: OBITUARIES :
Jim Tolley, 55, of Baccus Siding Road in the Double Island Community, passed away Wednesday, December 10, 2008 in the St. Josephs Campus of Mission Hospitals. A native of Yancey County, he was the son of the late Earl and Maude Hughes Tolley. Jim was an employee of the NC Department of Transportation.
Surviving are his wife: Debbie Taylor Tolley; a son: Michael McKinney; a daughter: Rebecca Yelton and two grandchildren: Kyle and Nicholas Yelton all of Burnsville.
Funeral services will be held at 8:00 PM Friday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home. Rev. Billy Mitchell will officiate. A graveside service will be held at 11:00 AM Saturday in the Hughes Cemetery.
The family will receive friends from 6 until 8:00 PM prior to the service at the funeral home.
MACK BASCOMBE RAY
Mack Bascombe Ray, 91, went to be with our Lord, December 10, 2008, at his home. Born and reared in the Paint Fork community of Madison County, he graduated from Berea College. He worked in Yancey County for the Farmers’ Home Administration. He pioneered a loan program to help small farmers for which he received the Award of Superior Service from the U. S. Department of Agriculture. His last five years of employment were spent in the far western counties of North Carolina developing an airport, golf course, water system, etc., in one of three pilot programs in the United States.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Bascombe and Sue Robinson Ray; siblings: Tennie Anders, Kelly Ray, Sr., Peggy Ledbetter, Ada Chambers, Lena Haynes, Hughie Ray, and their spouses. He is survived by his beloved wife of 67 years, Dorothy Stuart Ray; a daughter, Carolyn and husband, David A. Cort; four granddaughters: Lisa Owen and husband, Jeffrey, of Asheville; Heidi Van Til and husband, Ethan, of Traverse City, Michigan, Carrie Friesen and husband, Brad, of Winston Salem, Gretchen Banks and husband, Seth, of Winston Salem; three great-granddaughters: Susannah and Sophia Owen and Greta Friesen; and sister, Fay and her husband, Troy Allen, of Marshall.
He served in World War II as a rifleman in Patton’s Third Army, 83rd Infantry Division. He participated in the Hurtgen Forest and Battle of the Bulge campaigns, suffering multiple machine gun and shrapnel wounds. He further was an active farmer growing the traditional tobacco and cattle of this time.
He was active in his church and community. At the Higgins Memorial United Methodist Church, he held virtually all positions of leadership at various times and was a lay speaker. He was active in leadership with the United Way campaigns, was an American Legion commander, former president of the Chamber of Commerce, and a founder of the Burnsville Men’s Club. He served on the N. C. Forestry Council, The N. C. Health Coordinating Council, and the N. C. Highway Commission. He was awarded the Carnegie Medal for helping save two children from drowning despite himself being a weak swimmer. He was twice chairman of the Yancey County Democratic Party and was awarded the Liston Ramsey Democratic Service Award. One of his greatest joys came in helping others in need, often anonymously. As a Christian, he believed this to be his obligation and privilege. Governor James B. Hunt conferred on him the Order of the Long Leaf Pine of the State of North Carolina.
In lieu of flowers, any memorials can be given to the Higgins Memorial United Methodist Church Building Fund or Benevolence Fund, P. O. Box 85, Burnsville, NC, 28714. His funeral will be at 2:00 p.m. December 20, 2008, at the Higgins Memorial United Methodist Church in Burnsville. Visitation will be at the church at 1:00 p.m. prior to the service and afterwards at the daughter’s home. Burial will be in the Academy Cemetery.
MARGIE ALLEN BURLESON
Margie Allen Burleson, 84, of the Banks Creek Community, passed away Sunday, December 7, 2008, at her home. A native of Yancey County, she was a daughter of the late Clyde and Dorothy Scott Allen, and the wife of John Burleson who died in 2006. Margie was a former employee of Blue Bell and Taylor Togs, and a founding member of Banks Creek Union Church, where she was song leader for 50 years. She was also preceded in death by brother: Dallas Allen; and sister: Louise Arrowood.
Surviving are 3 children: Jane Biggs and husband, Phillip, Glen Burleson and Jerry Burleson and wife, Nina, all of Burnsville; 2 grandchildren: Charles Burleson and Sharon Biggs; sisters: Ellen Banks of Burnsville, Jewell Ledford of Myrtle Beach, SC, Evelyn Edwards and Bernice Davis, of Erwin, TN; and, 2 brothers: B.A. Allen of Gray, TN and Roy Allen of Smyrna, AL.
