: OBITUARIES :
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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN DOWIS

Benjamin Franklin Dowis went to be with the Lord Sunday, April 10, 2011 at home in Cattail Creek Mountain Farm.  He was a son of the late Benjamin Franklin and Gladys Baker Dowis.  Ben was born in Rock Island, Illinois on June 26, 1938 and graduated from United Township High School.  Before moving here from Florida in 1993, Ben was an active member of First Baptist Church in Eustis and was active in the community.  He was also a 33º  Mason.

 

He has been an active member of Laurel Branch Baptist Church and Men’s Group for Pensacola and a member of the Burnsville Masonic Lodge # 717 A.F.&A.M.  He ran the Pensacola Sales and Service for the last five years and was Chairman of the Republican Party in the Pensacola District.

 

He is survived by his wife, Judy Dowis; his children:  Ben, Scott and Lonny Dowis, Jeff Robinson, June Bolling and Connie Lucas; 12 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren; 3 sisters:  Beverly Bletner, Joyce Fuller and Rosalie Wagamon.

 

A memorial service will be held at 2 PM Tuesday in Laurel Branch Baptist Church.  Rev. Ray Strickland will officiate.  Masonic rites will be conferred by the Burnsville Lodge # 717 AF&AM.

 

The family will receive friends following the service at the church.

 

Memorials may be made to Gideons International, P. O. Box 264, Burnsville, NC 28714.

ARNOLD WHITSON

Arnold Whitson, 95, of Burnsville, passed away Friday, April 1, 2011, at Brookside Rehabilitation & Care.  He was a son of the late Noah and Fannie Howell Whitson.  Arnold was also preceded in death by his wife:  Janie Whitson who died in 1988; brother:  Naff Whitson; 2 sisters:  Edith Taylor and Jean Radford; son:  Staff Sergeant John Whitson; and, son-in-law:  Bobby Riddle.

Survivors include 2 daughters:  Wanda Penland and husband, Maurice, of Burnsville, and Susan Riddle of Asheville; 2 sons:  Ray Whitson and wife, Sande, of Sand Point, ID and Rick Whitson of Asheville; 8 grandchildren:  Suzette Butner and husband, Bryan, of Burnsville, Deanna Whitson of Sacramento, CA, Jon Penland and Jason Penland and wife, Alicha, both of Burnsville, Rae Lea Whitson of Sand Point, ID, Heather Harper, Holly Ruiz, Rock Fisher, all of Weaverville; 13 great grandchildren; brother:   Wayne Whitson and wife, Becky, of Virginia Beach, VA; a sister:  Louise Reel of Asheville; 2 brothers-in-law:  Clyde and Fred Tallent; son-in-law:  Eddie Fisher; several nieces and nephews; special friend:  Violet Wyatt; and a wealth of friends, including his special friend at Brookside:  Reece Whitson.

A graveside service will be held at 2PM Wednesday in the National Veteran’s Cemetery in Salisbury.  Rev. Jerry Shelton will officiate. 

Memorial donations may be made to Gideons International, P. O. Box 264, Burnsville, NC 28714.

CECIL HIGGINS

Cecil Higgins, 95, of Piney Hill passed away Thursday, March 31, 2011 at Mountain Manor Assisted Living.  A native of Yancey County, he was a son of the late Milus and Effie Higgins.  He was also preceded in death by a sister,  Nettie Lee Pate and brothers:  Ned, Crate, Horace and Roy Higgins.  He was a World War II Army Veteran and a retired timber man.

 

Surviving are a sister, Clillion Bailey of Burnsville and several nieces and nephews.

 

Funeral services will be held at 3:00 PM Sunday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home.  Rev. Odis Hudgins will officiate.  Burial will be in the Higgins Cemetery.

 

The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.

 

The family wishes to extend special thanks to Mountain Manor Assisted Living and Hospice of Yancey County for the care given Cecil.

REV. LESTER MURPHEY

Rev. Lester Murphey, 65, of 423 Hardscrabble Road, Burnsville, went to be with His Lord and Savior on Tuesday, March 29, 2011, at Madison Health & Rehabilitation Center.  A native of Old Fort, NC, he was the son of the late Hardy L. and Ella Maude Davis Murphy.  He pastored Hot Springs, Middle Fork and Madison Seminary Baptist Churches in the French Broad Association and Mt. Pleasant Baptist in the Yancey Association.  He taught school at Weaverville Elementary for 23 years and 1 year at Glen Alpine Elementary in Burke County.

