BRISTOL, Va. – Herbert Malcolm "Jack" Trayer, age 97, passed away on Saturday, April 1, 2006, at his home.
He was born in Daves, W.Va., in 1909, to the late Charles H. and Georgia Toney Trayer, and was raised in Pounding Mill.
He moved to Bristol in 1927 to begin a successful career of entrepreneurship in the restaurant-hospitality and food service industries. Jack's name was on many of Bristol's best known restaurants including Trayer's and Trayer's Too, but Jack will be best remembered for his support and service to the Bristol community and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Red, White and Blue Bar-B-Que was Trayer's first restaurant in Bristol and opened in 1927 on Moore Street. Jack continued his long business career after valiant service in the U.S. Navy. He partnered with Homer Jones and Morris Ross to build the first Holiday Inn in Bristol in 1958. Later, he partnered with Carl Moore and Homer Jones to develop other hotels in Bristol, Johnson City, Kingsport, Greeneville and Marion. Jack also developed a chain of grocery stores called Trayer's Food Shop.
Jack was a former president of the Virginia Restaurant Association and in that role led the 1960s fight for racial integration on a state level. Jack served Govs. Robb, Baliles and Wilder as a member of the Governor's Council on Tourism.
In this role, Jack often represented Bristol and Southwest Virginia internationally.
Jack was a generous supporter of a multitude of community organizations, including the March of Dimes, the YMCA, Bristol Ballet, Girls, Incorporated and Barter Theatre. Jack conceived the idea of the Community Christmas Dinner held at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, now in its 25th year.
Jack was a strong supporter of the region's colleges. In the late '40s, he made a pledge to then Sullins College, followed by an endowment at King College and led restoration of the Virginia Intermont College performing arts theatre.
He was long-time member and supporter of the Rotary Club of Bristol, was a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow and sponsored the Annual Rotary Christmas Luncheon for many years.
In 1992, Trayer was inducted by the Bristol Regional Medical Center Foundation into the Citizen Hall of Fame, recognizing his being a "great champion of our community."