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Avery County Obituaries – Compiled Nov. 21, 2014

Ray Alvin Presnell (March 25, 1948 – Nov. 18, 2014)


Mr. Ray Alvin Presnell, 66, of Dry Hill Road, Butler, Tenn., passed away Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 18, 2014, at home. Born March 25, 1948, in Avery County, he was a son of the late Samuel Craft and Delphia Presnell.

Mr. Presnell was a U.S. Navy Veteran and served in Vietnam. Alvin was a man of many talents, he owned and operated Craft Wood Products for 20 years and The Barn restaurant for a number of years and raised Dexter cattle on his farm.

He is survived by his wife, Rebecca Presnell, two sons, Norman Presnell and Matthew Presnell both of Butler, two grandchildren, Pacey and Corbin Presnell both of Butler, two sisters, Shirley Richardson and husband David of Vilas, and Kathy Dayton of Florida and a number of nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by two brothers, Benny and Elijah Presnell.

Funeral services for Mr. Alvin Presnell were conducted at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, at Cherokee Mountain Church in Jonesborough, Tenn. Officiating was the Rev. Kenny Whaley and the Rev. Josh Hamby. The body will lie in state at the church from 1 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675 or online by clicking to www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

The family received friends from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, at Austin and Barnes Funeral Home.

Online condolences may be shared with the Presnell family by clicking to www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.

Austin and Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Presnell family.

Hazel Virginia Smith Clark (Oct. 7, 1935 – Nov. 17, 2014)


Hazel Virginia Smith Clark, 79, of Newland passed away on Nov. 17, 2014 at her residence surrounded by her loving family.

A native of Avery County, she was born Oct. 7, 1935, a daughter of the late Cart and Flossie Turbyfill Smith.

Hazel spent her life in service to others. She was the devoted mother of a large family, a dedicated teacher’s assistant at Newland and Crossnore Elementary Schools and a faithful member of First Baptist Church Newland.

Along with her parents, Hazel was preceded in death by her son, Douglas Clark; two infant children; and a brother, Charles Smith.

Hazel has left to cherish her memory her husband of 57 years, Arthur Clark; five children, Arthur Wade “Box” Clark of Newland, Vicki Church and husband Jerry Letterman of Bakersville, Jeff Clark of Roan Mountain, Eric Clark and wife Karen of Newland, Eddy Clark and wife Brooke of Newton, NC; daughter-in-law Kim Clark, who lovingly cared for Hazel the last five years of her life; siblings, Joan Bailey of Elizabethton, Brenda Brewer of Newland, Linda Johnson of Newland, Donna Ward of Newland, Richard Smith of Sanford, Sam Smith of Newland; 10 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; and a multitude of nieces and nephews.

The family gives everyone who helped care for Hazel their deepest gratitude, especially the staff of Medi Home Hospice.

Funeral services for Hazel Virginia Smith Clark will be conducted on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Grandfather Chapel of Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home with Rev. Lonnie Barnes officiating.

The family will receive friends from 5 p.m. until the service hour. Family, friends and pallbearers will meet at the Funeral Home on Friday, Nov. 21, at 10:00 a.m. to go in procession to the Newland Cemetery for graveside services.

Geraldine Smith McGee (Dec. 19, 1926 – Nov. 14, 2014)


Geraldine Smith McGee, aka Jeri, 87, of Elk Park passed away on Nov. 14, 2014 at the Life Care Center in Banner Elk.

A native of Avery County, she was born Dec. 19, 1926, the eldest child of the late E.L. and Mamie Richardson Smith.

A graduate of Appalachian State Teachers College in Boone, she was a great mentor and loving teacher for 35 years, retiring from the Avery County Schools. She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, a national teachers organization. Jeri was a very active member of the Elk Park Christian Church. She loved flowers, reading, cooking, and absolutely adored antiquing.

Along with her parents, she was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Harry McGee in 2009 and a sister, Marilyn McKinney.

A loving matriarch of her family, she leaves behind to cherish her memory, a daughter, Debbie Banner, and her husband Joe, of Newland; grandson, Joseph Banner, Jr, and his wife Christina, of Newland; great granddaughter, Sophie Banner; sisters: Rita Bowers of Powell, Tenn., Barbara Buchanan, and her husband Bruce, of Burlington, Betty Lawing, and her husband Perry, of Marion; brother in law, D.L. McKinney, husband of her deceased sister Marilyn, of Minneapolis; brother Jim Smith, and his wife Betty, of Salisbury; a host of nieces and nephews, whom she adored. Linda Ferguson was dear to Jeri’s heart as Linda cared for her and Harry for the past several years.

