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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – August 1, 2023

Graphic by Ashley Poore.

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



William A Herring
September 24, 1939 – July 26, 2023

Dr. William Arthur Herring, Jr “Bill”, age 83, passed away unexpectedly on July 26, 2023,
surrounded by family and wrapped in love. Through his final day, Bill lived out his values of
love, family, adventure, education, humor and, especially, service. Bill’s profound influence on
this world is felt in large and small ways beyond anything his proud family can comprehend but
can be captured in his favorite verse, Matthew 25:40 – “Truly, whatever you did for one of the
least of these…you did for me.”

Bill was born in Goldsboro, NC to William A. Herring, Sr. and Melba McBride Herring on
September 24, 1939. He attended Goldsboro High School and went on to attend the University
of South Carolina and, then the Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine in
1965, where he achieved his dream of becoming an Orthopedic Surgeon. He completed an
Internship at Denver General Hospital and then a 4-year Orthopedic residency at the Medical
University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. Bill then proudly served our country as a Lt.
Commander in the US Navy in Beaufort, SC.

Bill met his “greatest love”, Jo, in Columbia, SC in their final year of high school; they were
loving and loyal partners in a beautiful 61-year marriage, which gave Bill the foundation to
explore and serve throughout the world. Together, they raised their 4 children and 11
grandchildren and great-grandchildren who are their heart and soul and greatest source of

Bill chased his love of the wilderness through adventures on rivers, mountains, and trails, –
camping, boating, biking, skiing, climbing, running, gardening, and mountaineering, a love he
shared with everyone around him.

Medical mission work in Zaire, Haiti, Honduras, Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, Mississippi and western
North Carolina was a passion of Bill’s and fulfilled his profound lifelong calling to serve the
“least of these” among us.

Bill’s retirement from his medical practice in 2003 afforded him the opportunity to spend his
favorite moments surrounded by the serene beauty of the mountains of western North
Carolina, to become the gardener he had always wanted to be, and to serve the community in
the free medical clinic and migrant clinic in Boone, NC.

Though he served the world in large and important ways as a physician and medical missionary,
his influence in his local community and on those he held close as family and friends is similarly
profound. He was a teacher and servant leader at heart, serving on many boards and in many
positions, including but not limited to the North Carolina Outward Bound School, the Hebron
Foundation, the Appalachian District Health Board, and the Blue Ridge Conservancy.
Left with years of precious memories are his beloved wife, Jo Kirven Herring of Vilas, NC;
children Billy and Disa Herring, Moose and Libby Herring, Jodi and Mike Cash, and Kim and Todd
Ezrine; grandchildren Josie and Lola Herring, Abigail, Molly and Jacob Herring, Kimberly Vines and husband Daniel Kammerer, and Tucker, Emma and Harper Ezrine; great-grandchildren Bella
and Marley Kammerer; his favorite sister, Patsy Sauls and her family.

He is survived by other family and friends, too numerous to list, but not forgotten.
Bill is now reunited with his parents, William and Melba, his brother, Carl, and all his favorite

Bill’s life was truly a living prayer, dedicated to making life warmer, healthier, sweeter, safer,
longer, and more beautiful for everyone who knew him. His legacy will live on forever in those
lucky enough to witness his life of meaningful acts of love and service like those Christ modeled
for us.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Watauga Hunger and Health Coalition, the Blue
Ridge Conservancy, and the Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina.
A celebration of Bill’s life will take place on Friday, August 11, 2023, at the First Presbyterian
Church of Boone, 131 Big Valley Street, Boone, NC; visitation from 1-3pm, service at 3pm.



Rose Irene Cook
May 18, 1932 – July 26, 2023

Rose Burgess Cook joined family and friends in Heaven on July 26th, 2023 and touched the
lives of many during her time on earth. She was born in the Othello community of Ashe County,
NC on May 18th, 1932. One of seven children, her parents were George Oscar and Goldie
Miller Burgess. Following her mother’s death, she was raised by Oscar and her stepmother,
Millie Lee Burgess.

