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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – August 31, 2021

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


Timothy Calvin “Tim” Fox

1965 – 2021

Our Brother and Son passed onto the City of Lights and his eternal rest on Monday at 9:47 pm …. Tim was a valued employee of the NCDOT District 13 for almost 20 years. He was an Engineering Technician II on the Roadside Environmental unit where he’ll be missed … A lifelong Member of the NC Wildlife Agency and a 1984 Enka High School graduate. He’s preceded in death by Grandparents John Will and Julia Mae Johnson and Denver and Belvia Fox. As well as older Sister Debra Renée Fox and Father Eldridge Locke Fox.

He is survived by Mother Juanita J. Fox, Uncle Walter Johnson and Aunt and Uncle Linda and Joe Scorsone. Also siblings Terri Lynne Fox (sister) and Gregory E. Fox/Robin R. Fox (brother and sister-in-law) along with Chris Scorsone, Brittany & Daniel Byers, Jon & Maggie Cutshall, Audrey & Keith Webb, Andy & Susan Johnson, Becky & Jim Thompson and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews and friends that loved him so …. Thank you from our family to the folks at Amorem High Country Hospice for their help in Tim’s final journey here. 

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

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the Fox family. 



Terry Philip Ainsworth

1947 – 2021

Terry Philip Ainsworth, age 73, of Boone, NC passed away Monday, August 23, 2021. Terry will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and the entire Hound Ears Community.  

Born December 14, 1947 in Tampa, Florida he was a son of the late Helen Gaillard Ainsworth and Philip Calvin Ainsworth. He was a graduate of the University of Florida and LOVED being a Gator!

Terry led a passionate life. He loved to dance, golf, cook, travel and spend time with family & friends.  He always told the grandsons if you learn to cook and dance you will get the girls!  Terry gained wisdom and knowledge through life experiences and enjoyed writing about them in all his journals.  

Terry and his good friend Joel just finished writing a 3rd book, “Switching Gears”, based on personal growth and transformation. Both personally and professionally, he was most known for excellence in mentoring and coaching. He loved to give back. He demonstrated living with purpose, inspired others and positively touched so many people. 

 Terry was married to Susan Zeit Ainsworth for 31 years, who he dearly loved and cared for until she passed away. Terry and Susan’s legacy lives on with their children: Heather (and Lee) Todd of Moseley, VA and Jeffrey Ainsworth of Owosso, MI. Grandkids: Kieran, Brody and Victoria Todd and Austin and Bailey Ainsworth.  

For the last 20 years Terry was blessed to share love with his significant other, Bonnie Alter. With Bonnie, his extended family included daughters: Carrie (and Matthew) McMichaels of Chapel Hill, NC, Heather (and Andy) Litvak of Atlanta, GA, Ashley (and Adam) Arviv of Boca Raton, FL, and very close relationship with Jenny Alter. Grandkids: Cogan and Max McMichaels, Alexandra, Jolie and Josh Litvak, Alyson, Jordan and Ethan Brady and Meaghan, Madison and Scarlett Arviv.  He is also survived by his brother, Dean (and Gail) Ainsworth and their children, Jason and Matt Ainsworth and Erin (and Alan) Pate.

A service to celebrate the life of Terry Ainsworth will be conducted Friday, August 27, 2021 at 11 AM at All Saints Episcopal Church, 525 Lake Concord Road, NE, Concord, NC 28025.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, P.O. Box 016960 (M-867), Miami, FL 33101 or on line at SylvesterDevelopment@miami.edu.

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

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the Ainsworth family.



Anna Belle Trivette

1938 – 2021

Anna B. Wilson Trivette (Ann), age 82, of Zionville, NC passed peacefully on Tuesday February 2, 2021 at Watauga Medical Center.

Ann was born to Boyd and Lexie and raised in Zionville, NC. She married George Sr. and enjoyed many years together with him. She was a faithful member of Zionville Baptist Church. She loved our Lord and put him first. She retired from IRC/TRW where she made many friends over the years. Before the pandemic began, Ann made weekly trips to local nursing homes to visit friends and family. She loved her family and friends very much and will be missed by all those that knew her.

Ann is survived by daughters: Karen, Georgia (Gene), and Lu; Sons: Jim and George Jr., daughter-in-law Margaret; Grandsons: Jody, T.J. (Kelly), Kevin, Ian, Jake (Amanda) and Fields; Granddaughters: Brandi, Pam (Larry), Suiter (Ben), Christine (Shane), Evalyn and Danielle; and Great-grandchildren: Clay, Camdyn, Ethan, Gigi, Dash, Shawn, Jack, Virginia, Thomas, Eli, Steven, Kimmie, and Mahala. She is also survived by her sister Gloria, sisters-in-law Janette and Pauline (Joe), and Diane, and many extended family members and friends including Ian’s dad.

Along with her parents and husband, Ann was preceded in death by her son Will and brothers Robert and Bill.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Ann’s honor to the Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care for the Boone House at 902 Kirkwood St NW, Lenoir, NC 28645.

A Celebration of Life service will be held to jointly remember Ann Trivette and her brother, Bill Wilson, on Saturday, August 28, 2021 at Zionville Baptist Church at 1:00 PM.

