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Avery, Watauga Obituaries – July 14, 2015

Robert Thomas Owens Sr. (March 5, 1936 – July 14, 2015)

Robert Thomas Owens Sr., age 79, of Spruce Pine passed away on July 14, 2015 at Burke Hospice and Palliative Care.

He was born March 5, 1936 in Avery County, NC son of Imogene Meredeth Owens of Newland and the late Grady Owens.

Robert served in the U.S. Army and was a member of Newland Volunteer Fire Department.

He enjoyed wood working, fishing and hunting, especially hearing his beagles run.


Along with his father, Robert was preceded in death by his: first wife and mother of his children, Julie Brewer Owens; sisters, Doris McGuire, Glenda Isaacs; brother, Jake Owens; step-son, David Sparks; step-granddaughter, Aliza Sparks.

Along with his mother, Robert, a loving husband, father and Pa-Paw, has left to cherish his memory his: wife, Alyce Sparks Owens of the home; daughters, Marsha Kay Powell and husband Frankie of Valdese, Shirley Owens Yancey and husband Lynn of Valdese; Robert Thomas Owens, Jr. of Drexel, NC; step-daughters, Candace Sparks of Spruce Pine, Christy Sparks King of Spruce Pine; brother, Clifford Owens and wife Dot of Roanoke, VA., Butch Owens and wife Susie of Bakersville; sister-in-law, Suzanne Owens of Newland; eleven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Funeral services for Robert Thomas Owens Sr. will be conducted on Friday, July 17, 2015 at 7:00 pm at the Grandfather Chapel of Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home with Dr. Bill Jones officiating. The family will receive friends from 5:00 p.m. until the service hour. Family and friends are asked to meet at the funeral home on Saturday, July 18, 2015 at 10:00 am to go in procession to the Johnson Cemetery for graveside services.

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

Carolyn Rhodes Kirksey (May 12, 1942
- July 13, 2015)

Carolyn Sue Kirksey of Boone, NC went home to be with the Lord on July 13, 2015 at the age of 73. She had been battling liver failure for the past year. 

Carolyn was born on May 12, 1942 in Graceville, FL to Lexie and Agnes Rhodes.


She was the youngest of seven children: Alma Deshazo, Doug Rhodes, Ormand Rhodes, Anice Toole, Ouida Pipkin, and Hazel Patton. 

She attended Union Elementary School and graduated from Graceville High School in 1960. She was a member of Galilee United Methodist Church in Graceville. 

Upon graduation she took a job in the admissions department of Florida State University and worked there until 1966. Carolyn then moved to Pensacola, FL and worked in the admissions department of the University of West Florida.

She married Jerry Kirksey on October 1, 1967 in Pensacola, FL. She left her work at UWF in 1968 in order to start a family. Her son Kenneth Kirksey was born in 1969. That same year she helped husband Jerry start the Singing News magazine. Her second son Brett Kirksey was born in 1971. The family were members of First Baptist Church in Pensacola. 

Carolyn returned to work for the state of Florida as an administrative assistant to R.W. “Smokey” Peaden, a state representative in the Florida House of Representatives from 1972-1976.

Following several years as a homemaker, Carolyn returned to work as an administrator at the assisted living facility Bayou Villas in Pensacola. She then returned to work for the state of Florida as an administrator with the Division of Acoholic Beverages and Tobacco. 

Carolyn and the Kirksey Family moved to Boone, NC in 1987 along with the Singing News magazine. She used her administrative skills to help re-establish the Singing News in its new home.

In the early 1990s she returned to homemaking and her true love of cooking. She continued to travel with Jerry to Southern Gospel concerts through 2010. The Kirksey family were members of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Boone, and are current member of Grace Lutheran Church in Boone. 

Many Southern Gospel artists and fans know Carolyn from her decades of concert attendance working at the Singing News table. She also wrote a monthly cooking column in the Singing News and published the Singing News cookbook “For the Love of cooking”. 

Carolyn enjoyed traveling, antiquing, decorating, cooking, and doll collecting along with making everyone who entered her home a member of the family. She also enjoyed participating with several charities including Galilean Children’s Home, Lighthouse Children’s Home, Hebron Colony, and Samaritan’s Purse.

She is survived by husband Jerry Kirksey of Boone, NC; son Kenneth Kirksey and his wife Deborah Kirksey of Boone, NC; son Brett Kirksey of Boone, NC; sister Ouida Pipkin of Mount Dora, FL; and sister Hazel Patton of Dothan, AL along with numerous beloved nieces and nephews. 

Carolyn was preceded in death by parents Lexie and Agnes Rhodes, sister Alma Deshazo, brother Doug Rhodes, brother Ormand Rhodes, and sister Anice Toole.

