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Avery County Obituaries – Compiled Dec. 30, 2014

Paul Farthing (Oct. 26, 1928 – Dec. 26, 2014)

Absent from the body, present with the Lord for all eternity Paul Conard Farthing, beloved husband of Rosa Tipton Farthing, went to be with his wonderful Savior on Dec. 26, 2014.

He was the father of Debbi Weston and her husband, Tim Weston, of Kingsport, Tennessee and Patricia Carter of Ringgold, Georgia. He is survived by three grandchildren, Kristen Miller and her husband, T.J. Miller, Troy Weston, and Allison Carter. He is also survived by two great-grandsons, Caden Miller and Jerimiah Miller.

His family wants to express their deepest thanks to each of Mr. Farthing’s doctors, nurses, and caregivers. Consistent with his wishes, Mr. Farthing will be buried in the Farthing family cemetery in North Carolina. In lieu of flowers, donations to Cedar View Methodist Church are graciously appreciated.

Condolences and memories may be shared at www.rsfh.net
Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland, NC is serving the Farthing family.

Amelia Jane Brooks (Nov. 5, 1941 – Dec. 25, 2014)

Amelia Jane Brooks, 73, of 212 Sky View Lane in Newland passed away, Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014, following an extended illness.

A native of Chester, S.C., she was born on Nov. 5, 1941, as a daughter of the late Ambrose W. Brooks Sr. and Rebecca Naomi Yongue Brooks. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a brother, Ambrose W. Brooks, Jr.

She was a resident of Newland for many years and was a member of the Purity Presbyterian Church in Chester, S.C. and attended the Newland Presbyterian Church in Newland. Amelia retired as a Medicare Medicaid Supervisor with Chester County Social Services.

She always had the well being of others in her heart and enjoyed visiting with shut ins, even when she herself was on a walker.

Amelia is survived by her sister, Rebecca Brooks of Newland.

The family would like to express a special thank you to the staff of Medi Home Hospice for all the love and care shown to Amelia during her illness by requesting that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to Medi Home Hospice PO Box 1357 Newland, NC 28657.

Services for Amelia Jane Brooks will be held in Chester, S.C.

Rogers Vance Whitener (May 10, 1919 – Dec. 19, 2014) 

Rogers V. Whitener, Professor Emeritus of English at Appalachian State University, writer and scholar, actor, and notable patron and promoter of local folk and fine arts, died on Dec. 19, 2014 in Banner Elk.

Born 10 May 1919, in Dysartsville to the late Daniel and Minnie Price Whitener and reared in Rutherford County, Mr. Whitener grew up experiencing the bonds, joys, and education of rural folk groups. Memories of childhood singings, molasses making, weatherlore, superstitions, and legends gave his research and writing about North Carolina folklife, a special sense of things remembered, but also a sharp eye for the functions of traditional culture in the present.

Mr. Whitener received a B.S. in English and History from Appalachian State Teachers College in 1948 after an undergraduate career interrupted by three years of Army Air Force service during World War II. While an undergraduate, he worked assembling and typing the ballad manuscripts collected by W. Amos Doc Abrams. Those collections became important parts of the folksong volumes of The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore and the Abrams Collection in the archives of the Eury Appalachian Collection at Appalachian State University. He was editor of the college newspaper, starred in Playcrafter productions, and served a season as Yosef, ASTCs Mountaineer mascot.

From 1948 to 1950, Mr. Whitener attended the University of Florida, where he received his M.A. in English and served on the editorial staff of Southern Folklore. After a decade of teaching at Florida Southern College, he joined the faculty of Appalachian State Teachers College in fall 1959 as an assistant professor in the Department of English. He retired from Appalachian State University as Professor Emeritus in 1989 after a 30-year career as teacher, writer, and administrator. He served for 20 years as the university’s Director of Cultural Affairs; in that position, he organized ambitious and innovative programs bringing artists, musicians, poets, plays, and musical performances to the campus. His leadership and hard work established important series that were forerunners of many of Appalachians present arts programs. He and his wife Janice were notable patrons of local artists and collectors of their artwork.

For over a decade, Rogers wrote Folkways and Folk Speech, a twice-weekly column sponsored by the Appalachian Consortium and syndicated in 30 newspapers in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. An important success of that column was his establishing a careful appreciation by the folk themselves of their customs, sayings, stories, superstitions and songs. Frequently, Rogers column served as a means by which letter writers, realizing through Rogers writing the value of local folk culture, were able to express their own study and appreciation of an aspect of those traditions to a wider audience by publication in Folkways and Folk Speech. These columns contributed to two editions of Thrice Told Tales, which Rogers wrote and which included illustrations by his good friend Joe Miller. Their book has continued to be a popular presentation of local folklife and drew much praise from reviewers.
For a number of years, Mr. Whitener performed in regional outdoor dramas, including The Lost Colony, where he acted with Andy Griffith; Horn in the West; and in the Tennessee play Chucky Jack. He also served as interviewer and narrator for a number of documentary programs produced at Appalachian, including a video orientation program tracing events in the history of the university. For a time, he was the voice of Appalachian in its public programming.

Mr. Whitener was a longtime member of the North Carolina Folklore Society and served in various leadership roles in that organization. In 1979, the Society awarded him its Brown-Hudson Folklore Award for his contributions to the appreciation and continuation of North Carolina folklore, and in 1981, the Society published as the North Carolina Folklore Journals spring-summer edition an anthology of his writings on local folklife. He was also instrumental in the discovery and national recognition of local folk artists through his friendship with the late Ralph Rinzler, director of the Smithsonian Institutions Summer Folklife Festival. Local folk artists he helped publicize included Willard and Ora Watson, Ray and Stanley Hicks, and Doc Watson.

Mr. Whitener was predeceased by his wife Janice Robertson Whitener. He is survived by two daughters, Lori Kim Buntin and Katy Miranda Lipkus, her spouse, Isaac Marcelo Lipkus, and their son, Noah and by nephew, Jerry Hollingsworth and his wife Sherry.

A memorial service for Rogers Vance Whitener will be held Jan. 4, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. at Austin & Barnes Funeral Chapel. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Rogers and Janice Whitener Scholarship in Creative Writing of the Appalachian State University Foundation.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the Whitener family.