Funeral Services will be held at 8 PM Tuesday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home. The Revs. Charles Burleson and Kenneth Craine will officiate. Graveside services will be held at 10 AM Wednesday in the Burleson Cemetery.
The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service Tuesday at the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to Hospice of Yancey County, 856 Georges Fork Road, Burnsville, NC 28714.
WILLIAM N. FARIS
William N. Faris, 99, passed away Friday, December 5, 2008, at Jonas Ridge Adult Care Facility. A native of San Marcos, TX, he was born October 30, 1909 and was a son of the late Leslie and Mabel Williamson Faris. William was educated from kindergarten through a Master’s degree in education and history at the same campus, Southwest State Teacher’s College in San Marcos, now the University of San Marcos. He devoted 13 years to being a teacher and principal of schools in Texas and New Mexico. While attending college William was close friends with former President Lyndon B. Johnson, and there is correspondence between the two at the Johnson Library in Texas. He married three times and fathered one child by his first marriage to Alice Louise Uy of Kansas City, KS. He fathered two children by his second marriage to Ruth Ann Echols, Dona J. Faris Knudsen and Denisha Ann Faris Schukert. His third wife, Leona Brown, whom he married in Tierra Amarilla, NM, preceded him in death 13 years ago. He is also survived by grandchildren and great grandchildren of KS, MO, TN, NC, GA and FL. His daughter, Dona, encouraged him to move from the Good Samatarian Assisted Living Village in Las Cruces to North Carolina 13 years ago, where he resided until entering Jonas Ridge Adult Care due to colon cancer. Prior to his last marriage he purchased acreage on the Chama River in El Vado, NM, where he built cabins and ran a fishing camp. He donated approximately 350 acres in El Vado to the State of New Mexico for a park, sold his remaining 5 acres and moved to Williamsburg, NM. He later sold this property and moved to Las Cruces prior to moving to Burnsville, NC approximately 13 years ago. William was an artifact appraiser, and was instrumental in the donation of Indian pottery and artifacts to the Burnsville Library for the Yancey Museum.
William was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Burnsville, NC. His prior arrangements made years ago were to be cremated and interred at the family plot in San Marcos, TX. At his request, no funeral or memorial services will be held.
Memorials may be made to Hospice of Avery County, P. O. Box 221, Newland, NC 28657. Hospice of Avery County and Jonas Ridge Adult Care staff provided excellent tender loving care during the last weeks of his life. Jonas Ridge held a beautiful surprise 99th birthday party with all staff, residents and Dona and Richard Knudsen, daughter and son-in-law, present, which William enjoyed tremendously. He said it was the best birthday he ever had.
PHILLIP WAYNE LETTERMAN
Phillip Wayne Letterman, 68, of Green Mountain, went home to be with the Lord, Wednesday, December 3, 2008, in Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine. A native of Mitchell County, he was a son of the late Walter E. and Blanche Gortney Letterman. He was preceded in death by a sister: Peggy Peterson. Phillip was a retired employee of Henredon, a member of Clearmont Fire Department, a member of Ridgeview Presbyterian Church, and of Bakersville Masonic Lodge.
Surviving are a sister: Annette Buchanan and husband, Dennis, of Burnsville; 3 nephews: Joey Buchanan, Rick Peterson and Roger Peterson; 4 nieces: Terri Grindstaff, Rachel Austin, Theresa Briggs and Wanda Miller; 3 great nieces and 8 great nephews; and, an aunt: Helen Letterman Keyes of Johnson City, TN.
Funeral services will be held at noon Friday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home. The Rev. Roger Laws will officiate. Burial will be in Ridgeview Presbyterian Church Cemetery.
The family will receive friends 1 hour prior to the service at the funeral home. At other times the family will be at the home of Theresa Briggs, 5275 State Highway 197 North, Green Mountain, NC.
THOMAS DAVIS, JR.
Thomas Davis, Jr., 87, of the Pensacola Community of Yancey County died Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital. A native of Yancey County, he was a son of the late Carrie Atkins Davis and Thomas Davis, Sr. He was also preceded in death by 5 brothers.
Surviving are 2 sisters: Pauline Jackson of Surgoinsville, TN and Mary Atkins of Asheville and several nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 11:30 AM Saturday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home. Rev. Nelson Ponder will officiate. Burial will be in the Atkins-Ledford Cemetery.
The family will receive friends 30 minutes prior to the service at the funeral home.
