mathews.

A celebration of Russell's life will be held on Tuesday, May 10, at 11AM in Cradock Baptist Church by the Rev. David Phillips, Rev. W. Thomas Wood, Dr. Derek Harbin, and Dr. Hugh Litchfield. Burial will be in Olive Branch Cemetery with military honors. A time of fellowship will follow at the church. Memorial contributions may be made to the Music Ministry of Cradock Baptist Church, 96 Afton Pkwy., Portsmouth, VA 23702.

Published in The Virginian Pilot on May 10, 2016.

"Celebration of Life"
William Russell Mathews

Worship Service Bulletin:

Stop List and Information about the M.P. Möller, Inc., Opus 11169, 1977:

Russell Matthews, Graduation Organ Recital at Old Dominion University:
Some who Ministered, or were Ordained at South Norfolk
John D. Tripp
Educational Director
John Pruitt, Educational Director
Oscar S. Whitescarver,
Educational Director

Oscar S. Whitescarver

(2 pictures below)

He was born May 11, 1926 in West Virginia.  The family moved to High Point, North Carolina.  He attended NC State. 

He was married to Sarah Patrick Peacock, July 26, 1955, High Point, NC.

Served as the third Educational Director: 1956-1958. He started the first Royal Ambassadors (RA's) for boys and Girls Auxillary (GA's) for girls, a Southern Baptist program.  Jim and Joe were members of the RA program.

He left to go to Providence Church, Charlotte, NC.; later served at New Palestine Baptist Church, Picayune, MS, and elected as President of the Pearl River Association Pastor's Conference.

He visited our family at Kitty Hawk, NC one summer and showed Jim some of his campcraft skills he learned while serving in the Army (He had enlisted in 1944).  Jim was interested in how a pup tent could be put up and stay up.  So Mr. Whitescarver showed him how to put it up and let it stay for one night to see if it could withstand the wind coming across the sand dunes.

W. Bruce Meriwether,
Minister of Music
(pictured below)
came to South Norfolk Baptist August 18, 1963 as Minister of Music. He had previously taught music at Shawnee High School, Oklahoma.  He held two degrees: B.M.Ed. from Oklahoma Baptist University, also the M.M. (Master of Music).
He felt called to return to classroom work, and left South Norfolk to work first, at Twin Rivers High School, Nashville, TN; then later on the faculty of David Lipscomb College, Nashville, TN.
Rev. Jerry Odom
Minister of Education,
pictured below, served as Minister of Education, 1964.  His wife, Lana, worked with the Youth Choir and they hosted a monthly youth Bible study at their house:
Michael Dale Hopkins and
Cathy Ellen Boyd Hopkins,
served as Minister of Music and Education, respectively.  It was one of the few husband/wife combination ministry teams employed by SNBC.  Here are several pictures of Michael, who attended Campbell University, and was born 1952, Rowan, North Carolina:

Other staff members, some not pictured:

Ronald Hicks: Minister of Education, May 1963

W. Bruce Meriwether: Minister of Music, July 1963

Kay M. Mt.Castle, served a short tenure as organist during the 1960s.

Jerry Odum: Minister of Education, June 1964

T. Russell Hughes: Minister of Education, February 1970

Rev. William A. Richardson: Outreach Minister, 1972-1981

Hollis C. Frazer, Jr.: Minister of Music and Education, August 1, 1971-August 27, 1972. He went to a church in Tylertown, MS.

Milton Fisher: Minister of Youth and Music.

Robert Clements: Minister of Youth and Music, August 1973-

Scott Foxwell: Organist, August 23, 1974-

Bonnie Ray Smith: Music Director, January-October 1976.

Michael D. Hopkins: Minister of Youth and Music; and Cathy Hopkins: Minister of Education, May 9, 1979-October 1983. (They moved to Wallace, NC).

Ray Jones: Associate Minister, June 1986-

David L. Pierce: Minister of Music and Worship Leader, September 1986-

Rev. Scott Chafee: Minister of Students and Singles, April 1990-August 1993.

