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72-Year-Old Woman in Boone Dies on Tuesday After Lawnmower Topples Over in Her Yard

By Jesse Wood

BigFranklin, Leverne - 1A Watauga County woman died on Tuesday after a riding lawnmower fell on top of her, according to an incident report from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office.

Sandra LaVerne Franklin, 72, of 476 Gable Farm Road in Boone was operating the machinery on late Tuesday afternoon when the lawnmower toppled over in her yard.

The call for help came in at 6:19 p.m. Franklin had already passed away when responders arrived as the incident was labeled an “unattended death” on the report from the sheriff’s office.

While her death appears to be an accident, the incident report notes that the case is still under further investigation.

Reached for comment on Wednesday morning, Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman said that the case has been turned over to the medical examiner.

See Mrs. Franklin’s obituary below:

Mrs. LaVerne K. Franklin (Nov. 4, 1942 – May 12, 2015) 

Mrs. LaVerne Vern Killian Franklin, 72, of Gable Farm Road, passed away Tuesday, May 12, 2015.

Born Nov. 4, 1942 in Hickory, she was a daughter of the late Gaither MacDewey Killian and Margaret Davis Killian. Vern as she was affectionately known, was a graduate of Appalachian State University, and taught cosmetology at Watauga High School for a number of years. She was a member of the Boone Advent Christian Church where she sang in the choir. LaVerne also participated in project Linus.

She is survived by her husband Boyd Franklin, three children, Jennifer Sigmon and husband Mark of Hickory, Morgan Redmond and husband Tom of Boone, and Andy Martin and wife Stephanie of Deep Gap, seven grandchildren; Anna Bigelow, Casey Hedrick, Leah Bridges, Evie Redmond, Jonah Martin, Avery Martin and Jillian Martin, seven great grandchildren; Zachary Goins, Bearik Bigelow, Grace Bigelow, Grace Bigelow, Maverick Bigelow, Aidan Hedrick, Gavin Hedrick and Ian Hedrick, one sister, Becky Sigmon and husband Max, one brother, Leonard Killian and wife Ann, her beloved Dachshund, Rosie, and a number of nieces and nephews.

Funeral services for Mrs. LaVerne Franklin will be conducted Saturday afternoon at 3 oclock at the Boone Advent Christian Church. Officiating will be Rev. Gordon Noble. Flowers are accepted or memorials may be made to the Advent Christian Church Choir Fund, in care of Joyce Sherrill, 413 Shady Bark Lane, Boone, NC 28607 or to the Watauga Unit of the North Carolina Retired School Personnel, in care of Dot Barker, 451 Poplar Hill Drive, Boone, NC 28607.

The family will receive friends Saturday afternoon prior to the service from 2 oclock until 3 oclock at the Boone Advent Christian Church. Online condolences may be shared with the Franklin family at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home is serving the Franklin family.