Rose had a profound love for God, which was evident in every aspect of her life. She lived her
days with unwavering faith, finding strength and comfort in her spiritual beliefs. Her devotion to
God was an inspiration to those around her, and she shared her faith through acts of kindness
and compassion. She was an active member of First Baptist Church of West Jefferson early in
her married life, and joined Greenway Baptist Church in Boone in 1969.

One of Rose’s greatest joys was spending time with family. She was a devoted daughter, sister,
spouse, mother, and grandmother, always putting their needs before her own. Affectionately
known as “Granna”, her love and support were steadfast, creating a warm and nurturing home
for all. She had a competitive spirit, loved a good hand of cards or bocce ball and loved
watching golf and the weather.

Maintaining close friendships was another cherished part of Rose’s life. She had a gift for
forming deep and lasting connections with others, making friends feel valued and appreciated.
Her laughter, sense of humor, and genuine interest in others brightened every gathering, and
she cherished the memories made with her dear friends.

Traveling adventures across the country and abroad with her husband, John, was something
that Rose deeply cherished. Exploring new places and experiencing different cultures with the
love of her life, brought immense joy to her heart. Their journeys together were filled with love,
laughter, and shared experiences that created a bond that would last a lifetime.
Rose was a woman of great depth, and her love for God, her dedication to her family, her
cherished friendships, and the adventures she embarked on with her husband have left an
indelible mark on the lives of those who had the privilege of knowing her.

Rose is survived by her three children: Dan Cook and wife, Fairley of Raleigh; Allison Hodges
and husband, John of Boone; Jan Deckert, and husband, Jeff of Raleigh; six grandchildren,
Katie and Gill Hawkes of Charlotte, Ben and Hannah Cook of Charlotte, Daniel and Stacee
Hodges of Jefferson, JC Cook of Raleigh, Taylor Deckert of Sioux City, Iowa, and Ryan Deckert
of Boone; two great granddaughters Lizzie and Katalynn Hodges of Jefferson; sister Maude
Shatley of Ashe County; and brother Wayne Burgess, and wife, Becky of Ashe County; and
numerous nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her husband, John Daniel Cook; brothers George Burgess and
Robert Burgess; and sisters Hazel Barbour and Shirley Roten.

A service to celebrate the life of Rose will be held at Greenway Baptist Church at 880 Greenway
Rd. Boone, NC 28607 on Sunday, August 6th, 2023. Visitation will take place in the fellowship
room of the Family Life Center starting at 1pm. The celebration of life will begin at 2pm in the
sanctuary with Rev. Harold Bennett and Dr. David Luster will officiate.Family and friends are
invited to join in honoring her memory and remembering the joy and impact she brought to our
lives. A private burial service will take place at Ashelawn Memorial immediately following.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Amorem
Hospice and Palliative Care High Country Campaign, Wine To Water, American Cancer
Society’s Relay for Life, or the Ashe Sharing Center in Memory of Rose.

Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. May she rest in



Daphne (Bumgarner) Ramsey
March 12, 1950 – July 26, 2023

Daphne Bumgarner Ramsey, age 73, of Boone, North Carolina, passed away on Wednesday morning, July 26, 2023, at App Regional Medical Center. Daphne (Daffy) will be remembered as a loving, caring, patient and giving person. She was a devoted wife to her husband, John Ramsey, who preceded her in death. She was a loving and dutiful daughter to her parents, Raymond Hill Bumgarner and Ruby Aldridge Bumgarner. She was also preceded in death by her sister, Hilda Bumgarner Oaks.

