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Avery, Watauga Obituaries – April 22, 2015

Lloyd H. Ragan (July 19, 1924 – April 21, 2015) 

Mr. Lloyd H. Ragan, 90, of 1267 Burkett Road, Boone, died Tuesday evening, April 21, 2015, at Glenbridge Health and Rehabilitation Center in Boone.


Mr. Ragan was born July 19, 1924 in Watauga County, a son of the late Doc S. Ragan and Fannie Lookabill Ragan. He was a U.S. Army Veteran, a retired employee of Watauga Wood Products, and was a member of Bethany Lutheran Church and the Meat Camp Volunteer Fire Department for many years.

Mr. Ragan is survived by one sister, Nancy Price of Zionville; three brothers, Joseph Ragan and David Ragan, both of Boone, and John Ragan and wife Fern of Eden, North Carolina; and one sister-in-law, Joyce Ragan of Boone. He is also survived by a number of nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers, Jessie and Orville Ragan and five sisters, Margaret Hayes, Grace Ragan, Annie Ragan, Kathleen Goodman and one infant sister.

Funeral services for Mr. Lloyd H. Ragan will be conducted Friday afternoon, April 24 at 1:00 o’clock at Hampton Funeral Home Chapel. The body will lie in state, at the chapel, from 12:00 until 1:00 o’clock. Officiating will be Pastor Laura Weant and Reverend John Bollinger. Burial will follow in the Hopewell Community Cemetery.

The family will receive friends Friday afternoon, from 12:00 until 1:00 o’clock at the Funeral Home, prior to the service. At other times, friends may call at the home of a niece, Debra P. Jones, 2335 Old U.S. Highway 421 South, Boone.

Flowers are appreciated, or memorial contributions may be made to the Hopewell Community Cemetery Fund, in care of Betty Davis, 4061 NC Highway 194 North, Boone, North Carolina 28607.

Online Condolences may be sent to the Ragan family at www.hamptonfuneralnc.com

Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements.

Mrs. Mary F. Tester (April 20, 1929 – April 21, 2015) 


Mrs. Mary Faye Trivette Tester, 86, of the Timbered Ridge community, passed to her eternal home in Heaven on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

Left to miss her are daughter, Betsy Tester Church, cherished granddaughters and their husbands, Erika Church Doss and Michael and Andrea Church Morrison and Seth; one adored great-grandson, Grant Seth Morrison; several very special nephews and nieces, three sisters-in-law: Mrs. Celia Trivette, Mrs. Rosalee Tester Lozano, Mrs. Mary Catherine Tester, and too many dear friends to count.

Mrs. Tester was preceded in death by her husband, Clyde Andrew Tester, her parents, Eldridge and Susie Hagaman Trivette, and her brothers, Max Trivette and Ned Trivette.

Graveside services for Mrs. Mary Faye Tester will be conducted on Thursday, April 23, at 3:00 pm at the Greene Cemetery; adjacent to the cherished old home place where she and her brothers were born and the garden where she spent numerous happy hours each summer. Officiating will be Rev. Derick Wilson.

Mary Faye long ago requested no flowers. The family respectfully asks that in lieu of flowers or food, donations be made in her memory to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-1905; to Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, 902 Kirkwood Street, NW, Lenoir, NC 28645; or, to the Greene Cemetery Fund in care of Tom Tester, PO Box 457, Sugar Grove, NC 29679.

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home is serving the Tester family to provide the “simple arrangements” as Mrs. Tester “never wanting to be any trouble” planned long ago. Online condolences are appreciated at the website www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the Tester family.

Oscar F. Hodges (Oct. 19, 1934 – April 19, 2015)

Oscar F. Hodges, 80, of Arnett Hollow Road, Vilas, passed away Sunday morning, April 19, 2015 at Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville.


