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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – April 13, 2021

The following are recent obituary notices from Austin & Barnes and Hampton funeral homes in Boone and Reins-Sturdivant in Newland


Jan Haltom Plyler

1932 – 2021

Mrs. Jan Haltom Plyler, 88, of Boone, passed away April 10, 2021 at her home.  

Jan was the daughter of the late Dr.  & Mrs. W.L. Haltom of Martinsburg, W.Va.  She was a graduate of the Penn Hall School in Chambersburg, PA & Randolph-Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg, VA.  Following her graduation from college she received a certificate in Physical Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania and worked in her profession both in Cincinnati, OH and Raleigh, NC.

While in Cincinnati, she met her husband E,L. Plyler with whom she had 4 children:  first daughter deceased at birth, Laura Anderson & husband Ted, Mohegan Lake, NY, W. Lanson Plyler & wife Melissa of Boone, NC and Ann Plyler & companion, Roseann Margiotta of NY, NY.

She is also survived by a sister Martha H. Warrick of Louisville, KY and 9 grandchildren, Thomas Peter, Mary, John Paul, Joseph, Patrick, Robert, Jonathan, Grace and Jack,  and 1 great-grandchild (to arrive in May).  Other survivors include a sister-cousin Drew Terry of Hot Springs, AK.

Funeral services will be conducted 2 PM Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at Mount Vernon Baptist Church, officiated by Rev. Bud Russell.  The body will lie in state at the church from 1 until 2 o’clock, prior to services. Private graveside services will be at St. Mark Lutheran Cemetery in Claremont.

Memorials to debra of America, 75 Broad St., Suite 300, NY, NY 10004 or to Caldwell Hospice, 902 Kirkwood St., NE., Lenoir, NC 28645. 

The family extends a ‘special expression of gratitude’ to Mrs. Plylers’caregivers, Beverly Randall and Sandra Watson. 

Online condolences may be shared at austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home is serving the Plyler family.


Charlotte Tanksley Ross

June 12, 1941 – April 04, 2021

Charlotte Tanksley Ross of Boone, NC died peacefully on Easter Sunday 2021. She was with her daughter via Facetime listening to a recitation of one of her favorite stories when she passed.  Charlotte was seventy-nine years old and had been in declining health for the last few years.  Born in north Georgia, she was predeceased by her parents, Carl Burke Tanksley and Sue Woody Tanksley, her husband Dr. Carl Augustus Ross Jr. and her brother Col. David Michael Tanksley.

Charlotte was an authority on the folklore of the Appalachian Mountains and was the Editor of The Bibliography of Southern Appalachia, University of North Carolina Press.  She was a protégé of Dr. Cratis Williams. They traveled frequently together to Scotland and Ireland to research the origins of Appalachian culture. Like her mentor, she was an educator and became a renowned storyteller of the region.  Charlotte was the Curator of the original Appalachian Collection at ASU’s Belk Library in the 1970s.  In the 1980s, she was the Western Regional Director for the NC Humanities Council overseeing grants for the regional scholars and artists.  She was passionate about the Appalachian mountain region and culture and shared that love with her late husband Carl, who was a tenured history professor at Appalachian State University and the Director of the Center for Appalachian Studies at the time of his death in 1988.  In the 1990s and beyond Charlotte entertained audiences all over the region.  She delighted in telling stories to school and civic groups and was widely known as “The Legend Lady.”  She advised many authors including Sharyn McCrumb, who based the character “Nora Bonesteel” in her “ballad” series of books on Charlotte.  She taught at Appalachian State University, East Tennessee State University, Caldwell Community College, and the University of Pennsylvania.  

Mrs. Ross is survived by her two children Clarinda Ross Gress of Los Angeles and Hyden Tyler Ross of Atlanta, her son-in-law Francis Gress, Jr. and her daughter-in-law Lynn Agnew Ross, her grandchildren Clara Tyler Gress,  Francis Gress III, Carl Augustus Ross Gress, and Carl Tyler Ross.  She is also survived by her siblings Patrick Alan Tanksley and Nancy Tanksley Davis Sitton of Chatsworth, GA. 