Daphne used her energy in making a warm and comfortable home—one that was always filled with love and food for her family. She delighted in putting smiles on everyone’s faces from preparing delicious meals in her kitchen. Her grandchildren recall that she was her happiest when presenting others with gifts and seeing the look of surprise and gratitude on their faces. Hospitality was truly her spiritual gift. It was of utmost importance to her that everyone—family and friends alike—were made to feel at home in her house! She loved her son Eric beyond words and often called him her guy angel. She was an active member of First Baptist of Boone and was honored to be a part of a Sunday School class that she adored. She retired from Watauga County Tax office as the Tax Listing Director where she served her county for over 30 years. Daphne was described by her daughter-in-law as a beautiful example of a Godly woman.

She is survived by her son, Eric Hill Ramsey (Stephanie) of Jefferson, NC.; three grandchildren, Campbell Noelle Ramsey, Dakota (Coty) Sharpe and Kiersten Deanna Sharpe; two great-grandchildren, Lilah Marie Bowden and Cora Rosella Sharpe and several nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends Friday, July 28, 2023, from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm, at Austin & Barnes Funeral Home in Boone, NC. Funeral services to honor Daphne (Daffy) Ramsey’s remarkable life will be held on Saturday, July 29, at 1:00 pm, at First Baptist Church of Boone with Pastors Roy Dobyns and John Elledge officiating. Graveside services will immediately follow in Mount Lawn Memorial Park and Gardens in Boone.

Visitors are invited to gather at the home of Eric Ramsey and family, 289 Orion Lane, Jefferson NC.
Flowers are appreciated or memorial contributions may be made to the Relay for Life of Watauga County in Boone, to the attention of Brian Barker.



John Paul Mulgrew
January 12, 1936 – July 26, 2023

John Paul Mulgrew passed away on Wednesday, July 26, 2023. He was born on January 1, 1936 in Queens, New York.

John was a Psychologist and a professor of counseling at Appalachian State University who began his career in 1972, He not only taught in the counseling department but also ran the counseling center at ASU. In his younger years John enjoyed playing tennis and hiking in his free time.

He is survived by his daughter, Catherine Elizabeth Mulgrew of Clemmons, North Carolina; son, John Paul and his wife, Fin Mulgrew of Redmond, Washington; granddaughter, Caitlin Quinn Penry and her husband, Jason Brown of Chapel Hill, North Carolina; granddaughter, Ann Mulgrew of Redmond, Washington; grandson, Peter Mulgrew of Redmond, Washington; brother, Tom and his wife, Marilyn Mulgrew of Rochester, New York.

Celebration of life services in honor of John will be held at a later date.



Melvin Arnold Jones
November 25, 1949 – July 27, 2023

Melvin Arnold Jones, 73, of Russ Norris Road, Elk Park, NC, went home to be with the Lord Thursday evening, July 27, 2023, due to complications from a brain bleed. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family.

Melvin was born November 25, 1949, was a life-long resident of North Carolina, and lived most of his life in Avery County, in the Old Beech Mountain Community. He was a member of Flat Springs Baptist Church where he served as a Deacon and, during periods of his life, a Sunday School teacher. Melvin retired from BellSouth after 33 years of service and retired from the Fall Creek Volunteer Fire Department, where he served for 20 years. Melvin was a faithful, caring servant of the community and genuinely loved spending time with others. Beyond his service as a Deacon and volunteer firefighter, he was a Mason, a Shriner, and a Hospital Tripster, providing transportation to Shriner hospitals for patients and their family free of charge. Melvin had a stubborn desire to always do the right thing, was an expert hunter and sportsman, and had a quick-witted sense of humor that could make anyone laugh. He loved playing pranks on people, once surprising his children by catching two fish and putting them in his lunchbox, knowing that the kids always opened it at the end of the day to see if he had a treat for them. We will never forget the big grin on his face when we opened it and exclaimed “He brought us fish!” Melvin loved good food, good company, and fellowship with the Lord. His favorite verse was Matthew 6:33 – “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” He experienced many blessings in this life by living out that verse and all who knew Melvin were blessed by the love and laughter he shared.

Melvin is survived by his wife Regina of Elk Park; a son, Kevin Jones and wife, Carol, of Waynesboro, VA; a daughter, Jill Hogan and husband, Trey, of Charlotte, NC; three grandchildren, Caleb and Carter Jones of Waynesboro, VA and Nathan Hogan of Charlotte, NC; a sister, Earline Brown and husband, Junior, of Boone, NC; three brothers, Maloy Jones and wife, Judy, of Williamsburg, VA, Wayne Jones and wife, Mabel, of Taylorsville, NC, and Elmer Jones of Sugar Grove; a brother-in-law, Mike Baldwin and wife, Melva, of Newland, NC; two sisters-in-law, Lisa Alexander and husband, Kenny, of Mocksville, NC and Jan Baldwin of Conway, SC; and lots of nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by parents, Cleo and Martha Jones; sister, Maxine Trivette; two brothers-in-law, Danny and Ronnie Baldwin; and two sisters-in-law, Renetta Baldwin and Sheri Jones.

Funeral services will be conducted Sunday, July 30, 2023, at 3PM at Flat Springs Baptist Church, officiated by Rev. Bryan Miller. The family will receive friends prior to the services on Sunday from 1 PM until 3 PM. Burial with Masonic rites will follow the services at Flat Springs Baptist Church Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Shriner’s Hospital for Children, in care of Dean McGuire, Treasurer, 2060 Balm Hwy, Banner Elk, NC 28604. Online condolences may be sent to the Jones family at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com. Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the Jones family.



Sherry Yvonne Wright
July 30, 1951 – July 26, 2023

Sherry Yvonne Wright, age 71 of Todd, passed away Wednesday July 26, 2023, at Watauga Medical Center.

She was born July 30, 1951, in Bellingham, Washington. A daughter of the late Thelbert and Helen Barlean Woods.

She is survived by her husband Mike Wright of Todd, daughter, Shannon Wright, son, Rick Wright and wife Ronnie of Wallkill, New York, daughter Jennifer Wright of Enumclaw, Washington and a son Kevin Wright and wife Jade of Mountain City, Tennessee and three grandchildren, Noah, Chloe and Lilth.

A memorial service will be conducted at a latter date.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to The Jehovah’s Witness at www.jw.org

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

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



Judy McKee Norris
January 24, 1949 – July 24, 2023

Judy McKee Norris of Newland, NC, passed away peacefully at her home on Monday, July 24, 2023. Her devoted and caring daughter was by her side during the weeks of her illness and on the morning of her passing.

Judy was born January 24, 1949, the youngest child of Donald McKee and Dorothy Waycaster McKee. She graduated from Newland High School and married George (Sonny) Norris. Their marriage produced her two most prized possessions, daughter Jessica and son Christopher. Judy lived in Charlotte for a brief period after marriage. The majority of her life was lived in Avery County, NC where she worked for several local businesses. She was most proud of her time as a stay-at-home mom and working with at-risk kids at Avery County High School’s in-school suspension program. Judy had a loving and forgiving spirit. No matter how long someone went without visiting, she was always happy to see them. We know she is in heaven with all of the people she loved the most.

In addition to her parents, Judy was preceded in death by her ex-husband George (Sonny) Norris, Brother Robert McKee, and Sister Sandra McKee Puckett. Judy leaves behind to cherish her memory, daughter Jessica Norris (Tom) Ramey of Erwin, TN, son Christopher Norris of Denver, CO, Granddaughter Adleigh Morgan of Jacksonville NC; sisters Joanne (Abe) Thompson of Pineola, NC and Linda (Lowell) Wise of Newland, NC, Brother-in-law Roger (Donna) Wise of Newland, NC and Sister-in-law Linda Grindstaff of Charlotte, NC. Multiple nieces and nephews and a wonderful group of special friends. Judy will be missed by many, but with God’s promise, we know we will see her again in Paradise.

A memorial service will be held for Judy at a later date.
Memorials can be made to Fletcher Presbyterian Church P.O. Box 493, Newland, NC 28657.
And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise Luke 23:43

Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Norris family by visiting the website www.rsfh.net. The care of Judy and her family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.