Oscar Finley Hodges was born October 19, 1934 in Watauga County, he was a son of Joel Bynum and Exie Tolbert Hodges. Mr. Hodges was a member of Mount Lebanon Baptist Church. After serving in the U.S. Army, he received an Associate Degree in Applied Science from Caldwell Community College. Mr. Hodges retired from the Town of Boone as Superintendent of the waste water treatment plant.

During his early teen years, Oscar became an avid bear, deer and coon hunter, a hobby that he passed down to his next generation. He loved hunting and camping, especially with family, friends, and his special hunting buddy, Wayne Baird.

Mr. Hodges is survived by his wife of 57 years, Wava Yarber Hodges; sons, Blaine Hodges of Foscoe, Thomas Hodges of Vilas, and Aaron Hodges of Spruce Pine; daughter, Beverly Broschinski and husband, Rudy, of Sugar Grove; eleven grandchildren, Edward Hodges and wife, Mary, Kevin Hodges and wife, Heather, Christopher Hodges and wife, Amy, Eric, Everett and Joshua Broschinski, Avery, Austin and Ashley Hodges, Kayla Trivette and husband, Adam, and Hope Smith and husband, J.D.; eleven great-grandchildren; two sisters, Peggy Austin and husband, Bill, of Boone, and Beulah Bentley of Hickory; brother, Jay Hodges of Baltimore, Md.; two aunts, Floy Baird of West Jefferson, and Blanche Conley of Granite Falls; and two sisters-in-law, Zenna Pyatte and Georgie BelCostello. A host of loving nieces, nephews, and cousins also survive.

He was preceded in death by two sisters, Mary Arnette and Clara Hayes, and his parents.

Funeral services will be conducted Tuesday afternoon, April 21, at 2 oclock, at Mount Lebanon Baptist Church, officiated by Rev. Burl Greer and Rev. Derick Wilson. The body will lie in state at the church from 1 until 2 oclock. Graveside services, with Military Honors provided by the American Legion Post 130, will follow at the Danner Cemetery.

The family will receive friends Monday evening from 6 until 8 oclock at the Austin and Barnes Funeral Home.

Flowers are appreciated or memorials may be made to the Danner Cemetery Fund, in care of David Hodges, 1075 Laurel Fork Road, Vilas, NC 28692. Online condolences may be shared at the website www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com. Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Hodges family.


Mrs. Mary F. Cherry (Oct. 3, 1919 – April 18, 2015) 


Mary Farthing Cherry, 95, of Newland, died April 18, 2015 at her home. She was born October 3, 1919 in Boone to the late Donald D. Farthing, Sr., and Myrtle S. Farthing. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jasper Lee Cherry, brothers Harold, Don, and James Farthing.

Mary is survived by her two daughters, Kaye C. Wall and Mary C. Tate; one brother, Paul Farthing; son-in-law Battle Wall; grandchildren, Chris and Chad Tate and Kemp and Kathryn Wall; and seven great grandchildren.

She grew up in Watauga and Avery counties and graduated from Cranberry High School and Appalachian State Teachers College. She met her husband at Appalachian. Mary taught school for 32 years and retired in 1981. Her artistic talent brought much enrichment to her teaching. According to her students, she made school a happy place for them.

In addition to taking art classes during her retirement, she was an avid reader, loved to knit and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with all her grandchildren. She was dearly loved and will be missed by many.

In honor of her love for all children, memorials in her name may made to Crossnore School, Inc., 100 DAR Drive, Crossnore, NC 28616 or in honor of the wonderful care she received from hospice, Medi Home Hospice, PO Box 1357, Newland, NC 28657.

The family would like to express their gratitude and appreciation to her caregivers for the loving care they gave to her during her last years. A private memorial service will be held at a later date. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the Cherry family.


Genevieve Dowd (Dec. 31, 1924 – April 17, 2015) 


Genevieve Dowd, loving and devoted wife, loving mother, faithful church member, and one of the most determined women you will ever know, died on Friday, April 17 in Boone. She was surrounded by those she loved most – who held her hands and gently encouraged her as she went forward into the waiting arms of her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Genevieve (she chose to be called Genevieve, disliking her first name Elizabeth), or “Honey” to her close friends and family, was a ball of energy and wit and we know that wonderful memories of her will fill many people with the incredible joy she felt for life. She never met a stranger twice. All who knew her, knew that she was a foodie. Start a conversation on any topic and usually within a minute or two, you would be talking about food. Especially the elusive perfect pizza. Genevieve is preceded in death by her loving and devoted husband, Jack Shirley Dowd, and by her brothers and sisters: Neville Mann, Eleanor Dorigan, Jack Mann, and Florence Grant. She is survived by son Gary Dowd and his wife Clynda Dowd, grandson Joshua Dowd and his wife Genesis Dowd, granddaughter Eryn Dowd, and four great-grandchildren: Evelyn Dowd, Elynor Dowd, Elisabeth Dowd, and Hunter Nadeau. She is also survived by her nieces and nephews Darylann Barker, Philip Grant, Duane Grant, and Jacquiline Malone, James Mann, Genevieve Baum many great-nieces and nephews, as well as many in-laws, friends and family too numerous to list.

Genevieve was born on Dec. 31, 1924 and grew up in Howland, Maine. Her dad Jack William Davis Mann, worked in a paper mill and her mother, Mary Gertrude Whitney) Mann was a clerk in the Grant’s Department Store in Bangor, ME. After college, Genevieve worked as an accountant for the B&M Railroad in Boston, MA. She met and married Jack Dowd in Bangor, Maine on St. Patrick’s Day in 1951 and they had a wonderful marriage for 43 years.

Two of Genevieve’s great loves were for her Lord and her church. She was a member for many year of Southside Baptist Church in Manchester, N.H. and most recently of Valle Crucis United Methodist Church.

One of the things Genevieve wanted to do these past weeks was something to help the children that BethanyKids, an organization that treats children with medical needs in Africa. When she learned about the challenges families face to just get a sick child to a hospital, she committed to making a donation before she was even out of the hospital after her heart surgery. That’s just the sort of caring and generous woman she was. In view of this, the family would appreciate if, in lieu of flowers, gifts could be made in her memory to: BethanyKids, PO Box 1297, Abingdon, VA 24212-1297.

Genevieve will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her, but we have confidence that we will see her again as she is surely in the presence of her Lord Jesus.

A memorial service is being held at Valle Crucis United Methodist Church on Sunday, May 3 at 3 p.m.

Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements.


Jacob “Jake” Owens (June 4, 1943 – April 17, 2015)

Jake Owens, 71, of Newland passed away on April 17, 2015 at his residence.
A native of Avery County, he was born June 4, 1943 a son of Imogene Meredith Owens of Newland and the late Grady Owens.


He was the owner and operator of Jake Owens Builders.

Along with his father, Jake was preceded in death by his: sisters, Glenda Isaacs and Doris McGuire.

In addition to his mother, he has left to cherish his memory his loving wife, Suzanne Young Owens of the home; daughter, Cricket Blackley and husband Jarad of Crossnore; son, Chris Owens and wife Ashley, of Pineola; step-children, Joseph Ledford and wife Heather of Auburn, Al., Jenny Ledford of Bakersville; grandchildren, Reagan Owens, Bishop Blackley; step grandchildren, Todd Vance, Chloe Imhoff and Hezekiah Imhoff; brothers, Bob Owens, and his wife, Alice, of Spruce Pine, Cliff Owens, and his wife, Dot, of Roanoke, Va., Butch Owens, and his wife, Susie of Bakersville; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Jake had an enormous love of life and the natural ability to have fun. He valued hard work, building, creating flower gardens, cleaning and clearing his surroundings, helping others, dancing and viewing the beauty of the world. In the last three years, his activities have been less but the joy of having grandchildren filled his heart and his time.

Services to Celebrate the Life of Jake Owens will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 in the First Baptist Church Newland with Dr. Bill Jones officiating. The family will receive friends beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday at the church. Graveside services will be held on Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. in the Johnson Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Crooked Stick Wilderness Retreat for Youth created by First Baptist Church of Newland, PO Box 485, Newland, NC 28657. Words of comfort and memories may be shared with the family and viewed at www.rsfh.net.


Dorothy Bell Greene Biggerstaff (Feb. 23, 1930 – April 16, 2015)

Dorothy Bell Greene Biggerstaff, 85, of Linville passed away on April 16, 2015 at her residence.


A native of Avery County, she was born Feb. 23, 1930, a daughter of the late Bealer Stewart and Mary Leota Gragg Greene.

She was a homemaker and a member of Linville Evangelical Methodist Church where she served as Church Treasurer and Secretary.

Dorothy was a charter member of Linville Rescue and enjoyed crocheting, word search books, gardening (especially cactus), bird watching, watching Gaither Homecoming videos and she loved Her Lord.

Along with her parents, Dorothy was preceded in death by her sister, Mary Eleanor Greene.

Dorothy has left to cherish her memory her: husband, Boyd Biggerstaff of the home; children, Carol Potter and husband Billy of Boone, Danny Williams and wife Susie of Ingalls, Darrell “Whitey” Williams and wife Patty of Linville, Boyd K. Biggerstaff and wife Bambi of Linville; 8 grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren.

Funeral services for Dorothy Bell Greene Biggerstaff will be conducted on Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 2:00 pm at the Linville Evangelical Methodist Church with Dr. Ken Harper, Rev. Boyd K. Biggerstaff and Rev. Harold Brown officiating. Interment will follow in the Tanglewood Cemetery. Pallbearers will be: Billy Potter, Christopher Potter, John Tolley, Chris Johnson, Carroll Gragg, Sid Gragg; honorary pallbearers will be: Tony Luther, John Whitlock, M.D., Peter Haibach, M.D., Jenny Richardson, F.N.P., Jeffy Johnson, John Hicks, John Sturgill. The family will receive friends on Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Caldwell Hospice & Palliative Care at 902 Kirkwood Street NW, Lenoir, NC 28645 or to the Gideons International at PO Box 92 Newland, NC 28657.

The Biggerstaff family would like to say a special thank you to Caldwell Hospice and Avery County CAP.

Words of comfort and memories may be shared with the family and viewed at www.rsfh.net.

Rose Edna Yates Harmon (Jan. 24, 1921 – April 14, 2015) 


Mrs. Rose Edna Yates Harmon, 94, of 1740 Worley Road, Banner Elk, died Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at Watauga Medical Center in Boone.

Born Laura Rose Edna Yates on January 24, 1921 in Watauga County, she was a daughter of the late Ed and Mamie Matheson Yates, and the widow of Iris Carroll Harmon.

Mrs. Harmon was a homemaker and also worked many years as a housekeeper in Boone for a number of families whom she counted among her dearest friends. She was a member of Bethany Baptist Church.

Survivors include a daughter-in-law, Kathryn Harmon of Vilas; three grandchildren, Todd Harmon and wife Tracy of East Bend, Cheri Harmon and fiancé Jim Craver of Vilas, and Terry Harmon of Vilas; two great-grandchildren, Katie Harmon and Clark Harmon of East Bend; brothers and sisters-in-law, Herbert Yates and wife Doris of Banner Elk, and Ralph Yates and wife Evelyn of Boone; brother-in-law, Stuart Shook, Sr. of Lenoir; sister-in-law, Mary Yates of Greencastle, PA; and an aunt, Mattie Rominger of Sugar Grove. A number of nieces, nephews, and cousins also survive.

In addition to her parents and husband, Mrs. Harmon was preceded in death by her only child, Bobby Edward Harmon; three brothers, Winford, Tommy, and Everett Yates, and six sisters, Gladys Presnell, Marlyn Trivette, Ruby Yates, Wilma Shook, Irene Storie, and Lola Townsend.