Rev. Jack Wilder: Interim Supply Pastor, January 1993-August 1993.

Ministers ordained at
South Norfolk Baptist:
George W. Wollett, Jr.
George William Wollett, was Vice-President of his Junior Class, South Norfolk High School.
George Wollett, Senior Class, South Norfolk High School.
George Wollett, Wake Forest College photo.
Sam Tatem
Sam Tatem, at Columbia Bible College, prior to attending Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY.
Sarah Margaret Rogers, South Norfolk High School photo:
"Prophecy 1942" for the South Norfolk High School yearbook, written by Sarah Margaret Rogers:
Rev. and Mrs. Sam Tatem wedding, South Norfolk Baptist Church. Jim was the ring bearer, standing in front of Sam; Joe is on left holding his father's hand, Rev. Frank Hughes, Jr.
Jim, as ring bearer, standing on left; Joe is peeking out the door, right side.
James W. Russ
James Winnen Russ, Junior Class, South Norfolk High School.
Jimmy Russ was in the Monogram Club, South Norfolk High School, 1942 and 1943:
James Russ, Senior Class, South Norfolk High School.  He was Vice-President of his 1943 Class.
Jimmy Russ attended Columbia Bible College seen in this senior photo.  He coached basketball there for two years. He then went to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
William C. Russ, Sr.
William Claude Russ (Billy), Senior Picture, South Norfolk High School.
Rev. Billy Russ:
James Edward Griffin
Eddie Griffin, 8th Grade Class:
James Edward Griffin (Eddie) in 1951 photo, South Norfolk High School.
Eddie Griffin on
JV Basketball Team,
South Norfolk High School.
Eddie Griffin in 1953 South Norfolk High School photo.
Mark M. Alexander, Jr.
Rev. Mark Midgette Alexander, Jr. born December 27, 1927,  was ordained at South Norfolk Baptist Church, and served as Missionary to Argentina.  The church family was always present to hear him speak and show slides of his work there.  Audio of his sermons and testimony can be found on the "Audio" page of this website.  He is pictured below:
Mark Alexander, early High School photo, Junior year.
Mark Alexander, 1946 High School photo. Nickname: "Buddy."
Some of the High School activities Mark was involved in:
Mark Alexander, Junior Year photo, Wake Forest College, NC.
Mark graduated in 1950 from Wake Forest College, with the B.A. degree.
Eddie Boyd
Eddie Boyd, Maury High School photo.
Edward R. Boyd, in 1950 Sophomore Photo, University of Richmond.

In Memory of Rev. Edward R. Boyd,
who went to be with the Lord,
March 9, 2016

Rev. Boyd was ordained in South Norfolk Baptist Church.  He graduated from Maury High School, Norfolk; University of Richmond, Virginia; and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.  He served three churches (Alabama, North Carolina, and Kentucky) in 50 years.  He, along with Dr. Mac Brunson, preached the funeral sermon for Rev. Frank Hughes, Jr. (Sermons by Rev. Boyd can be heard on the "Audio" webpage).

Mark Steven Alexander
Other men ordained to the ministry which Rev. Hughes either attended or participated in:
N.J. Babb recognition service:
Harvey M. Brown, Minister of Education
Harvey M. Brown and wife Carol
At Azalea Gardens, Norfolk:  L to R: Harvey Brown, Jim, Carol Brown, Mrs. Hughes, Joe:
Carol Lenora Booker Brown Davis was born April 4, 1936 to Edwin Bryon Booker and Edna Lenora Allen.  Married to Harvey McCord Brown, then David C. Davis.  Was killed as a passenger in an auto accident, 1983.
Herman May,
Minister of Music
Herman May: Minister of Music
Hammond Coates,
Minister of Education
T. Russell Hughes,
Minister of Education and Music
Jerry Odom,
Minister of Education

Rev. Jerry Odom, former Minister of Education (1964-1970), sits next to Jim Hughes, across from Mrs. Hughes, next to Joe.

