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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – April 19, 2022

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



Ann Southerland Ballenger
April 5, 2022

Ann Southerland Ballenger, 90, left the loving arms of her family to go into the welcoming arms of our Lord and Savior the evening of April 5, 2022. She made a timely exit with grace at home, surrounded by her loved ones. Ann was the most wonderful wife, mother and grandmother any of us could ever dream of having. She was not perfect in all of her efforts, but all of her efforts were made with perfect intent! Ann was known for her contagious smile, bright blue eyes and endearing personality. She was fun loving and enjoyed a party. She was tenacious with a feisty spirit, yet very gracious with the ability to make those around her feel special.

Ann was born in Smithfield, NC, to the late Walter David Southerland and Pearl Daniels Southerland, graduated from Smithfield High School in 1950 and went to Campbell (Junior) College for one year where she was #1 in her class. Her boss at NCNB in Raleigh introduced her to his neighbor… a tall, skinny fella named Ted, who became the love of her life. They married in 1960 and enjoyed life together for 60 years while living in Asheville, Burlington, Greensboro, Charlotte, Smithfield, Raleigh and Greenville. Given her love of the mountains, she returned and was delighted to see her first white Christmas at the age of 89. Ann died peacefully in Boone in view of what she called “her mountain”.

Over her career, she did secretarial work for several banks, the Charlotte Observer and lastly for the President of Republic Bank and Trust (RB&T) in Charlotte. After retirement, she was asked to work again by her RB&T boss, and took great pride in successfully managing the office for the largest fundraising campaign in Johnson C. Smith University’s history at the time ($50 million!). The final retirement took Ann and Ted on many trips and adventures across the US and abroad. Just like Ted, Ann was an avid N.C. State fan who howled enthusiastically after each touchdown. Ann loved the excitement of the games and the camaraderie of tailgating with best friends Jack and Nancy Reams. She was competitive, always welcoming a challenge and would never “let” you win, regardless of your age or hers! Day or night, Ann was always ready and willing to play any card game with Rachel Suddeth, a dear friend for over 60 years!

By far, Ann’s greatest treasures were her children and grandchildren. David and Cindy were her pride and joy UNTIL she had grandchildren. She gleefully went from 4 beloved step-grandchildren at the age of 76 to 8 total grands at the age of 79! Hers was a deeply rooted yet admittedly complex family tree, based solidly on love and blessed beyond measure by adoption, blended families and many friends-turned-family! Cindy and David learned their all-encompassing welcoming ways from their mother, who was the master.

Ted and Ann lived a God-centered life and were charter members of Wesley United Methodist Church (UMC) in Charlotte, where they served the church any way they could and cherished their roles as Stephen Ministers. She and Ted loved their many church families and in retirement were active members at Centenary UMC in Smithfield, Edenton Street UMC in Raleigh and Jarvis UMC in Greenville.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her adoring husband, Theodore Thomas “Ted” Ballenger; sisters Margaret S. Driver, Ruby S. Wood (Deb), and Christine S. Thompson (Irvin); brother J.D. Southerland (Joyce); sisters-in-law Nita B. Black (Clarence) and Barbara B. Rosemond (Ken); nieces Kathleen W. Frank and Jeni T. Lee; and nephew James Kenneth “Kenny” Rosemond.

Ann is survived by her two devoted children, David Thomas Ballenger (Holly) and Cynthia Ann “Cindy” Ballenger (Brandon Peters); grandchildren Emma Ballenger, Mady Ballenger, David Ballenger-Peters, Scott Ballenger-Peters, Katie Jackson (Gavin Thamm), Jeff Jackson (Marisa), Courtney Peters, and Laura Peters Knott (Jake); great-grandchildren Audrey, Cory and Reid Thamm; brother-in-law James Caudell Ballenger (Guiyan); sister-in-law Martha Ballenger; former son-in-law Nathan Jackson, as well as many beloved nieces, nephews and their families.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, May 28, 2022, at Jarvis Memorial United Methodist Church, 510 S. Washington St., Greenville, NC 27858. Reverends Don Mitchell, Nina Paul Vincent and Woody Massey will officiate the service. The music will be provided by Deniese Chaney (solo), Sam Davis (solo) and Lori McLelland (pianist). Visitation will follow the service in the Taft Christian Life Center at the church. The family requests everyone wear red to the service to honor Ann‘s (and Ted’s) love of the Wolfpack.

Special thanks to Tim Michael, Casey Best, Dr. Kyle Copley, Dr. Gregory Anoufriev, Dena Comer, Theresa Landingham and Katie Stokes for helping to make Ann’s last days on earth the best they could be!

Memorial contributions may be made to Jarvis Memorial UMC or to Children’s Home Society of North Carolina (Attn: Accounting, PO Box 14608, Greensboro, NC 27415).

Please sign the online guestbook at www.caringcremations.net. The Ballenger family has entrusted arrangements to Caring Cremations Life Celebrations and Funerals at 828-855-3350.



Edward Luther Jackie Reece
1955 – 2022

Jackie shuffled off what remained of this mortal coil on 04 April 2022 to be joined with his Savior in the promise of paradise.

He was born 19 February 1955 in Thomasville, North Carolina to Nannie Mae and Jack Reece, who have both preceded Jackie in death.

Jackie is survived by his loving wife Condy Reece, of Boone, NC, his daughter Monica Moore and her husband Mark Greene of Miller’s Creek, NC.

Working with the talents God gave hime, Jackie built furniture for Thomasville Furniture Company. Later in life he participated in the activities of his home church, Greenway Baptist Church in Boone where he was always quick with his wit and generous with a smile. He will be sorely missed.

A memorial service will be planned at a later date.

Austin and Barnes Funeral home is serving the Reece Family.



Rachael Virginia Renar
1934 – 2022

Rachael Virginia Renar was born on April 29, 1934, to Roy and Magdalene Johnson in Nashville, Arkansas. She joined Jesus and left the home she built on Chetola Lake in Blowing Rock, NC, on April 8, 2022. The love of her life Stan Renar preceded her in 2013. She leaves behind the joy of many memories, her love of God, and her shared wisdom with her brother Clarence Johnson, her sons and their wives, Greg and Anne, and Kent & Shelley Tarbutton, her grandchildren Morgan, Michelle, Chelsea, Jeremiah, and Lennon, and great-grandchildren Quinn, Ellis, Emma, Soren, Alden, nieces, and nephews, to continue to share God’s light and love.

From the humble beginnings of a rural farm, Rachael had a stellar life and career as a self-made businesswoman, real estate agent, developer, investor, and pilot. She was a kind, adventurous, and supportive mother who partnered with her sons in several business ventures in Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina.

Her love of God’s creation led her to explore much of the world with over 220 visits to countries outside the US. She had homes and many friends in Cape Town, SA, Stomaz Slovenia, Toronto, CN, Atlanta, GA, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach, VA, and New Smyrna and Lemon Bluff, Florida.
Rachael was generous with her encouragement and care for her family. She shared her blessing with many individuals and organizations, always looking for opportunities to give a hand up to others. If you would like to honor her memory by sharing with others in need, please join her with a gift to Hospitality House, PO Box 309 Boone, NC 28607, or High Country Caregivers, PO Box 3356, Boone, NC 28607.



Frances Carolyn Pharr
1939 – 2022

Carolyn Hudson Pharr was born August 8, 1939 to Henry Spurgeon Hudson and Clara Tarlton Hudson. She grew up in Porter, NC and graduated from Pfeiffer College in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in English. Carolyn worked as an executive secretary for many years at the Savings and Loan in Albemarle and then at KPMG in Charlotte. After retirement, Carolyn enjoyed canning, making quilts and baby blankets, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. She loved Diet Coke, prisms, Carol Burnette, and laughing. She was affectionately called “GaGa” by her grandchildren. She dearly loved her family and loved coming to Boone to visit.

She is survived by her three children Jennifer Pharr Van Gilder (Tom) of Boone, Angie Pharr of Boone, and Matt Pharr (Trish) of Douglasville, GA; three grandchildren Molly (Colin), Emma, and Abigail; and her great granddaughter Lexi.

A memorial service will be held for Carolyn at a later date. If you would like to make a donation in Carolyn’s memory, please consider the Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org.

Online condolences may be shared with the Pharr family at the website www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.
Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Pharr family.



Clifford Vann Farthing
1943 – 2022

Lt. Col. Clifford Vann Farthing, US Army Retired, age 78, of Branch Crossing, Sugar Grove, the Bethel community, passed away peacefully at his home on April 12, 2022. Born June 27, 1943, in Wilmington, he was a son of Richard Vann and Lena Kate Ward Farthing.

During his Army career, he and his family enjoyed their travels and adventures together. Cliff passed along his strong work ethics to his daughter to ensure that she was set for success in life. He was a great guy who always displayed patience and compassion and preformed many unknown acts of kindness to others. He displayed a sense of humor, always with a twinkle in his eye.

Mr. Farthing is survived by his wife, Mary Berson Farthing of the home; daughter, Kate Farthing Charland, husband, Cody Ray, and grandson, Amos Vann Charland, all of Raleigh; sisters, Norma Farthing Murphy of Sugar Grove, Laura Farthing Brown and husband, Jerry, of Vilas, and Vickie Farthing Brown and husband, Johnny, of Wilkesboro; and brother, John Michael Farthing and wife, Karen, of Sugar Grove.

Celebration of Life services for Clifford Vann Farthing will be held at a later date.
The family suggests memorials may be made to St. Jude Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tennessee 38105 or to a charity of the donors’ choice.
Online condolence may shared at the website www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com
Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Farthing family.



Loy Carolyn Guy
1936 – 2022

Loy “Merle” Combs Guy, age 85, of Vilas, passed away Friday, April 15, 2022 at her residence.
She was a native of Watauga County and the daughter of the late Rufus Clyde and Mary Victoria Guy Combs.

She loved working in her vegetable garden, especially growing heirloom tomatoes, and sharing her bounty with her family and friends.

Merle was a writer of poetry and books. Her novel “Autumn Bends the Rebel Tree” received the Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award from the North Carolina Society of Historical Fiction.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by 13 brothers; Dolph Combs, Jesse Combs, Paul Combs, Earl Combs, Albert Combs, Ralph Combs, Hollan Combs, Willard Combs, Walter Combs, Dallas Combs, Raleigh Combs, Burl Combs, and Kermit Combs. Also 3 sisters; Geniveve Farthing, Alma Trivette and Alice Combs. She was also preceded by her great granddaughter Tara Guy.

She is survived by her daughter, Debbie Guy of Vilas; and her son, Doug Guy also of Vilas.
She is also survived by grandsons Terry Guy and wife Loretta of Vilas, Keith Guy of Trade, TN., Kevin Guy and wife Natasha of Ashe County, Steven Love and wife Jennifer of Sugar Grove, and Chris Love and wife Amber of Monroe, NC. Great grandchildren, Cody Guy and fiancé Katelyn Gragg, Hannah Guy Corbin and husband Brian, Taylor Guy Sluder and husband Evan, Jackson, Ethan, Ellie, Ava, Eli and Luke Love.

Graveside services will be conducted Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. in the Guy-Combs Cemetery, with Preacher Eric Cornett officiating.

Flowers will be accepted, and memorials may be made to the Guy-Combs Cemetery, c/o Reba Farthing, 231 Smith Henson Road, Sugar Grove, NC 28679.

The family extends a special thank you to Amorem Hospice, and friends and neighbors Wendy Ray, Cirina McClarin, Karen James and Ioana Childers for their assistance with the care of our wonderful mother.

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

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



Louis John “LJ” Tassan
April 13, 2022 – April 13, 2022

Louis John “LJ” Tassan met Jesus on April 13, 2022.

Named in honor of his paternal grandfather, LJ’s name means “a warrior graced by God.”

His earthly body was lovingly welcomed and embraced by his parents Nicholas Louis Tassan and Laura Grace Tassan of Sugar Grove, who are committed to creating a lasting legacy for LJ within their family and beyond. LJ and his story will impact the lives of others, through the continuing ministry of the parents.

Even before his birth and passing, Psalm 1:3 was chosen as a life verse for LJ:

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:3

LJ was preceded in death by his namesake and paternal grandfather, Louis “Lou” John Tassan of Atlanta.

LJ is survived by his parents as well as his paternal grandmother, Carmen F. Tassan of Atlanta; maternal grandparents Mike and Lucy Turbyfill of Sugar Grove, N.C., and maternal great grandmother and his “MeMe,” Catherine Turbyfill of Brevard, N.C.

A “Celebration of Life” Service will take place at Alliance Bible Fellowship in Boone, NC on Thursday, April 21 at 1 p.m. Following the service, family and friends are invited to fellowship with food provided by Chick-fil-A.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that those who would like to help continue LJ’s legacy do so by contributing to the grief counseling and couples ministry work of WinShape Foundation. Mail checks with “Nick and Laura Tassan” in the subject line to: WinShape Foundation; 5200 Buffington Road, Atlanta, GA 30349.

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

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



Helen Lyons Norris
March 17, 1929 – April 15, 2022

Helen Elizabeth Lyons Norris, 93, of Granite Falls, NC, formerly of Boone, passed from this life on April 15, 2022. Helen was born on March 17, 1929 in Durham, NC to beloved parents, the late Clarence M. and Lela Moretz Lyons. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her first born son, Norman Luther Norris, granddaughter, Melissa Renee Norris, brothers Charles Lyons, Donald Lyons and Eugene Lyons, sisters-in-law Carolyn Lyons and Wilma Lyons.

Helen is survived by sons Clay (Deborah) Norris, Jerry Norris of Hudson, Jody (Gail) Norris of Lenoir, brothers, James (Red) (Peggy) Lyons of Boone, Earnest Lyons of Lenoir, Doyle (Brenda) Lyons of Christiansburg, Va., sisters-in-law Lucienne Lyons of Lenoir and Rachel Lyons of Mooresville. Grandchildren are Lori Jinkerson of Hudson NC, Christopher Norris of Norfolk, Va., Tyler Auton of Marion and Melissa Spears (Chris) of Lenoir, NC, great grandchildren Mason Webb, Emily Jinkerson, Tyler and Trenton Auler, Jody and Kara Spears and one great, great grandson, Kannon Spears. In addition, numerous nieces, nephews and special caring friends will cherish their special memories of Helen.

Helen was a faithful member of Friendship Methodist Church in Boone until moving to Granite Falls in 2007, where she was welcomed into her new church home and became an active member of Grace Chapel United Methodist Church. She retired from TRW and in earlier years was employed as the store manager of Mix Mates clothing in Boone.

Family and friends will mourn the loss of Helen’s presence here but take great comfort in the knowledge that through her faith and trust in Jesus Christ, her destiny of eternal life with her Lord and Savior has been secured.

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday afternoon, April 19, 2022 at 2:00 in Hampton Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor David Nolan officiating. The family will receive friends from 1:00 to 2:00 prior to the service. Burial will follow at Mount Lawn Memorial Park and Gardens. Serving as pallbearers will be Craig, Scott and Mike Lyons, Mason Webb, Jody and Chris Spears. At Helen’s directive, flowers are appreciated or, in lieu of flowers, those who wish may make contributions to Grace Chapel United Methodist Church.

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

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



Carolyn McDonald Mallard
October 8, 1936 – April 17, 2022

Carolyn McDonald Mallard, age 85, of Deep Gap, passed away Sunday, April 17, 2022, at Watauga Medical Center.

She was born October 8, 1936, in Canada. The daughter of the late Edward and late Bertha McDonald.

She is survived by her husband, Thomas Mallard of Deep Gap; three sons, John Mallard and wife, Pam of Tallahassee, Florida; James Mallard of Deep Gap, North Carolina; Rick Mallard and wife, Leigh of Tallahassee, Florida; one granddaughter, Amber Mallard Mayes; two grandsons, David Mallard and Conner Mallard and 2 great-grandchildren; three brothers, Chuck McDonald and wife, Sharon of Harrow, Ontario; Donald McDonald and wife Mary Ann of Harrow, Ontario; John McDonald and wife Toni of Vancouver, BC and one sister, Ellen Strobel of Alpena, Michigan.

In addition to her father and mother she was preceded in death by three sons, Joel Edward Mallard, David Karl Mallard, and Scott Mallard; and a brother-in-law, Manfred Strobel.

Funeral services will be conducted Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at 2:00 PM at Hampton Funeral Home Chapel. Interment will follow in Mount Lawn Memorial Park & Gardens Cemetery.

The family will receive friends Tuesday, April 26, 2022, from 6:00 until 8:00, at Hampton Funeral Home Chapel.

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

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



William Phillip Braswell
July 27, 1943 – April 11, 2022

William Phillip Braswell, age 78 Years, of Jonas Ridge, North Carolina passed away on April 11, 2022 at his residence.

Phil was born on July 27, 1943 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, a son of the late James Burdette Braswell and the late Mary Williams Braswell.

Phil retired from ABF Freight Lines. He enjoyed tinkering with different cars (especially a Trans-Am) and motorized power equipment. He loved to go and watch the races with his brothers, Jimmy and Kenny. Phil was a kind and gentle man who always had a kind word and smile.

He was preceded in death by his Mother, Mary Ellen Braswell; Father, James Burdette Braswell; Son, Anthony Baron Braswell.

Phil leaves behind to cherish his memory Wife Carolyn Jones Braswell of the home; Two Daughters, Sherri (Jason) Little of Denver, NC, Joy Braswell of Valbonne, France; Two Brothers, Jim Braswell of Charlotte, NC, Kenneth Braswell of Concord, NC; Sister, Katherine (Sam) Nugent of Port Angeles, WA; Step-Daughter, Tammy Burleson of Newland, NC; Seven grandchildren, Shawn, Danii, Zack, April, Zoe, Tristan, Lily; Three great grandchildren, Ellie, Lucy, and Everett.

Services for William Phillip Braswell will be held on Saturday, April 16, 2022 at 2:00 pm in the Grandfather Chapel of the Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home with Chaplain Billy Norris officiating. The family will receive friends from 1:00-2:00 pm on Saturday at the funeral home. Interment will follow in the Ashley Cemetery. The family will be gathering at 177 Bartlett Farmer Rd (a short distance from the cemetery) for fellowship following the graveside service.

The family would like to extend their sincere thanks and appreciation to Amorem Hospice and Faith Atkins with Compassionate Hearts.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Amorem Hospice 902 Kirkwood St NW, Lenoir, NC 28645 or to the ALS Association 1300 Wilson Blvd Suite 600 Arlington , VA 22209

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



Christopher Nolan Henley Jr.
October 2, 1962 – April 14, 2022

Christopher Nolan Henley Jr., age 59, of Spruce Pine, North Carolina went to be with the Lord on Thursday, April 14, 2022 after an extended battle with a rare muscle disease.

He was born on October 2, 1962 in Dallas, Texas, a son of the late Christopher Nolan Henley.
Chris, Jr. loved the Lord and served Him as a Sunday School Teacher, sound technician, and as editor and writer of the church newsletter as a member of the Altapass Baptist Church, until he volunteered to be a caregiver for his aging grandmother. His college degree was Computer Programming, and he was employed in Banner Elk and Johnson City. Chris, Jr. was devoted to his family and friends and was truly blessed with a servant heart. Always thinking of others before himself, his heart was full of giving and service. His mom, Gerry, was like a best friend to him. They enjoyed spending time together and were very close. A good sense of humor was a huge part of his personality. He lovingly and playfully called his sister, Monica, and her husband Jason, “Marty and Jacob.” A good friend to all who knew him was a true definition of Chris, Jr. God blessed Chris, Jr. with many talents. He was very athletic, an amazing woodworker, and a general handyman.

He was preceded in death by his dad, Christopher Nolan Henley, Sr.
Chris Jr. leaves behind to cherish his memory his loving mother, Gerry Freeman Henley of Spruce Pine; Sister, Monica (Jason) Kritz of Spruce Pine, NC.

A private service is being planned by the family.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Gideon’s International.
Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Henley family by visiting the website www.rsfh.net.
The care of Chris Jr. and his family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.
(828) 733-2121



WM. Kelly Johnson
September 4, 1940 – April 18, 2022

William “Kelly” Johnson, age 81, of Montezuma, North Carolina passed away on Monday, April 18, 2022 at his residence surrounded by love and his family.

Kelly was born on September 4, 1940 in Wilkes County, North Carolina, a son of the late Paul Jones Johnson and the late Juanita Wiles Johnson.

Kelly leaves behind a multitude of people who love and cherish him including his beloved wife of 57 years, Sue Miles Johnson, his son Dr. Jamie Johnson (daughter-in-law Susan) of Montezuma, NC, his daughter Dr. Paula Johnson Swindle (son-in-law Dustin) of Hickory, NC, grandchildren Matthew Kelly Johnson and Abby Marie Johnson, brother Robert “Bob” Johnson (sister-in-law Sherry) of Winston-Salem, NC and a host of cherished other friends, family, and legal community colleagues.

A man known for his compassionate faithfulness, kindness, honesty, integrity, devotion to his dear family, distinguished deep voice, and commanding presence, we will celebrate his love for God, family, friends, all things Wake Forest, the legal community and his clients, and his championing of the underdog.

Kelly grew up in Hayes, NC, and graduated from North Wilkes High School. He attended Wake Forest College, Mars Hill College (where he played on the basketball team), and served in the U.S. Army before graduating from Appalachian State Teachers College in 1965 and graduating from Wake Forest Law School in 1968.

He and Sue moved to Newland in 1969 “because there was only one other attorney (Bob Lacey) in the county” and practiced law and provided mediation services there until his retirement in 2018 (with a brief detour for a heart transplant in 2000.)

Services for WM. Kelly Johnson will be held on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 beginning at 2:00 pm at Aaron Baptist Church in Montezuma, NC.

The family will receive friends beginning at 12:00 pm on Wednesday at Aaron Baptist Church.
Interment will follow in the Montezuma Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Avery County Educational Foundation, Johnson Family Donate Life Organ Donor Awareness Scholarship, Avery County Board of Education, and 775 Cranberry St., Newland, NC 28657.

Kelly’s family would like to express their gratitude for all the many acts of kindness, love, and prayers during this time and throughout our lives as we grieve the loss of this tremendous man.

Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Johnson family by visiting the website www.rsfh.net. The care of Kelly and his family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland. (828) 733-2121