The family will celebrate her life with a local gathering in June.  Her ashes will be buried next to her husband in her family’s plot in Georgia this summer. Her children want to acknowledge Teresa Langlois, C.N.A. of Boone for her devotion, as well as the women of Caldwell Hospice for their care of Mrs. Ross.

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

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


Cacilia “Lotte” Pitts

April 09, 1928 – April 07, 2021

Cacilia “Lottie” Pitts, age 92, of Boone formerly of Blowing Rock, passed away Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at Deerfield Ridge Assisted Living.

She is survived by two sons, Bill Pitts and wife Carol of Blowing Rock and Steve Pitts and wife Sherrie of Blowing Rock; two granddaughters, Misty Pitts and Tammie Hill and husband Cameron all of Blowing Rock, one grandson, Chad Pitts and wife Stephanie of Charleston, South Carolina; two great-grandsons, Noah Bruining and Jackson Hill both of Blowing Rock; three great-granddaughters, Charlotte Hill of Blowing Rock and Charley and Rilan Pitts of Charleston, South Carolina; two step-granddaughters, Crystal Cheek of Boone and Linda Foster and husband Jeff of Blowing Rock and three step-great-grandchildren, Bryson Pearson of Boone, Andrea Foster and Jordon Foster both of Blowing Rock.

She was preceded in death by her father and mother, Georg Johann and Cacilia Buchner Sigl, her husband, Fred Carlton Pitts and one brother, Johann “Hans” Sigl.

Funeral services for Cacilia “Lotte” Pitts will be conducted Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 2:00 o’clock at Hampton Funeral Home Chapel. Dr. Harvey Bauman will officiate. Interment will follow in Woodlawn Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 1:00 until 2:00, one hour prior to the service at the chapel.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tennessee 38105 or Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, at www.shrinershospitalforchildren.org 

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

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


Christine Lillian Roy

October 14, 1951 – April 08, 2021

On Thursday,  April 8, 2021 at 3:11pm, Christine Lillian Roy loving mother, passed away at the age of 69.

 Christine (Chris) Roy was born on October 14th 1951. Chris was a jack of all trades and over the years, worked as a licensed cosmetologist,  a lock smith, teachers aide and a school bus driver.

 Chris was a free spirit  who traveled for most of her life, and eventually settled in Boone. She was an artist who loved to paint, write poems,  create jewlery,  and collected precious stones. Chris was also a musician who loved to play guitar and sing. She loved sharing gifts with family and friends throughout the year. She searched for peace and direction  throughout her life through many avenues including faith and religion. Recently she was a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church where she found her home and attended services regularly. She loved to serve the Lord and see God’s work, anyone that Chris spoke to on the phone or in person would hear of  the love of Christ. 

 She is survived by her children, grandchildren, and great grandchild. As well as a host of family and friends who loved her.

A memorial service will be held Saturday April 10, 2021 at the Banner Elk Seventh Day Adventist Church, 1551 Tynecastle Hwy at 3 pm.

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

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


Colonel Edwin “E.C.” Carraway Newman

September 30, 1940 – April 7, 2021

Colonel Edwin Carraway “E.C.” Newman II, an Air Force fighter pilot and test pilot, “slipped the surly bonds of earth” for the final time on April 7, 2021, at the age of 80 after a valiant fight with an aggressive form of multiple myeloma, attributed to Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam.