Services for Mrs. Harmon will be conducted at 2:00 PM, Saturday, April 18 at Hampton Funeral Service in Boone with Rev. Ray Greene officiating. The body will lie in state, at the chapel, from 12:30 until 2:00 PM. Burial will follow in the Yates Cemetery in the Cool Springs Community.

The family will receive friends prior to the service, beginning at 12:30, at the funeral home.

Flowers are appreciated, or memorial contributions may be made to Bethany Baptist Church c/o Carlos Hicks, 1989 Worley Rd., Banner Elk, NC 28604 or to the Yates Cemetery Fund c/o Vanessa Rupard, 1078 Upper Crab Orchard Rd., Banner Elk, NC 28604.

Hampton Funeral Service is in charge of the arrangements.


Faye Fields Emerson (Dec. 19, 1927 – April 14, 2015)


Carol Faye Fields Emerson, age 87, of Elk Park passed away on April 14, 2015 at Life Care Center of Banner Elk.

She was born December 19, 1927 a daughter of the late W.R. Raymond and Minnie Fee Elizabeth Fields.

Faye was a member of Elk Park Christian Church, Order of the Eastern Star and was with the Cranberrian Corporation for many years.

She enjoyed cooking, flowers and her passion was fixing hair which she did for over 60 years.

Along with her parents, Faye was preceded in death by her: husband, Brian Emerson; siblings, Tellis Ted Fields, Willard Fields, Beatrice Greer; special friend, Carlton Kenneth Blair.

Faye has left to cherish her memory her: daughter, Mary Carla Emerson of Elk Park; son, David Emerson of Elk Park; grandchildren, Jeremiah Norman, Tyler Norman, Jessee Giordano, Lily Nenninger all of ELk Park; nephews, Chuck Fields of Cleveland, Oh., Kirk Greer of Burlington, NC.; niece, Sarah Gray of Burlington, NC.; Special friends, Betty Cloninger of Cranberry and Sandy Potter of Fork Mountain, TN.

Funeral services for Faye Fields Emerson will be conducted on Friday, April 17, 2015 at 5:30 pm at the Evergreen Freewill Baptist Church with officiating. Interment will follow in the Taylors Chapel . The family will receive friends from 4:00 pm until the service hour Friday at the church.

Words of comfort and memories may be shared with the family and viewed at www.rsfh.net.


rances Ledford Galbraith (April 8, 1926 – April 13, 2015)


Frances Ledford Milligan Galbraith, 89, of Montezuma, formerly of Charlotte and Pineville, passed away peacefully on April 13, 2015.

A native of Avery County, she was the daughter of the late Charlie and Sara J. Ledford.

She was a member of Aaron Baptist Church of Montezuma, having been baptized in the Linville River in 1940. She later joined the First Baptist Church Newland with her present husband.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by first husband Gene Milligan; sister, Marynell; brothers, Joe and Jack; half brother and sister.

A loving wife, mother and grandmother, she leaves behind to cherish her memory her husband, Robert Galbraith of the home; son, Mark Milligan; grandson, Mark Milligan, Jr.; nieces, Frances Ledford, Violet Ledford, JoElla Ledford, Dorothy Stout and Julie DiLello. In addition there are the grandchildren and great grandchildren and Letitia Galbraith, daughter-in-law of her husband Bob.

A private inurnment will be in the Montezuma Cemetery and a memorial service will be held at First Baptist Church Newland on Saturday, April 25 at 2:00 p.m. with Dr. Bill Jones officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: the Montezuma Cemetery Fund at PO Box 267 Montezuma, NC 28653 or to the Caregiver’s Haven, c/o Avery County Senior Center, Shultz Circle, Newland, NC 28657.

Words of comfort and memories may be shared with the family and viewed at www.rsfh.net.