A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, July 25, 2015 at 2:00 pm with Rev. Larry Ford officiating. The service will be held at: 

Galilee United Methodist Church 
4323 Galilee Rd 
Graceville, FL 32440 

Map: https://goo.gl/maps/hhMnS

The family will receive friends, at the church, one hour prior to the service. 

In lieu of flowers please send donations to Galilean Home for Children and Young Adults or Lighthouse Children’s Home. Both organizations accept donations by mail or through their websites.

Galilean Home for Children and Young Adults 
PO BOX 880 
Liberty, KY 42539 

Phone: 606-787-5120 
Web: http://www.galileanhome.org/ 

Lighthouse Children’s Home 
7771 Mahan Dr. 
Tallahassee, FL 32309

Phone: 850-877-3778 
Web: http://lighthousechildrenshome.com/ 

Online condolences may be sent to the Kirksey family at www.hamptonfuneralnc.com. 

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

Carolyn Walters (Oct. 30, 1957 – July 12, 2015)

Carolyn McKinney Walters, 57, of Newland went to be with her Lord on Sunday, July 12, 2015 in the Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville following a brief illness. She was born in Crossnore on Oct. 30, 1957, a daughter of the late Fredrick C. McKinney and Zennie Taylor McKinney of Newland.

In addition to her father, she was preceded in death by a nephew, Bo Ollis.

She was a member of Word of God Ministry and enjoyed Crocheting, Online Computer Games, making cakes and cooking. Walters was a loving and a devoted daughter, wife, grandmother, and great grandmother. Carolyn was a CNA with Appalachian Regional Healthcare for 5 years.

In addition to her mother, Carolyn is survived by her loving husband of 41 years, Randy Walters, Daughter, Tammy (Bruce) Mayfield of Lenoir; two Sons, Billy Joe Walters of Marion, Randy (Elizabeth) Walters II of Newland; Four Sisters, Gail Blankenship of Knoxville, Tenn., Rose Ollis of Marion, Jane Turbyfill of Elk Park, Terri McKinney of Newland; Brother, Rick McKinney of Newland; seven grandchildren; one great grandson; and several nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home.

The funeral service will be conducted at 2:00 pm Thursday, July 16, 2015, at the Grandfather Chapel of Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home with the Rev. James Ballew and Rev. Micah Piercy officiating.

Interment will follow in the Daniels Cemetery.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.rsfh.net

Shirley Biddix Calhoun (Aug. 6, 1939 – July 11, 2015)


Shirley Ann Biddix Calhoun, 75, of Martin Lane, Boone, and formerly of Spruce Pine, passed away Saturday morning, July 11, 2015 at Glenbridge Health and Rehabilitation in Boone.

Born Aug. 6, 1939 in Spruce Pine, Shirley was a daughter of Lloyd and Floy McKinney Biddix. Mrs. Calhoun was a longtime member of Barry Chapel Baptist Church and retired after 40 years as a nutritionist from Spruce Pine Memorial Hospital.

She is survived by her son, Paul Calhoun and wife, Roberta, of Boone; two granddaughters, Alexis Nelson of Kingsport, Tenn., and Tiffany Dickens of Boone; five grandsons, Korie Calhoun of Greer, S.C, Derek and Brandon Calhoun, both of Boone, Jeffrey Dickens of Ft. Meyers, Fla., and Daniel Dickens of Lenoir. Thirteen great-grandchildren; siser, Wanda McKinney of Spruce Pine; brothers, Blaine Biddix and Dick Biddix, both of Marion, and Jim Biddix of Old Fort; a younger sister, Billie Biddix of Spruce Pine; lifelong friend, Mary Lou Greene of Spruce Pine; and a special friend, Carl Miller also survive.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by an infant son, Aaron Nixon Calhoun; and one brother, Mike Biddix.

Celebration of Life services will be conducted Wednesday evening, July 22, 2015, at 6 oclock, at Berry Chapel Baptist Church in Spruce Pine, officiated by Pastor Steve Williams. The family will receive friends from 5 until 6 oclock, one hour prior to services, at the church. A meal will be served following services in the church fellowship hall.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to Barry Chapel Baptist Church, Altapass Highway, Spruce Pine, NC 28777.

Online condolences may be shared at the website www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory in Boone is serving the Calhoun family.


Thomas Bertstein (D. July 11)

Beloved husband of Barbara for 55 years; loving father of Liz Bernstein and Rita Brief (Andrew Eichner); and proud grandfather of Sam Brief, Joe, Sam and Jack Eichner, Thomas Bernstein of Sarastoa, Fla., and Blowing Rock passed away.

Memorial services were held Monday 11 a.m. at Congregation Solel, 1301 Clavey Road, Highland Park, IL 60035. Interment private.