JUANITA WESTALL BUTNER
Juanita Westall Butner, 78, of Burnsville passed away Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at her home. A life-long resident of Yancey County, she was the daughter of the late Eugene and Tee Rue Robinson Westall and the wife of Frank “Boog” Butner who died in 2005. She was also preceded in death by a brother: Bill Westall.
Surviving are 2 sisters: Betty Morris and husband, Bill, of Morganton and Jenny Hewitt and husband, Tom, of Tupelo, MS; 2 brothers: Wade Westall and wife, Ann, of Morganton and Zade Westall and wife, Geraldine, of Marion.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 P.M. Sunday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home. Rev. Richard Muri, Rev. Willie Rash and Tom Hewitt will officiate. Burial will be in the Academy Cemeter
The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to Hospice of Yancey County, 856 Georges Fork Road, Burnsville, NC 28714 or First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 425, Burnsville, NC 28714
PAULA MAE HIGGINS
Paula Mae Higgins, 78, of Mountain View Road, passed away Tuesday, December 2, 2008 at her home. A native of Yancey County, she was a daughter of the late Paul A. and Willie Mae Robertson Higgins. She graduated from Mars Hill College and Appalachian State Teachers College and was a school teacher and principal for 34 years. Paula Mae was an active Ruling Elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Burnsville. She was a realtor associated with Carolina Mountain Realty, and later, a partner in Styles Properties. She was active in the Democrat Party.
Surviving are a sister: Irene Penland of Burnsville; 3 nephews: Alex Penland and wife, Betty Carolyn, of Burnsville, Will Penland and wife, Nancy, of North Cove and Eric Penland and wife, Rhonda, of Green Mountain; a great niece, Lydia Penland of North Cove; 2 great nephews: Ed Penland and Joe Penland and wife, Rachel, of Burnsville; 3 great-great nieces: Emily, Brianna and Adrianna Penland and 2 great-great nephews: Bryson and John Penland.
Funeral services will be held at 7:30 PM Thursday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home. Revs. Drayton Cooper, Warner Anthony and Joe Bennett will officiate. A graveside service will be held at 11 AM Friday in the Penland Family Cemetery on Maney Branch. Rev. Maggie Lauterer will officiate.
The family will receive friends from 6 until 7:30 PM Thursday prior to the service at the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church, P O. Box 635, Burnsville, NC 28714.
DON RAY RAMSEY
Don Ray Ramsey, 68, of Arden, passed away Tuesday, December 2, 2008 at his home. A native of Yancey County, he was a son of the late Johnnie and Ruth Hensley Ramsey. He was the husband of Libby Johnson Ramsey who passed away in 2007. He was preceded in death by a sister, Ruby Wilson and brothers: Glenn and Kenneth Ramsey and a brother-in-law: Mack Wilson and sister-in-law: Earline Ramsey. He and his brothers operated Ramsey Brothers Produce at the WNC Farmers Market.
Surviving are a sister: Ima Jean Hendrix and husband, Jim, of Erwin, TN; a brother: Tate Ramsey of Asheville; 2 sisters-in-law Chloe Ramsey and Louise Ramsey of Burnsville; a son: John Jones of Arden; 5 step children; 7 step grandchildren and 10 step great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 8:00 P.M. Friday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home. Revs. Burl Ledford and Eugene Duyck will officiate. A graveside service will be held at 9:30 AM Saturday in the Johnnie Ramsey Family Cemetery.
The family will receive friends from 6 until 8:00 P.M. prior to the service at the funeral home.
Bonnie Wilson, 96, of Marion passed away Thursday, November 27, 2008 at Brookside Rehabilitation and Care. A native of Yancey County, she was a daughter of the late Harvey and Sarah McDowell Storie and wife of William Champ Silver who died in 1957 and the late Will Wilson. She was also preceded in death by a daughter: Zula Wilson, and a son: William David Silver. She was a member of Hicks Chapel Baptist Church.
Surviving are a daughter: Jean Allen of Burnsville; 3 sons: Frank Junior Silver and wife, Doris, Jerry Dean Silver and wife, Patricia, of Burnsville and Dennis Champ Silver and friend, Shirley, of Marion; 3 sisters: Blanche Romine of Marion, Ruby McMahan of Burnsville and Nell Stafford of Hickory, 28 grandchildren and several great and great-great grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 2 P.M. Saturday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home. Rev. Jerry Shelton will officiate. Burial will be in the McClurd Cemetery at Low Gap.
The family will receive friends 1 hour prior to the service at the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to Hospice of Yancey County, 856 Georges Fork Road, Burnsville, NC 28714.
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