The family will receive friends on Sunday afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home in Newland.

Funeral services for Jeri will be conducted at 2:30 pm on Monday, Nov. 17, 2014 at the Elk Park Christian Church with the Rev. Palma Bennett officiating. Interment will follow in the Minneapolis Cemetery with the Rev. Harry Bowers officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Elk Park Christian Church, PO Box 158, Elk Park, NC 28622

Words of comfort and memories may be shared with the family and viewed at www.rsfh.net. Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland is serving the McGee family.

Helen Manassa Wise (D. Nov. 13, 2014)


Helen Manassa Wise, 97, of the Green Valley Community, went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, at Cannon Memorial Hospital.

A native of Avery County, she was a daughter of the late Clifton “Big Dad” and Viola Dellinger Wise. She was also preceded in death by two brothers: Garmon and Lloyd Wise. She was a lifetime member of Pisgah United Methodist Church where she always had a smile and a hug for everyone. Helen was a loving mother that helped raise all her nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. She enjoyed gardening, canning and feeding everyone that visited her home including the wild turkeys that came into her yard.

Surviving is her daughter, Betty Wise of the home; nieces: Brenda Byrd and husband, Sam, Carolyn Dellinger and late husband, Ross, Louise Calloway and late husband, CW, Carlyon Wise and late husband, David, all of Green Valley and June Willis and husband, Bill of Spruce Pine; nephew, Eugene Wise and wife, Edie, of Little Buck Hill; great-niece, Dawn Honeycutt and husband, Richard, of Green Valley; two great-nephews: Jeff Byrd and wife, Kelly and Greg Gardner and wife, Lisa, all of Green Valley. Several great-great nieces and nephews also survive.

Funeral services were held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014, at Pisgah United Methodist Church. The Rev. Ted Henry, the Rev. Keith Tutterow and speaker Greg Gardner officiated. Burial followed in the church cemetery. The family received friends on Sunday at the church. Pallbearers were Jeff Byrd, Greg Gardner, Kevin Gardner, Kenny McFee, Joshua Roberson, Levi Roberson and Richard Honeycutt; honorary pallbearers were Sam Byrd and Eugene Wise.

Memorials can be made to Pisgah United Methodist Church at 9132 Linville Falls Highway, Newland, NC 28657. To send online condolences, click to www.yanceyfuneralservice.com.

Jacob Frederick VonCanon (Dec. 7, 1930 – Nov. 10, 2014)


Jacob Frederick VonCanon, 83, a resident of Lincoln, Ark., passed away suddenly on Nov. 10, 2014, in Marlin, Texas. He was born Dec. 7, 1930, in Lincolnton, the son of Frederick and Margaret Abernathy VonCanon.

Jacob graduated from Cranberry High School in Banner Elk. He then graduated college from North Carolina State. He served in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict and taught at the University of Arkansas.

He was preceded in death by one son, Michael Douglas VonCanon.

Survivors include his wife of 30 years, Carol Ann Boyce VonCanon; six children: Susanna VonCanon of Amsterdam, Holland, David VonCanon and wife Carolyn of Lincoln, Ark., Frederick VonCanon and wife Anita of Raleigh, Jon VonCanon and wife Jennifer of Wake Forest, Angela Tolbert and husband Bill of Springfield, Miss., and Rachel (VonCanon) Crabtree and husband Dan of Vicenza, Italy; 11 grandchildren: Anthony, Stanton, Lesley, Theron, Kyla, Maggie, Morgan, Owen, Andrew, Oliver and Kingston; three great-grandchildren: Alex, Livia and Jordan; his former wife Joann Southern of Fayetteville, Ark.; one sister, Louise (VonCanon) Holshouser of Banner Elk.

The family received friends on Thursday evening at Luginbuel Funeral Home.

The funeral service took place at 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, at Luginbuel Chapel in Prairie Grove. Burial was in Bethesda Cemetery near Morrow, Ark.; there was no graveside service.

Memorial may be made to Feeding Avery Families, 125 Farm Lane, Banner Elk, N.C. 28604; or to any other charitable society of your choosing.