Memorials may be made in his name to Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter, 2050 Claire Court, Glenview, IL 60025, www.carecenter.org or Jewish Family & Children’s Service of the Suncoast, Inc., 2688 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, FL 34237, www.jfcs-cares.org.
Arrangements by Chicago Jewish Funerals – Skokie Chapel, 847.229.8822, www.cjfinfo.com.

Timothy S. Smith (Nov. 25, 1953 – July 10, 2015)

Timothy Scott Smith, 61, of Sugar Grove, passed peacefully into the spiritual realm, at home, surrounded by family and friends. He was a songwriter, photographer, and mud manipulator, creating in clay for many years. He was the founder of Maddog Holler and Padre to many.

He is survived by his precious wife, Pat; his children, Steve and wife Patricia, Crystal and partner Kirk, Elijah, Alice, and Adam; and adopted daughter Kim and husband Danny. He was a beloved Papa to his grandchildren, Patrick and Thomas; Eddie, Amanda and Scott; Amelia and Molly; and Adelyn. He is also survived by his brother Steve; niece Robin and husband John. And an amazingly large family of friends.

He was preceeded in death by his parents, Floyd and Laverne Smith, and brother Donald. Burial with military honors will be conducted Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. in the Mountain Home National Cemetery, Johnson City, TN.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the charity of ones own choosing. Online condolences may be shared with the Smith family at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Smith family.

Dorothy Aldridge Gutkin (June 20, 1920 – July 08, 2015)

Dorothy Aldridge Gutkin, 95, of Marion, passed away Wednesday evening, July 8, 2015, at Lifecare Center of Banner Elk.

Mrs. Gutkin was born June 20, 1920 in Watauga County, a daughter of the late Fowl Hollars and Nora Mae Earp Hollars. She was a retired inspector for Shadowline, and a member of New Horizon Fellowship.

Mrs. Gutkin is survived by three daughters, Wanda Jones and husband Burl, and Reatha Moore and husband Jimmy, of Marion, and Kitty Horney and husband Dallas of Banner Elk; one granddaughter, Tammy Miller of Boone; three grandsons, Sam Adams and wife Deann of Morganton, Jeffrey Pyatte of Marion, and Gary Wayne Fox of Foscoe; one sister, Virginia Aldridge of Foscoe; and one sister-in-law, Lora Hollars of Boone. She is also survived by 7 step-grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, 16 step-great-grandchildren, 2 great-great-granddaughters, a great-great-grandson expected in September, and a number of nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her first husband, Samuel Spencer Aldridge, her second husband, Robert Gutkin, three sisters, Edith Greene, Hazel Walls and Melba Hayes, and one brother, Clay Hollars.

Funeral services for Dorothy Aldridge Gutkin will be conducted Sunday afternoon, July 12, 2015 at 3:00 o’clock, at Watauga Baptist Church. The body will lie in state, at the church from 2:00 until 3:00. Officiating will be Revered Burl Jones, Reverend Tommy Carver, and Reverend Douglas Prevette. Burial will follow in Mount Lawn Memorial Park and Gardens.

The family will receive friends Saturday evening, July 11, from 6:00 until 8:00 at Hampton Funeral Service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Gideons International, Boone Camp, Post Office Box 3602, Boone, North Carolina, 28607 or to the Life Care Center of Banner Elk, 185 Norwood Hollow Road, Banner Elk, North Carolina, 28604.

Online condolences may be sent to the Gutkin family at www.hamptonfuneralnc.com.
Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements.

James E. Gilpin (May 2, 1967 – July 8, 2015)


James Earl Gilpin, 48, of Newland passed away on July 8, 2015 at the Watauga Medical Center.

A native of Shelby County, Tenn., he was born May 2, 1967.

He was a carpenter and shrubbery man. Jimmy was friend to all and always ready to lend a helping hand.

James has left to cherish his memory his: mother, Brenda Johnson Osbourne, and her husband, Lewie, of Spruce Pine; father, Earl Gilpin of Mississippi; daughters, Leslie Gilpin, and her husband, Stephen McDaniel of Newland, Jamie Aldridge, and her husband, Wyatt, of Newland; son, Dillon Gilpin of Newland; sisters, Tracey Buchanan of Newland, Amanda Provoin of Mississippi, Elizabeth Surrette of Mississippi, Vanessa Rayburn of Mississippi; brothers, Daniel Gilpin of Spruce Pine, Matthew Gilpin of Newland; grandchildren, James Connor Gilpin, Natalie Nicole Aldridge, Jada McDaniel, and Gavin McDaniel.

Funeral services for James Earl Gilpin will be conducted on Friday, July 10, 2015 at 2:00 pm at the Johnsons Chapel on Squirrel Creek with the Rev. Bill Shoupe officiating. The family will receive friends from 12:00 noon until the service hour, Friday at the church. Interment will follow in the Gilpin Family Cemetery.

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