Rev. W.A. Richardson, Sr.
Outreach Minister at South Norfolk Baptist Church; formerly the first Pastor of Great Bridge Baptist Church

Rev. Hughes with Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Morgan.  Mary Morgan served many, many years (34) as Church Secretary:
Rev. Hughes served as Moderator of the Norfolk Baptist Association:
Bulletin: Service of Commission, Pulpit Committee, April 15, 1984:
Pastors following Rev. Hughes' retirement:  Dr. Mac Brunson (July 1985-May 1992),  Rev. Roger Mardis (September 1993-November 1997), Dr. Dennis Culbreth (June 1998-2001) Rev. Scott Harris (August 2002-October 2006), Rev. David Slayton (July 2008-April 23, 2017), Rev. Kyle Rader (June 2018-).

Dr. Mac Brunson
Dr. Mac Brunson and family
Dr. Brunson next served First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas, then First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida; and now is pastor at Valleydale Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama.
(Information about Rev. Clyde S. Sawyer (who followed Rev. Black and preceded Rev. Hughes) and his family, with family histories of other early pastors, is now found on the first webpage, "Sermons from S.N.B.C")
South Norfolk Baptist Church 75th Anniversary
Revival Services and Other Church Activities
Rev. Hughes, prior to coming to South Norfolk Baptist, started the Broad Creek Village Baptist Church which met in the local school there and later became Virginia Heights Baptist Church.  Here is a picture taken in the Spring of 1946.  Rev. Hughes sits on the front row, right side.
Rev. Hughes stands with the Women's Missionary Union Girl's Auxiliary at the Broad Creek Village Baptist Church.
Some of those identified in the "Student Night at Christmas" photo: Eddie Boyd (in the center), Betty Miles LeBlanc (to his right), and Christine White (on his left).
Rev. Hughes' prayer of dedication for the new
South Norfolk Public Library:
Rev. Hughes at the dedication service for the new Oscar F. Smith High School, South Norfolk, Virginia.
Rev. Hughes performed marriage ceremony for the oldest couple.
Congregation gathers for Cornerstone laying of new Educational Building, 1954.
(Rev. William M. Black, only living former Pastor, attended)
Rev. William M. Black (on left) with Rev. Frank Hughes, Jr.
(Photo courtesy of Ron Alexander)
Rev. Hughes in the newly completed Pastor's Study, Educational Building:
SNBC Choir in rehersal with Gwen at the organ
SNBC Church Choir
SNBC auditorium is set for a wedding. Although dark, it gives a good idea of how it looked before air-conditioning, with dark paneling on the choir rail and inside the choir loft; showing the original position of the pipe organ console.
A photo from the 1940s: the Lord's Supper table and pulpit platform is decorated for a Christmas music program, which includes chairs on the platform; a poinsettia plant can be seen on the choir rail on the right side, with the pipe organ console just to the left.  With the dark paneling, you can still see the two lights at the rear of the choir loft, where the men sat; which could be turned on/off with pull strings.  The dark paneling would stay until the early 1960s, when Minister of Music, Herman May, enlarged the choir loft to extend it to the left, and also right side over the baptistry and the paneling was covered in a white non-glare plastic.  The front area had folding doors that would open to reveal the baptistry when a baptism would take place.
The above picture shows the choir loft redone in white, with the extended doors on the left and right sides; piano on the lower right; and organ console in the same position as the previous picture; also, now with metal folding chairs.  The 2 Electro-Voice microphones were used to broadcast the evening service live on WXRI-FM.
In the above picture, taken from the balcony, Rev. Hughes at the pulpit, with a clear view of the Christmas decorations, the piano on the lower right, and organ console in it's original placement.  At this time, the carpet was gold and the pulpit chairs had matching color.  This architectural style would remain until the tenure of Rev. Brunson, who allowed the choir rail to be dismantled and removed.  The choir was then exposed to the congregation.  The baptistry was moved and placed directly behind the choir loft area. Unfortunately, this later led to it becoming a "stage" for bands, praise singers, and dancing, under Rev. Slayton.
The above picture with the Junior Choir was taken when there was still a red-patterned carpet in the aisles, in the foyer and at the front/platform area.  If you look at the side classroom in the rear of the picture, you will see the wooden folding chairs which were inter-locked together.  This was the type of chair used in the choir loft until Mr. May came and the choir loft was improved with metal folding chairs, of the type still used into the 2st Century, and in the Hughes Fellowship Hall.  There was one of these wooden chairs placed sideways right behind the organ bench in the loft for the organist.  Joe stands in front of the white pillar in the rear of the picture.
Men's Quartet sings in the Fellowship Hall.  L to R: Gayle Harrell, Charlie Harper, Jimmie Scott, and Hammond Coates:
Rev. and Mrs. Hughes visited with former church members, Walter and Virginia Garner, who moved to Florida:
Rev. Hughes at a VBS (Vacation Bible School) Commencement on Friday night:
Joe and friend take a break during VBS:
Vacation Bible School for Intermediate Department, 1962:
Dad in his study at church after a wedding:
Jim and Joe attended a Boy Scout Troop at the South Norfolk Christian Church:
The Boy Scout Troop would periodically go camping at Camp Baker, Chesapeake:
Chesapeake Avenue Methodist Church, seen in picture below, closed it's doors on the last Sunday in 2017.  You can see the former Parsonage for the South Norfolk Baptist Church on the left side of the picture, where the Hughes family lived.
The Methodist Parsonage was across the street, and Jim and Joe were able to meet and play with the Methodist pastor's children.
Chesapeake Ave Methodist Church, original building on the corner of Chesapeake Ave and Ohio Street:
News story about Methodist Church closure by Raymond Harper in the Virginian Pilot Newspaper:
Drawing of South Norfolk Baptist Church by Mark Carey, presented to Rev. Hughes
Rev. Hughes gives Dedication Prayer for the new
South Norfolk Memorial Library, November 8, 1958:

Certificate of Appreciation to Rev. Hughes for his service on the Sunday School Board
A Tribute presented to Rev. Frank Hughes, Jr. on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of his Ordination, written by Mrs. Betty LeBlanc
Rev. Frank Hughes, Jr. is named "Pastor Emeritus" by the South Norfolk Baptist Church
Hughes Family Story 
Next 2 pictures: Frank Hughes, Jr., taken at Church's Point, Knotts Island.
Early picture of Frank Hughes, Jr. (on right side) and next to him is his sister Violet.  Other two girls are unknown.
Dad's elementary school, Knotts Island:
Frank Hughes, Jr. was born in Gibbs Woods, N.C.  Here is a story about Indian archeology in that area. Dad told me that when growing up, he had found old pottery and Indian arrow heads in the area.
Frank Hughes, Jr. sits center just behind the bat boy in this photo of his Kempsville High School "Chiefs" baseball team.  He was Captain of the team.
The winter of 1969-70 was harsh.  Here is a picture of Dad I took that winter:
The parsonage and church in Winter:
Snow drifts were over the fence:
Rev. and Mrs. Hughes with Betty LeBlanc visiting with Rev. and Mrs. Mark Alexander, Art Pierce and family members:
Dad arrives back from a meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention:
In retirement, Rev. Hughes served as Interim Pastor at some area Baptist Churches.  Here he, mother, and I, standing outside Lake Drumond Baptist Church:
Thanksgiving dinner.  L to R: "Pa" Hughes (Frank Hughes, Sr.), "Mama" Hughes, Mrs. Frank Hughes, Joe, Sue, and Jim.
Joe and Jim strike a pose while Mother sets the dining room table for a Christmas dinner:
Rev. Hughes with his mother:
Deacons were invited by Mother and Dad for a Christmas party, 1974: