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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – August 22, 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.

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Nell Stewart
July 19, 1927 – August 8, 2023

Audrey VaNell “Nell” Gillespie Stewart of Boone passed away on Tuesday, August 8, 2023. She was born on July 19, 1927 to Wilson Gillespie and Winnie Jennings in Memphis, Tennesse.

Nell co-owned and operated Napa Auto Parts with her husband Bob for 30 years, she was a very strong Christian and member of Greenway Baptist church and loved sharing her love for the lord with anyone she met, Nell was always looking for ways to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. In her free time Nell had many hobbies, she was an amazing homemaker and enjoyed cooking, crocheting, knitting, tending to her garden, completing puzzles, canning and Traveling. Of all things Nell’s granddaughter and great-grandchildren were the light of her life, she would beam every time they walked into the room.

Nell is preceded in death by her parents; sister and brother-in-law, Bessie and Benny Armour; granddaughter, Stephanie Stewart. She is survived by her loving husband of 77 years, Bob Stewart of Boone, North Carolina; son, Gene and his wife, Margaret Stewart of Monroe, North Carolina; granddaughter, Shelley and her husband, Jesse Simkins of Burnsville, North Carolina; great-granddaughter, Annika Simkins of Burnsville and great-grandson Juan Simkins also of Burnsville.

Graveside services will be held Friday, August 11, 2023 at 12:00PM at Mountlawn Memorial Park in Boone, with visitation to be held at Austin and Barnes Funeral Home from 10:00am to 11:00am.

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials to be made to Samaritans Purse in Nelle’s name. https://www.samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/donate-online

Online condolences may be sent to the Stewart family at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com. Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the Stewart family.

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Keith Arnold Greene
July 24, 1956 – August 9, 2023

Keith Arnold Greene, age 67, of Chestnut Grove Road, Boone, passed away Wednesday morning, August 9, 2023 at his home.  Born July 24, 1956 in Watauga County, he was a son of Claude and Blanche Davis Greene. 

After graduation from Watauga High School Keith worked in various jobs including a grocery store, construction, long haul trucking and farming.  Keith was a man always in motion.  He was a skilled self-taught carpenter and builder, always ready and willing to help anyone needing a helping hand, and never expecting anything in return. However, Keith’s passion was working on the family farm where he grew up.

He is survived by his wife, Teresa Hayes Greene; son, Tyler Greene of Cary; brother, Elson Greene and wife, Becky, of Boone, and sister, Virginia Chapman and husband, Everett, of Campobello, SC.; his mother-in-law, Phyllis Hayes of Zionville; brother-in-law, Humphrey Hayes and wife, Sherry, of Zionville; and sisters-in-law, Dara Kisselburg and husband Eric, of Boiling Springs and Cynthia Church of Vilas.  Several nieces, nephews, and cousins also survive, including Keith’s kidney donor, Dr. Dwaine Greene and his wife, Carolyn, of Boone.

Funeral services for Keith Greene will be conducted Sunday afternoon, August 13, 2023, at 2 o’clock at the Austin & Barnes Funeral Chapel, officiated by Rev. Patricia Greene and Rev. Burl Greene.  The family will receive friends from 1 until 2 o’clock, prior to services, at Austin & Barnes.  Graveside services will be private.

The Greene family extends a sincere ‘Thank You’ to Dr. Pirouz Daeihagh, Dr. James Atkins, Dr. Cynthia Ballenger, and Amorem Hospice for their care and compassion.

Flowers are appreciated or the family suggests memorials to Amorem Health and Hospice, 902 Kirkwood Street, NW, Lenoir, NC 28645.

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

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

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Robert Gordon Sox
March 2, 1968 – August 11, 2023

Robert Gordon Sox, 55, of Triplett, NC, passed away suddenly on August 11th, 2023. He dedicated his life to supporting scouting, students, and teachers in North Carolina. 

 Robert was born on March 2nd, 1968, to Gordon and Barbara Sox in Columbia, SC. After graduating from Watauga High School in 1986, he went on to study Print Production Management and Art Education at Appalachian State University in 1993. He later completed a master’s degree in educational, Instructional, and Curriculum Supervision at North Carolina State University in 2005. In 2016, he completed his Doctor of Education Degree in Educational Leadership from Western Carolina University. 

Scouting was an important aspect of Robert’s life. He was committed to scouting throughout his youth, achieving the honor of Eagle Scout. He worked as a longtime Camp Raven Knob Staffer who served on their staff from 1984-2001 in the Handicrafts Area, Trading Post and eventually served as Program Director and Assistant Camp Director. He was an active member of the W.U.R.K.S (Washed-Up Raven Knob Staff) Charitable Team volunteering and raising funds to ensure Camp Raven Knob’s continued success. 

After college graduation, he landed his first job as a Visual Arts Teacher with the Wake County Public Schools System working at Fuquay-Varina Middle School, Fuquay-Varina, NC and Willow Springs Elementary, Willow Springs, NC from 1993 to 2000. From 2000 -2006 he worked as an Instructional Resource Teacher at Salem Elementary, Apex, NC before leaving to become an Administrator at the district level with Wake County Public Schools from 2006 – 2011. In 2011, he joined the team at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction first as a Professional Development Leader and then as Director of Education Standards and Evaluation. He also served as an Adjunct Instructor in the Education Department of William Peace University, Raleigh, NC in 2007. 

 After retiring in 2022, Robert spent his time lovingly restoring his 1907 home in Triplett, NC. A longtime project dear to his heart. 

 In 2004, he met Jay Moore, and they wed in 2015. 

Robert is survived by his spouse, Jay Moore of Triplett. NC; his parents Barbara and Gordon Sox of Triplett, NC; his sister, Tericia (Scott) Eller of Lenior, NC; her three children, U.S.M.C. Gunnery Sergeant Nathan (Meghan) Summers of Kailua, HI, Patricia (Reed) Holdaway of Asheboro, NC, and Sarah Summers of Lenior, NC; and his grandnephew and grandniece, Colton and Evelyn of Kailua, HI. 

 A Celebration of Life Service will be held for Robert on October 7th, 2023, at 11:00am at the Chapel at Camp Raven Knob, 266 Raven Knob Rd, Mount Airy, NC 27030. It will be followed by a luncheon reception at the camp.  

 In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to W.U.R.K.S (Washed-Up Raven Knob Staff) Charitable Fund at the Winston-Salem Foundation http://wsfoundation.org/wurks or by check to: The Winston-Salem Foundation – W.U.R.K.S. Fund in memory of Robert Sox, 751 W Fourth St, Suite 200, Winston-Salem, NC 27101.  These funds will be used to support the Camper Scholarship Program at Camp Raven Knob, a place that was very dear to Robert. 

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

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

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Lois Elizabeth (Weaver) Triplett
May 12, 1930 – August 12, 2023

Mrs. Lois Weaver Triplett, age 93, of Boone, passed away Saturday evening, August 12, 2023 at The Foley Center in Blowing Rock.  Born May 12, 1930 in Watauga County, she was a daughter of Elzie and Grace Church Weaver.  Mrs. Triplett was a long time member of Friendship Methodist Church and for many years, was employed as a seamstress at Shadowline in Boone.  
Lois is survived by her brother, Squire Weaver, Jr., sisters, Doris Weaver Greer and Louise Weaver Davis, and sister-in-law, Pat Weaver, all of Boone.  A number of nieces and nephews also survive.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Arnie Willie Triplett; four brothers, Johnnie, William, Roby and Roy Weaver and sister, Joyce Weaver Holder.
Funeral services for Lois Triplett will be conducted Tuesday afternoon, August 15, 2023 at 2 o’clock at Friendship Methodist Church.  The family will receive friends from 1 until 2 o’clock, prior to services, at the church.  Graveside services will follow in the Weaver Family Cemetery.
Online condolences may be shared at the website www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com
Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Triplett family.

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Damien “Keith” Barker
January 26, 1977 – August 14, 2023

Damien Keith Barker, age 46 of Foscoe, passed away Monday, August 14, 2023.  Keith is survived by two sons Caleb Barker and Aedon Church; two grandchildren, Luko and Mattais Barker; his mother, Miranda Sluder; sister, Melissa and her husband Kevin White; brother, David and his wife, Amy Barker; two nieces, two nephews and two great-neices.Kevin was preceded in death by his dad, Bob Sluder.

A private memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the family to assist with expenses.Online condolences may be shared at the website www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com
Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Barker family.

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Jack “JB” Bynam Hodges
September 17, 1949 – August 17, 2023

Jack Bynum “JB” Hodges passed away on Thursday, August 17, 2023. Born in Boone, September 17, 1949, J.B. was blessed with the love of his doting mother Cleone Haynes Hodges and his father Jack Hodges.
J.B. Earned his Bachelor’s of Theatre and Music from Appalachian State. As a proud Alumni who faithfully rooted for his Almamater, J.B.’s love of music endured till the last. After proudly serving as a marine, J.B. established owned, and operated a hair salon for over 30 years. Outside of business, J.B. was an avid fisherman, sports fanatic, and professional hobbyist of Lionel Model Trains. Through it all, J.B. took pride in his family and lovingly showed it.
J.B. is preceded in death by his mother, Cleone Haynes Hodges.
He is survived by his daughters, Erin Hodges Mejia and Alyssa Starr Hogan. They gave J.B. 4 amazing grandchildren, Evelyn Darnell, Shaun Hogan, and Cleona Demas, Jack Hodges. J.B. is also survived by the enumerable and steadfast family members of Webster Parish, L.A.
Visitation will be held from 10:00 AM until 11:00 am with the Celebration of Life being held at 11:00 AM at Austin & Barnes Funeral Home. Burial with  Military honors and blessings will follow at Mount Lawn Cemetery.

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Cory Todd Brown
November 6, 1987 – July 29, 2023

Cory Todd Brown, age 35 of Loris, South Carolina, passed away Saturday, July 29, 2023.

 He was born November 6, 1987, in Fort Rucker, Alabama. A son of Michael Todd Brown and Kate Faulkner Brown. 

In addition to his father and mother he is survived by two brothers, Jason Brown and Justin Brown, two uncles, Gary Faulkner and wife Teresa and Harry Lucas and wife Amy, his fiance, Rosa Gonzalez, two step-sons, Gael and Jacob Gonzalez, one step-daughter, Rubi Gonzalez and his mother-in-law, Isabel Orozco. He is also survived by nieces and nephews and many cousin.

A memorial service will be held at a later date in Dothan, Alabama.

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

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

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Benjamin Wilson Covington
January 14, 1939 – July 31, 2023

COL Benjamin Wilson Covington III served in the United States Army as a Cavalry officer for over 28 years. He commanded two Cavalry Troops in Germany and Vietnam, a Tank Battalion in Germany and an Armored Brigade at Fort Hood. He served a total of 15 years overseas: 12 years in Germany and three years in Vietnam with U.S. and Vietnamese forces. He retired after serving as the President of the U.S. Army Training Board at Fort Monroe, VA.

He held a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, a Master’s in National Security from The National War College, and a Master’s and ABD from Columbia University in History of the English Language and 18th Century English Literature. He taught Philosophy and English Literature at West Point for three years.

After his retirement, he and his wife Ruth lived in Texas and Germany before settling in Valle Crucis NC, where they spent over 20 years serving the community in a variety of ways. As the Director of the High Country Chapter of the Military Officer’s Association of America, he was instrumental in the of the construction of the Veteran’s Memorial in downtown Boone, NC.

Over the years, he leveraged his experience with army training and doctrine to act as a senior advisor for multiple Eastern European countries in their efforts to improve their militaries to enable their entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He also spent a year in Iraq, using his expertise to advise the Iraqi government in ways to modernize their military.

He is preceded in death by his wife Ruth, and is survived by his two sons, physician Benjamin IV and Army Warrant Officer Farley.

The body will lie in state at Hampton Funeral Home Chapel, 683 Blowing Rock Road in Boone, NC from 9:00 until 5:00 Wednesday, August 9th, so friends may pay their respect and sign the guest book . The family will be at the funeral home to receive friends from 1:00 until 2:00. A celebration of Ben and Ruth’s lives will be held at the Holy Cross Episcopal Church at 122 Skiles Way in Banner Elk, NC at a date to be determined, and Ben will be interred at West Point, NY at a date to be determined.

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

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

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Anna Holder Critcher
August 24, 1934 – August 1, 2023

Anna Belle Holder Critcher, born to Ethel Mae Hampton Holder and Boyce Holder on August 24, 1934, was the third of eight children. Growing up in a farming community in the Blue Ridge hills of Appalachia, she learned the values of hard work, strength, and tenacity. Her community in the Aho district of Watauga County, North Carolina was close-knit and faith-based.

As a young teen, Anna played basketball at Blowing Rock High School, a sport she enjoyed for the rest of her life. Following her formative years, she attended and graduated from Crossnore Academy at the time it served as a two-year business school for young women (1950-52).

Upon graduation, Anna married Howard Critcher. Of this union, four children were born – Jeffrey Charles Critcher (deceased), Janet Lynn Critcher Greer, Renee’ Critcher Lyons, and Chad Howard Critcher. Ever hard-working (she worked until the age of 85), Anna used her core, farm-life developed talents to raise her family – canning and pickling, churning butter, and raising a garden. One of her finest talents helped clothe her children – Anna’s talents as a seamstress were above par, and she used this talent to also earn a living on several occasions during her life, to include her fine handwork at Goodwin Weavers of Blowing Rock.

Anna expressed her love for family through her daily energies, starting with breakfasts cooked on a wood stove and often ending with the warmth of a nightly fire. She brought warmth to those lucky enough to enjoy her presence, all the days of her life. Through wisdom gained from life’s trials (including the death of her first-born, Jeffrey) and triumphs (she ensured all three of her remaining children received college educations), Anna leaves a legacy of strong, independent children who blessed her with three grand children – Stephen Lance Greer, Anna Celeste Greer MacMinn, Faith Marie Patton – and six great-grandchildren: Hannah Greer, Thomas Greer, Eli Greer, Ruth Greer, Hailey MacMinn and Bill Boone MacMinn. Anna also deeply loved, accepted and supported her son-in law, Stephen Joseph Greer and daughter-in-law Lori Guyton Critcher – such love returned in kind.

Anna enjoyed her life with just as much energy. She loved socializing with friends, dancing to and listening to country music, traveling to Montana on a yearly basis to enjoy horseback-riding and the rodeo, and beautiful hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway with family and friends. She also married for a second time upon Howard’s passing – enjoying a thirteen-year relationship with Tommy Dyer of Wilkes County.

A woman of Christian faith and presence, her children call her blessed. She now dwells with her Creator and God in paradise. She enjoys the presence of those gone before – her siblings Sue Holder Rash, Carol Holder, and Earl Holder. She is also survived by her sisters Kate Holder and Linda Holder Kunder and her brothers Edwin Holder and Neil Holder.

Funeral services will be conducted Saturday, August 5, 2023, at 11:00 AM at Friendship United Methodist Church. Interment will follow in Friendship United Methodist Church Cemetery.

The family will receive friends Friday from 6:00 until 8:00, at Hampton Funeral Home Chapel.

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

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

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Joyce Elizabeth Payne
June 12, 1948 – August 2, 2023

Joyce Elizabeth Payne, age 75, of Boone passed away Wednesday, August 2, 2023.

She was born June 12, 1948, in Watauga County. A daughter of the late Lawrence and Ruth Margaret Carmichael Payne.

She is survived by her husband-companion, H.T. Rogers of Boone, one sister, Jean Clontz of Boone, one niece, Carla Estep and husband Brad of Boone, one nephew, James Clontz of Boone. She is also survived by many other nieces and nephews.

In addition to her father and mother she was preceded in death by a son, David Wade Rogers, a sister, Judy Tolbert, a niece, Michelle Helton and a nephew, James Tolbert.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

The family respectfully request no food and in lieu of flowers memorials be made to St. Jude’s at www.st.jude.org

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

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

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Charles W. Stephens
September 1, 1932 – August 4, 2023

Charles W. Stephens, age 90, of Todd, passed away Friday, August 4, 2023, at his home.

He was born September 1, 1932, in Todd, North Carolina to the late Millard Harrison Stephens and Biddie Lewis Stephens.

In addition to his father and mother he was preceded in death by brothers, Hurl, Don, Millard, Jr., Hubert, Odell and Paul.

Charles was a proud veteran of the Korean War. He saw combat for over a year before being hospitalized with Hemorrhagic fever. Charles proudly flew the flag in his front yard and made no excuses for being a patriot.

He farmed, carried the U.S. mail, and then retired from Lowes Inc. after fifteen years as a delivery supervisor.

He is survived by his wife, Lorraine G. Stephens of Todd, a son, David Stephens and wife Debbie of Todd, a daughter, Sherri McCollian and husband Bill of Marion, Virginia, one granddaughter, Nicole Blakeman of Todd, and one sister, Edna Kirby of Lenoir. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Graveside services and burial will be conducted Tuesday, August 8, 2023, at 2:00 PM, at Hopewell Community Cemetery. Reverend Bill McCollian will officiate.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Masonic Home for children, 600 College Street, Oxford, North Carolina 27565.

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

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

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James Ray “Joey” Boykin, Jr.
June 8, 1953 – August 10, 2023

James Ray “Joey” Boykin, Jr. age 70, of Deep Gap passed away Thursday, August 10, 2023.

Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced.

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

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

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Justin Wayne Newberry
November 26, 1984 – August 11, 2023

Justin Wayne Newberry, age 38, of Boone, North Carolina, passed away Friday, August 11, 2023. He was the first-born child to Kenny and Rhonda Newberry.  

He was preceded in death by his uncle, Tim Whiddon, his great grandmother, whom is his child’s name sake, Ouida Cloud, and his great aunt Ethel Newberry.

He was so proud of his brand-new baby girl, who turned one week old on the day he passed.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by his girlfriend, Christon Reynolds of Blowing Rock and their daughter, Ouida Neomi Ray Newberry; two sisters, Sonya Leann Newberry Lacue, and husband, John Lacue of Ferguson, North Carolina; Brittany Michelle Newberry, and Mike Hayes of Boone, North Carolina, nephew, Devan Christian Lacue; niece, Jayden Brooke Lacue; nephew, Michael Kenneth Hayes; paternal grandparents, S. E. and Celia Newberry of Quincy, Florida ; maternal grandparents, Glenn and Lucille Whiddon of Quincy, Florida; Aunt Norma Quijada of Quincy, Florida;  uncle Jeffrey and Sue Whiddon of Quincy, Florida ; uncle Steve Whiddon of Los Angeles, California; uncle Darrell Newberry of a Bridge, Georgia; aunt Beverly and Jimmy  Irwin of Havana, Florida; aunt Angie Newberry of Quincy, Florida; and many cousins. 

Funeral services for Justin Wayne Newberry will be held Friday, August 18, at 6 o’clock in the Hampton Funeral Home chapel with Reverend Ralph Coleman officiating. 

A graveside service will be held August 20th at 3 o’clock at Mount Glory Free Will Baptist Church Cemetery, Quincy, Florida. 

The family will receive friends from 4-6 prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the trust fund for his new baby girl, Ouida, at First Community Bank, Boone, North Carolina.

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

Hampton Funeral Service of Boone is in charge of arrangements.

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Shirlee Hopkins Edwards
January 23, 1933 – August 12, 2023

Mrs. Shirlee Hopkins Edwards, passed away Saturday, August 12, 2023 in Glenbridge Nursing Center in Boone.

Arrangements are incomplete at this time.

Hampton Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements.

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Camron “Cam” Logan Anderson
July 7, 1992 – August 11, 2023

Camron “Cam” Logan Anderson, age 31, of Wilkesboro, passed away Friday, August 11, 2023 in Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital. Cam was born July 7, 1992 in Iredell County, beloved son of Renae Grove of Blowing Rock and Kenneth Eugene Anderson of Statesville.

Other than his parents, he is survived by his wife, Evelyn Anglin Anderson of Wilkesboro; his son, Bo Anderson of Wilkesboro; and his sister, Cassie Anderson of Wilkesboro.

Updates to the obituary will be forthcoming.

Online condolences may be sent Cam’s Family at www.hamptonfuneralnc.com

Hampton Funeral Service of Boone is in charge of arrangements.

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John Millard Critcher, Sr.
November 21, 1943 – August 14, 2023

John Millard Critcher, Sr., age 79, went home to be with his Lord on Monday, August 14, 2023, in the Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home in Winston-Salem.

John was born on November 21, 1943, to the late Carnie Carlton Critcher and Judy Thompson Critcher. John was a Watauga County native and lived in the Bamboo community all of his life. John proudly served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. He was a member of Howard’s Creek Baptist Church, where he was involved with the JOY Group Sunday School class. John was a farmer his entire life. He grew cabbage and potatoes, raised cattle, and was an example of hard work for his children and grandchildren. His life was a blueprint for how work should be done and people should be treated. This laid the groundwork for his sons to start T & J Produce Inc. – a family business that his sons and grandchildren proudly operate to the same standards. 

John had an exuberant personality. He was the type of person who had never met a stranger. He could be found singing wherever he went, sharing the gospel of Christ with everyone he encountered, and bragging about his children and grandchildren. John will be greatly missed, but we take comfort in knowing that he is rejoicing and singing in Heaven.  

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers and sisters-in-law: Ed and Vee Critcher, Carlton and Ester Critcher, Truman and Lenore Critcher, Howard and Ann Critcher, Richard Critcher, Harry and Wanda Critcher, Reggie Critcher, and sister and brother-in-law Erma Rae and George Davison. His father-in-law and mother-in-law: D.B. and Ruth Stout. Brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Sam and Claudia Crosswhite, Sharon Bissett, and Denny and Jenny Bumbarger.  

John is survived by his loving wife, Dana Stout Critcher. He is also survived by four children: John Critcher Jr. and wife Tracy, Trevor Critcher and wife Gail, Rebecca Mough and husband John, and Tiffany Conner and husband Tim. Thirteen grandchildren: Jonah Critcher and wife Elizabeth, Titus Mough and wife Hope, Jeremy Critcher and wife Ashley, Hannah Price and husband Joseph, Morgan McClellan and husband Nathanael, Joseph Critcher and wife Maddi, Michael Conner, Sarah Rominger and husband Dalton, Benjamin Critcher and wife Grace, Kerrah Conner, Rachel Mough, Bethany Critcher and Jared Critcher. Six great-grandchildren: Elliana Critcher, Audrey Critcher, Seth Critcher, Asa Mough, Caroline Critcher, and Kayce Price. John is also survived by two brothers Rev. David and wife Linda Critcher, and Steve Critcher, brother-in-law Jim Bissett, Uncle Jack Thompson, and numerous nieces and nephews. 

Funeral services for John M. Critcher, Sr. will be held Saturday, August 19 at 2:00 pm at Howard’s Creek Church followed by Military Honors from the U.S. Army, the Watauga American Legion Post #130, and the DAV Chapter 90.  A private burial at the Critcher Cemetery will take place following the funeral service.

The family will receive friends prior to the service from 12:30 until 2:00 PM at Howard’s Creek Baptist Church. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Howard’s Creek Church EKG Building Fund, 240 Howard’s Creek Church Road, Boone, NC 28607; Trellis Supportive Care/ Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home, 101 Hospice Lane, Winston-Salem, NC 27103; or the Critcher Cemetery c/o Anissa Castle, 1779 Deerfield Road, Boone, NC 28607.

The family will receive friends at the home of Becky Mough, 10360 US Hwy 421 S Deep Gap, NC 28618.  

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

Hampton Funeral Service of Boone is in charge of arrangements.

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Wanda Kate Tester Nave
August 26, 1938 – July 17, 2023

Wanda Kate Tester Nave, of Cape Coral, Florida, passed away on July 17, 2023.  Born on August 26, 1938, she is survived by her three daughters, Debbie Penuel and family of Boone, NC; Cathy Hackett and family of Cape Coral, FL; Judy McDonnell and family of Blairsville, GA; brother, Dewey Tester and wife Rebecca and family of Shelby, NC; and sister-in-law, Shirley Smitherman Tester and family of Eustis, FL.  She is also survived by her grandchildren, Pamela Penuel Smith, Brandon Finch, Derrick Hackett, Jennifer McDonnell and Danielle Tilton and families and aunts, Carolyn Jones, Mildred Bunton and Irene Nichols and many special cousins.

The family will have her Memorial Burial and her Heavenly Birthday Celebration at Greene’s Cemetery, Sugar Grove, NC on Saturday, August 26, 2023, at 1:00 PM.

Obituary information provided by Hampton Funeral Service of Boone.

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RONNIE MOSTELLER
April 23, 1954 – August 09, 2023

Ronnie Mosteller, a beloved figure in his community, passed away on August 9, 2023, in Copperas Cove, Texas. Born on April 23, 1954, in Boone, North Carolina, Ronnie led a remarkable life that left an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of knowing him.

Ronnie’s career was distinguished by his dedication to service. After retiring from the military as a First Sergeant with 22 and a half years of honorable service, he went on to work as a locksmith at Fort Hood Housing. His expertise and commitment were highly valued by his colleagues and those whom he served.

Throughout his military career, Ronnie achieved numerous accolades and awards. He graduated from the prestigious Sergeant Major Academy and was part of the United States Army Pershing Missile team. Ronnie undertook several tours in Germany and played an instrumental role in disarming the SS-20 missile in Russia as part of the Salt Treaty efforts.

Beyond his professional achievements, Ronnie was known for his warm and friendly personality. He had an extraordinary ability to connect with people from all walks of life, leaving an enduring impression on everyone he met. Ronnie’s genuine kindness and unwavering positivity made him loved by all.

Outside of work, Ronnie had a couple of passions that brought him tremendous joy. Golf held a special place in his heart – he could often be found on the golf course perfecting his swing and enjoying friendly competition with friends. In addition to golf, Ronnie found solace in playing the guitar. Strumming melodies was not only a hobby but also a form of self-expression for him.

Ronnie’s family was paramount to him throughout his life. He is survived by his loving spouse Jenny Sue Mosteller and their son Raymond Mercado.  Ronnie is also survived by a number of cherished family members, he was preceded in death by his father A.V. Mosteller, his mother Jessie Lee Mosteller.  Survivors include Agnes Andrews, his mother-in-law, Robert Mosteller (brother), Theresa Mosteller (sister-in-law), Patricia Robbins (sister), J.R. Robbins (brother-in-law), Vanessa Halling (sister), Joe Halling (brother-in-law), as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.

The celebration of Ronnie’s life will be marked by two significant events. The first is a visitation on August 16, 2023, at Copperas Cove Location on 1614 S FM 116 in Copperas Cove, Texas. The visitation will begin at 5:00 PM and conclude at 7:00 PM. Friends, family, and well-wishers are invited to pay their respects and share their cherished memories of Ronnie during this time.

The second event is a graveside service that will take place on August 17, 2023. The service will commence at 10:00 AM at the location of 11463 TX-195 in Killeen, Texas. This solemn occasion will serve as an opportunity to bid farewell to Ronnie while celebrating the legacy he leaves behind.

Ronnie Mosteller will always be remembered for his unwavering dedication to his country, his remarkable skills as a locksmith, and his innate ability to bring joy into the lives of others. His warm-hearted nature, love for golf and music, and unwavering commitment to family and friends will forever live on in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to have known him.

Obituary information provided by Hampton Funeral Service on Boone, NC.

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Daniel Joseph Dehen
January 21, 1951 – August 12, 2023

Mr. Daniel Joseph Dehen, age 72, passed away peacefully Saturday, August 12, 2023, at his home.  Born January 21, 1951, in Anoka, Minnesota, he was a son of the late Joseph Francis and Lucille Maxine Miller Dehen.  Other than his parents, he is preceded in death by a nephew, Antonio Perfetti.

Daniel was a Leathersmith by trade and was quoted saying, “When I work with my leather, my tools are an extension of my hand.”  He was a Patron at Banner Elk Christian Fellowship and a Samaritan’s Purse volunteer.

He is survived by his two children, Jon Dehen and wife Cara of Boone, NC; Jessica Dehen and husband Derek Rynbrand of Durango, CO; 6 sisters, Linda Bieser and husband Winston of Albert Lea, MN; Elizabeth Walton and husband Daniel of Hazen, AR; Merry Breen and husband Daniel of Ramsey, MN; Catherine Hulegaard and husband Alvin of Andover, MN; Theresa Perfetti and husband Gino of Ham Lake, MN; Margaret Prosser and husband Christopher of Maple Grove, MN; 2 brothers, Stephen (Steve) Dehen and wife Nila of Ramsey, MN; and John Dehen and wife Julie of Ramsey, MN.  He is also survived by over 30 nieces and nephews and over 60 great nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Daniel’s life will be held Saturday, August 26, 2023, at 2:00 PM at Banner Elk Christian Fellowship in Banner Elk with Pastor Alan Yawn officiating.

Please follow this link for Memorial Contributions.  https://gofund.me/2f094922     

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

Hampton Funeral Service of Boone is in charge of arrangements.

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Terry Blair Covell
December 27, 1938 – August 18, 2023

Terry Blair Covell, 84, died peacefully on Friday, August 18, 2023, at Watauga Medical Center, Boone, North Carolina.  

Terry was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Alvin and Salome (Kundert) Covell.  He served as an airman in the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command and worked as an installer-repairman for the Bell System in Gretna, Louisiana, and Boone, North Carolina.  He joined the David Crockett Volunteer Fire Department in Gretna, Louisiana, at the age of 16, and proudly served at David Crockett and the Boone Fire Department for over 40 years. He was a member of Grace Lutheran Church and volunteered with Grace Builders.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Sharon Rose (Singerman) Covell; his son, Wesley Covell; his daughters, Sherri Lowder, Rachel McAllister, and Alice Harmon; nine grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and many dear friends.

A celebration of life will be held this fall in the beautiful North Carolina mountains, which Terry loved so dearly.  The family requests that remembrances be made in the form of contributions to the Watauga Humane Society or the American Heart Association.  

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

Hampton Funeral Service of Boone is in charge of arrangements.

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JAMES ROY HICKS
December 31, 1955 – August 20, 2023

Mr. James Roy Hicks, age 67, of Vilas, passed away Sunday, August 20, 2023, at Watauga Medical Center in Boone.

A private service will be conducted.

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

Hampton Funeral Service of Boone is in charge of arrangements.

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Betty Jane Fabben
July 30, 2023

Mrs. Betty Jane Fabben, 89, of Johnson City, TN passed away peacefully on July 30, 2023, at the Johnson City Medical Center. Betty grew up in Midland Park, New Jersey. She was the daughter of the late Albert and Christine Van Dyke.