E.C. was born in 1940 and raised in rural Sampson County, NC. In 1958, he graduated from Clinton High School, waved good-bye to the tobacco fields, and left the family farm for the U.S. Air Force Academy. In 1959, he played center in the first ever Air Force-Army football game, a 13-13 tie in Yankee Stadium. He graduated from the USAF Academy in 1962, the USAF Fighter Weapons School in 1969, the USAF Test Pilot School in 1974, and earned his master’s degree in Public Administration from Troy State University in 1984. He was the Top Gun of the 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron, the Weapons Officer of the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson, and the Weapons & Tactics Officer of the 366th Fighter Wing at Da Nang. E.C. served in Korea during the Pueblo crisis and flew 227 combat missions and led 16-ship formations in air strikes over North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. He flew many different airplanes, ranging from the J-3 Cub to the 747 to the F-14, but his favorites were the F-4, the F-8 and the F-16. He won three Distinguished Flying Crosses and 14 air medals for extraordinary and distinctive achievements in aerial operations. The world of military aviation gave him tremendous joy. He retired from the Air Force in 1987 and from United Airlines in 2000, where he was a test pilot. He thought racquetball was the greatest game ever invented and played competitively. He also loved riding his Indian motorcycles and nurturing the woodland garden surrounding his mountain home in Banner Elk, NC.

He worshipped God at Banner Elk Presbyterian Church and served the Avery County Senior Center and Feeding Avery Families. He was preceded in death by his oldest brother Marshall, and his wife, Lynn Parnell, to whom he was married for nearly 49 years.

His greatest joys and most precious memories came from God and the family God gave him: his loving parents, Marshall Thomas and Isabell Butler Newman; his grandparents, Edwin and Emma Newman, and Addison and Novella Butler; his siblings, Marshall, Kitty, and Hilton; his children, Angela (Robert) Hrdlicka, St. Simon’s Island, GA, and Colonel (Ret./USAF) and Dr. Edwin (Betsy) Newman, Fayetteville, NC; and his beloved grandchildren, Thomas, Bennett, Bobby, Max and Shelby. E.C. believed that his time in this world was like a mere nanosecond in God’s whole scheme of things, but he enjoyed his life on Earth, and felt very blessed. And thanks be to Jesus, the Great Adventure continues.

The family will celebrate his life on April 16, 2021, 2pm, at Banner Elk Presbyterian Church, 420 College Drive, Banner Elk, NC 28604.

In lieu of flowers, contributions would be appreciated to “Carolinas HealthCare Foundation” addressed to Levine Cancer Institute, Carolinas Myeloma Research Fund, c/o Dr. Saad Usmani, Carolinas HealthCare Foundation, 208 East Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to his children: Angela Hrdlicka, 612 Holly St., St. Simons Island, GA 31522, and Dr. Edwin Newman, 4140 Ferncreek Dr. Suite 801, Fayetteville, NC 28314.

Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Newman family by visiting our website www.rsfh.net

The care of Edwinand his family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.


Faye Rich Gragg

January 27, 1940 – April 10, 2021

Faye Rich Gragg was born January 27, 1940 in Caldwell County, North Carolina. She was preceded in death by her parents Ralph Joseph Rich and Della Philyaw Rich.

She was the wife of the late Bruce Gragg from Avery County, North Carolina. Faye is also preceded in death by a sister, Athel Rich Wilcox, brother, Ralph Rich Jr., and a grandson Samuel Bradley Pope.

She is survived by two daughters, Frieda Gragg Drum ( Joseph) of Newton, North Carolina and Audrey Gragg Pope ( Mark) of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, a brother, L.J. Rich (Brenda) and a sister, Clara Rich Huffman both of Lenoir, North Carolina.

Faye’s grandchildren are Nicole Page (John), Gregory Sells (Natasha), Jason Waddell (Alisha), Thad Drum (Bethany), Matthew Drum (Jennifer), and Sarah Laws (Kyle). Great-grandchildren are Sidney Page, Taylor Page, John Page VI, Caleb Waddell, Jordan Pope, Aliyah Pope, Kirsten Drum, Gabriel Drum, Tobias Drum, Eli Laws and Samuel Laws.

Due to Covid 19, no services are planned at this time.

Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Gragg family by visiting our website www.rsfh.net

The care of Faye and her family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.