He graduated from Old Fort High School in 1963, attended North Carolina State for 1 year, Gardner Webb College for 2 years and graduated from Mars Hill College in 1969.  Lester later received his Master’s Degree at Western Carolina University and a pastoral certificate from Seminary Extension.  He paid his own way through college by working part-time jobs during the year and full time jobs in the summers.  He pastored and taught at the same time for most of his working years.

Lester loved people and always wanted to help others in any way he could.  After retirement, he enjoyed volunteering with Meals on Wheels.  He loved to be outdoors and was an avid hiker, hardly ever missing a Saturday hiking trip with his family.  Animals were his love and he had many pets, Oreo and Curley being his latest.

Surviving are his beloved wife of 44 years:  Sylvia McAfee Murphey; 2 daughters:  Beth Murphey of Black Mountain and Kim Barnes of Mars Hill; 3 precious grandsons:  Joshua, Jared and Taylor; and, 3 brothers:  Clayton and Colish of Old Fort and Clinton of Marion.

A celebration of life will be held at 2PM Saturday, April 2, in the Gabriels Creek Baptist Church in Mars Hill, of which he was a member.  The Revs. Worth Emory and Keith Edwards will officiate.  Burial will be held at 11AM, receiving of friends at 1PM and the celebration of his life at 2PM.

Flowers are appreciated, but in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Memory Care, 100 Far Horizons Lane, Asheville, NC 28803, or online at www.MemoryCare.org.

The family would like to thank the staff and Dr. Nettie White of Madison Health and Rehabilitation Center for the wonderful care provided to Lester, and to MemoryCare staff and Dr. Virginia Templeton for their continued support.

CAROLYN SUE JONES HENSLEY

Carolyn Sue Jones Hensley, 70, of Bowditch, passed away Sunday, March 27, 2011 at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital.  A native of Yancey County, she was a daughter of the late James and Annie Mae Murphy Jones.  She was preceded in death by 2 sisters:  Rebecca Kay Jones and Zellma Mathis.  She was a member of Rebels Creek Baptist Church.

 

Surviving are her son:  Jeff Hensley of Micaville; a granddaughter:  Morgan Nicole Hensley of Clyde; a grandson:  Seth Lee Hensley of Raleigh; 5 sisters:  Pat Gosnell and Barbara Landers of Micaville; Louise Buchanan of Bakersville, Nancy Mull and Ruth Parlier of Morganton; and a brother: Lloyd Jones of Marion.

 

Funeral services will be held at 2 PM Wednesday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home.  Rev. GE Freeman will officiate.  Burial will be in the Bowditch Cemetery.

 

The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.

WILLIE DALE ROBINSON AUTREY

Willie Dale Robinson Autrey, 70, of Celo, passed away Saturday, March 26, 2011, at her home.  A native of Yancey County, she was a daughter of the late Ransom and Lucille Burgin Robinson.  She was also preceded in death by her husbands:  Bobby Murphy and Jay Autrey; her son:  Dean Murphy; and, her brother:  Phillip Robinson.  Willie Dale was a retired employee of Glen Raven Mills, with 34 years of service.  She was a member of South Toe Baptist Church.

Surviving are an uncle and aunt:  Robert Earl and Maxie Burgin of Celo; special friends:  Eddie and Norma Robinson; cousins:  Frank Grindstaff, Shelby Jean Simmons, Jewell Huskins, Charles Carroll, Norma Bagwell, Buster and Lyndon Burgin.

Funeral services will be held at 2PM Thursday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home.  Revs. Randy Autrey and Charles Carroll will officiate.  Burial will be in the Ballew Cemetery.

The family will receive friends 1 hour prior to the service at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association, 222 South Church Street, Suite 303, Charlotte, NC 28202.

RANDY HENSLEY

Randy “Red Eyes” Hensley, 47, of David’s Park Drive, passed away Wednesday, March 23, 2011, at Brookside Rehabilitation & Care.  A native of Yancey County, he was a son of the late Frank and Ollie Lovin Hensley.  He was also preceded in death by a granddaughter:  Jessica Hensley; 3 half- brothers:  Dean and Billy Fred Hensley and Larry Edwards.

Surviving are his wife:  Deborah Hensley; a son:  Jesse Hensley; and a daughter:  Peggy Hensley of Burnsville; a sister:  Diane Franklin of Burnsville; half-brothers:  Pete and Gordon Hensley of Burnsville, Edwin Hensley of Weaverville, Roy Lee Hensley of Mars Hill and Robert Hensley of Tucson, AZ; and, 6 grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 2PM Saturday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home.  Rev. Jim Campbell will officiate.  Burial will be in the Windy Gap Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 12 noon until 2PM prior to the service at the funeral home.

CARL JAMES SMITH

Carl James “Jimmie” Smith, 89, of Greenville, SC, went home to be with the Lord Tuesday, March 22, 2011, at Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville.  A native of Jackson County, he was a son of the late Carl Murray and Lillie Galloway Smith.  He was also preceded in death by a grandson:  Andy Steele; and, a son-in-law:  Larry Robinson.  Jimmy was a World War II Navy Veteran, a Master Mason and Shriner and, a former owner of IMOCO Corporation in Hendersonville.

 

Surviving are his wife:  Mary Jo Brown Smith; daughters:  Pat Robinson and Jennifer Steele and husband, Carlyle, all of Greenville; and, 3 grandchildren:  Jacob and Matthew Robinson and Mary Kennington Steele.

 

Funeral services will be held at 2PM Friday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home.

 

Burial will be in the George Brown Family Cemetery at West Burnsville.

 

The family will receive friends 1 hour prior to the service at the funeral home.

 

Memorials may be made to The Rathbun Center, 121 Sherwood Road, Asheville, NC 28803.

DAVID PHILLIPS

David Phillips, 49, of Burnsville, passed away Tuesday, March 22, 2011, at his home.  A native of Yancey County, he was the son of Kenneth and Joan Cramer Phillips of Burnsville.  A former employee of SMP Data of Swannanoa, David was an accomplished freelance photographer.  One of his interests was sports, including local schools, youth league, and Appalachian State University.  He was a member of Bolens Creek Baptist Church.  David was a very loving and caring person with a special interest in youth.

Surviving, in addition to his parents, are his wife of 18 years:  Kim Edwards Phillips; 2 daughters:  Brooke Phillips and Brittany Duncan of the home;  granddaughter:  Kirra; beloved pet:  Sammy; father and mother-in-law:  Ron and Lou Edwards; sister-in-law:  Angie Laws; a nephew:  Zachary; and, a niece:  Ciara Laws, all of Burnsville.

Funeral services will be held at 8PM Thursday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home.  Dr. Chris Morgan and Revs. Gene King and Bud Edwards will officiate.  A graveside service will be held at 11AM Friday in the Phillips Family Cemetery on Hardscrabble Road.

The family will receive friends from 6 until 8PM prior to the service at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to Hospice of Yancey County, 856 Georges Fork Road, Burnsville, NC 28714.

MILLER HONEYCUTT

Miller Honeycutt, 64, of Burnsville, went to be with the Lord, Monday, March 21, 2011 at his home.  A native of Yancey County, he was a son of the late Jack and Emma Lou Chrisawn Honeycutt.  He was also preceded in death by 5 brothers.

 

Surviving are his wife of 44 years:  Rita Whitson Honeycutt; 3 children:  Miller Raymond Honeycutt of Atlanta, GA, Nancy Davis of Morganton and Marvin Honeycutt of Burnsville; a step grandson:  Justin Davis; 4 brothers:  Ricky Honeycutt, Randy Honeycutt, Jackie Honeycutt and Dean Honeycutt and a sister:  Karen Gilbert.

 

A graveside service will be held at 3:00 PM Tuesday in the Academy Hill Cemetery.  Revs. Dwight Boone, Jr. and Hasket Honeycutt, Jr. will officiate.

 

The family will receive friends from 5 until 7 PM Tuesday at Faith Baptist Church. 

 

The family would like to express special thanks to Sarah Gibbs.

 

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