Betty met her husband Henry (Bud) Fabben in her hometown. They were married in 1953 and were together for sixty years, until Bud’s passing in March of 2013. They moved to Lake Worth, Florida in 1958. She was a stay-at-home mom raising her four children. She was a wonderful mother! Betty did go to work later in life as a medical assistant to Dr. Joseph Doane in West Palm Beach. She retired in 1988, as did Bud from the U.S. Postal Service. They moved to Newland, North Carolina in 2001. They attended Aaron Baptist Church in Montezuma, N.C. where Betty played the Piano for the congregation as well as singing in the choir, which she dearly loved. Prior to moving to Johnson City, Betty attended Emmanuel Baptist Church in Newland, N.C.
Betty loved being around people, she was kind, loving and most of all, very giving. Her favorite saying was “You can’t outgive the Lord”. Betty loved spending time with her grandkids – playing the piano and singing hymns with them. She was so proud of all of them.
Her crown will have many “GEMS”. Our loss is Heaven’s gain. She will be deeply missed by her family and friends. We all Take Heart in knowing we will be together again.
In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by her daughter, Beverly Fabben Strona, and her brother, Albert Van Dyke.
Survivors include son, Glenn Fabben, and wife Cheryl; daughter, Bonnie Whitehead, and husband John; son, Brad Fabben, and wife Jamie; grandchildren Lindsay Rice and husband Roger, John Whitehead, Sara King and husband Cameron, Holly Fabben and Kimberly Davidson and husband Ronny; three great-grandchildren, Ryder Rice, Easton Rice, and Jasper Davidson.
There will be a service for family and friends on Saturday, September 2, 2023, at 1:00 pm at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 933 Millers Gap Hwy, Newland, NC, 28657. Immediately after there will be an inurnment service at Montezuma Cemetery, 630 Old North Carolina 181, Newland, NC 28657.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to your church or favorite charity in Betty’s name.

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Sam Ray Jr.
February 2, 1930 – August 3, 2023

Sam Ray Jr., age 93, of Newland, North Carolina passed away on Thursday, August 3, 2023, at his residence.
Sam was born on February 2, 1930, in Avery County, North Carolina, the son of the late Sam Miller Ray and the late Verdie Daniels Ray.

Sam was a graduate of the Citadel and joined the Air Force. He served as a fighter pilot in Korea, flew 124 missions in Vietnam, and retired from the Air Force after finishing his tenure at the Pentagon. Upon returning home to Newland, he became very active in his community. He was a member and Elder of the Newland Presbyterian Church. He served on the board of Trustees for Mayland Community College, member of the Region D Council of Government, and served Avery County as a Commissioner and County Manager. Colonel Ray was very active with the Pat Ray Post of the VFW, where he served as Past Commander and a member of the Post Honor Guard. He enjoyed Duke Basketball and golf. Sam was a longtime member of the Mountain Glen Golf Club and served on the Board of Avery Development Corporation. Working in his yard, picking up sticks, mowing, and burning the remnants of his yard work. He always enjoyed driving and exploring. In his final years, he loved to ride and he was very content being the passenger and seeing things he had not seen in a long time.
He was preceded in death by his Father, Sam Miller Ray, Sr.; Mother, Verdie Mae Ray; Wife, Patsy Ruth Ray; Daughter, Rebecca “Sissy” Ann Ray; Brother, Jim “Goose” Ray.
Sam leaves behind to cherish his memory Son, Sam L (Susan) Ray III; Five grandchildren, Christy Ray, Justin (Britney) Ray, Jordan (Matt) Mesaros, Sam Ray, IV, Brandon Ray; Three great-grandchildren, Ayden Ray, Caleigh Ray, Lachlan Lacey.
Services for Sam Ray Jr. will be held on Saturday, August 5, 2023, at the Newland Presbyterian Church with Rev. Michael McKee officiating. Interment will follow in the Hughes Cemetery on Baxter Hughes Rd in Newland. The family will receive friends from 12:30 until 2:00 pm on Saturday at the church.
The family would like to extend their sincere thanks and appreciation to the wonderful caregivers who took such loving care and were with Sam at his home. The staff of Amorem Hospice for tremendous support and care and to the Colonel’s neighbors and church for their loving support.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Amorem Hospice of the High Country – Capital Campaign 902 Kirkwood St NW Lenoir, NC 28645

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Roberta Wise Aldridge
March 17, 1931 – August 10, 2023

Roberta Wise Aldridge, age 92, of Crossnore, North Carolina, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on August 10, 2023, at Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville, NC.
She was born March 17, 1931, a daughter of the late Otis and Ellen Ford Wise.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband Bruce Aldridge, four brothers– Ben, Tom, Milton (Skeeze), and Earl (Dock) Wise, and one sister–Gay Wise Franklin.
Roberta was a devoted mother to her four sons-Randall (Kathy), Glenn (Pam Wolfe), Dale, and Scott (Gail) Aldridge, and an adoring grandmother to two grandsons-Loren (Jacqueline) and Ryan (Sara) Aldridge, one granddaughter–Xing Aldridge, and two great-grandsons–Ben and Liam Aldridge. She was an active member and former teacher of the Naomi Sunday School class at First Baptist Church Crossnore for over sixty years, and treasured the friendship of the ladies in the class as well as the love of the entire congregation.

Besides her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, she leaves behind one brother-Lowell Wise (Linda), two sisters-Leota Wise Coffey and Phyllis Wise Blackburn, and several nieces and nephews including her niece Kitty Coffey Honeycutt (Larry) who she provided daytime child care for from infancy until she reached school age.
Roberta was an eager traveler, and took trips to many areas of the United States and overseas, either alone or with her traveling companion, Jean Crenshaw. She could board a bus or airplane not knowing another person on board and return knowing the names of every one of them, sometimes staying in contact with part of them long after returning home.
A lady with a remarkable mind, Roberta was a talented poet and song writer. Her writings have been shared with her church family on several occasions. She was a lady of great faith. A dear pastor friend of hers said “You can’t lose something if you know where it is”. We who loved Roberta haven’t lost her, because we know without a doubt where she is.
Services for Roberta Wise Aldridge will be held on Sunday, August 13, 2023 at 6:00 pm at First Baptist Church Crossnore. The family will receive friends from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm. Her nephew Rev. Roger Wise and her pastor Rev. Jeremiah Parker will officiate. Private interment will be at the Crossnore Baptist Church Cemetery.
The family would like to extend their sincere appreciation to the staffs of Cannon Memorial Hospital, Blue Ridge Hospice, and Compassionate Hearts Home Care. Also to Finley Jr. and Glenda Cornett, who have blessed her with exceptional Christian love for many years.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First Baptist Church Crossnore, P.O. Box 370, Crossnore, NC 28616 or Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge, Inc., 236 Hospital Drive, Spruce Pine, Inc 2877.

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Tony Owens
April 16, 1946 – August 10, 2023

Tony Owens, age 77, of Morganton, North Carolina passed away on Thursday, August 10, 2023 at Grace Heights Long Term Care in Morganton, NC.

Tony was born on April 16, 1946 in Avery County, North Carolina, a son of the late William Thomas Owens and the late Rosa Trivett Owens.
Tony worked for many years as a Shrubberyman with Sugar Mountain Nursery. He attended New Hope Community Church in Lenoir for several years. Tony loved to carve and make instruments, including a fiddle and guitar.
He was preceded in death by his Father, William Thomas Owens; Mother, Rosa Ella Owens; Five Brothers, Tommy Owens, Julian Owens, Carl Owens, Jerry Owens, Ed Owens; Two Sisters, Dorothy Arnett, Regina Lyons.
Tony leaves behind to cherish his memory Daughter, Evainnie Smith of Morganton, NC; Former Wife, Theresa Brown of Morganton, NC; Two Sisters, Eula King of Linville, NC, Opal Woody of Biloxi, MS; Brother, Joe Owens of Linville, NC.
Services for Tony Owens will be held on Monday, August 14, 2023 beginning at 1:00 pm from the Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home.
The family will receive friends beginning at 12:00 pm on Monday at Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home.
Interment will be in the Tanglewood Cemetery.

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Carolyn Banner Ellis
June 3, 1936 – August 13, 2023

Carolyn Banner Ellis, age 87, of Boone, North Carolina passed away on Sunday, August 13, 2023, at her residence.

She was born on June 3, 1936, in Avery County, North Carolina, a daughter of the late Kyle Banner and the late Maxine Gragg Banner.
Carolyn was a devout Christian, who read her Bible daily and treasured her time in prayer with her Lord and Savior. She was a member of Calvary Baptist Church and the Blanketeers of Watauga County. She enjoyed being with her family, quilting, and sewing, and spending time in her flower garden.
She was preceded in death by her Mother, Maxine Banner; Father, Kyle Banner; Daughter, Patricia Carol Lee; Son, James Michael Lee; Husband, Gene Ellis; Two Sisters, Sonia Ivey, Delores Banner; Two Brothers, Bobby Banner, Horton Banner.
Carolyn leaves behind to cherish her memory Daughter, Kathy (Nick) Hicks of Newland, NC; Two grandchildren, Jamie Reece, and Summer Reece; Three Great Grandchildren, Bre (Morgan) Gragg, and Kayla Heaton, and Tyler Heaton; Two Great Great Grandchildren, Colton Gragg, Ava Rose Gragg; Two Sisters, Connie (Wayne) Braswell, Barbara Thorton.
A service will be held at a later date.

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Ernest Edgar Norwood
December 17, 1953 – August 18, 2023

Ernest Edgar Norwood, age 69, of Newland, North Carolina passed away on Friday, August 18, 2023, at Cannon Memorial Hospital.

Ernie was born on December 17, 1953, in Avery County, North Carolina, a son of the late Everette Norwood and the late Ema Belva Kennedy Blevins.
Ernie was a member of New Life Baptist Church and he also visited Newland Christian Church and Vale Freewill Baptist. He liked to garden both flowers and vegetables and after his wife Donna passed away you could find him with “Baby” his cat watching wrestling. He also loved watching the hummingbirds.

Along with his parents, Ernie was preceded in death by his Wife, Donna Norwood; Maw and Paw ; Brothers; Jason Devin, Larry, and Jimmy. Sister; Marlene Clark: Stepmom Wilma Holtzclaw Norwood.

Ernie leaves behind to cherish his memory Sisters; Retha Bentley of Lenoir, Cathy Wilcox of Icard, Shirley Barrier of Old Fort, Claudine Norwood of Icard, and Georgia Collins of Mt. Airy. Brother-in-law Paul Sluder
Numerous Nieces and Nephews. His church families and friends.

Graveside services for Ernie will be held on, Saturday, August 26, 2023, beginning at 10:30 AM at Slippery Hill Cemetery.
Family and friends may come by Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home between 9 am -10 am to pay their respects on Saturday before the graveside.
The interment will be in the Slippery Hill Cemetery.

The family would like to extend their sincere thanks and appreciation to all the people that have helped Ernie over the years, and the staff of Hospice and Home Care Of The Blue Ridge.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home to help with expenses.