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

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



Michael Clay Aldridge

1978 – 2021

Michael Clay Aldridge, age 43, of Cannon Lane, Vilas, passed away Thursday, August 26, 2021 at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

Born January 4, 1978 in Watauga County, he was a son of Anita Cannon Miller and Danny Edward Aldridge.  Michael loved his family and enjoyed his dog and constant companion, Sammy. 

He is survived by his mother, Anita Miller and her boyfriend, Melvin Ragan; father, Danny Aldridge; brother, Shawn Aldridge and fiancé, Michelle and son, Jackson; maternal grandmother, Shelby Cannon; paternal grandmother, Betty Aldridge; aunts, Gail Winebarger and fiancé, Mr. Darrell and Teresa Cannon and fiancé, Ray Staford; uncle, Bruce Cannon; and cousins, Andrew, LeAnn, Cole and Cody Ellis, Mandy, Mike, Case, Asher, Isaac and Ella VanWingerden, Cheyanne Cannon, Dakota, Jay and Delaney Pierce, Autumn, Lucas and Carolina Gray and Skylar Cannon.  

Michael was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Herman Clay Cannon and his paternal grandfather, Jim Aldridge. 

Graveside services for Michael Aldridge will be conducted Sunday afternoon, August 29, 2021, at 2:30 at the Cable-Matheson Cemetery, Rush Branch Road in Sugar Grove.  Officiated will be Rev. Chad Cole and Rev. Daniel Lawrence.  

The family suggests memorials to the Watauga Humane Society, PO Box 1835, Boone, NC 28607.

Online condolences may be shared at austginandbarnesfuneralhome.com

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



William Earl May

1942 – 2021

Mr. William Earl May, age 78, of Highway 421, Vilas, NC, peacefully passed away Saturday, August 28, 2021 at his home.

Earl was born September 1, 1942 in Watauga County to Bill and Bessie Eggers May.  The Lord blessed Earl with a special musical talent.  From age 7, he used his beautiful gift to share the story of God’s love and saving grace with churches and communities all around.  His quick wit and ability to tell a joke brought a smile to everyone he met.  Earl was a member and former Sunday school teacher at Mountain Dale Baptist Church, serving as a deacon since June 1969.  He retired from Appalachian State University in 2005 and was blessed to have more time to enjoy playing, singing and songwriting during retirement.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Ruth Moody May, sister-in-law Nell May of Mountain City, TN, the Moody in-laws: Ray (Pat), Dean (Jennie), Carl (Lennis), Bernice Braswell, AR (Pansy), Carolyn Wilson (Dale), Judy McNamee (Don), and Ivan, 20 nieces and nephews, and a host of wonderful friends. 

He was preceded in death by his father and mother, three brothers: Austin, Travis Clyde (TC) and Ted May, sister-in-law Bengie May and brother-in-law Dean Braswell.

A graveside service will be conducted on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 at 2:00 pm in the Mountain Dale Baptist Church Cemetery in Vilas, NC.  Pastor Eric Cornett and Preacher Derick Wilson will officiate.  Friends may visit Austin & Barns Funeral Home Monday from noon until 5 o’clock and Tuesday from 9 AM until noon to pay respects and sign the guest register. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to one of Earl’s favorite missionary projects: the “B” Dollar Bible Program at Mountain Dale Baptist Church (Travis Cornett, 521 Bamboo Heights, Boone, NC 28607) or Medi-Home Hospice (400 Shadowline Drive, Suite 102, Boone, NC 28607).

The May family wishes to express their sincere gratitude to the members of Mountain Dale Baptist Church and many much-loved friends for their love and support over the years, the staff at Watauga Medical Center, Dr. Nicholas Placentra, Medi-Home Hospice caregivers:  Holly, Michael, Nechia, Lindsey, Liz, Rodney and Johnny, and Austin & Barnes Funeral Services for their care and kindness.

Online condolences may be shared at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com

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



Zola Lee Cook

November 09, 1932 – August 24, 2021

Zola Lee Cook, age 88, of 2329 Deerfield Road, Boone, passed away Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at Watauga Medical Center.

She was born November 9, 1932 in Watauga County, a daughter of the late Boyd and Bessie James Harmon. She was a member of Mount Vernon Baptist Church.

She is survived by one son, Mark J. Cook and wife Janet of Boone; one daughter, Kimberly Cook Hyatt of Boone and one daughter-in-law, Ruth Hoover Cook of Charlotte; two granddaughters, Jessica Cook Reynolds and husband Chance of Chapin, South Carolina and Michelle Cook Gaston and husband Hank of Charlotte; four grandsons, Brian Cook of China Grove; Darren Cook and wife Caitlin of Austin, Texas; Justin Hyatt and wife Jennifer of Fort Bragg and Dylan Cook of Boone; great-grandchildren, Catherine Faith Cook, Eleanor Hyatt, Scarlett Hyatt, Ryland and Ashen Gaston, C.J., Isaiah, Shea, Lane and Kason Reynolds, one sister, Beulah Cannon and husband Hensel of Charlotte and one sister-in-law, Barbara Harmon of Hudson. She is also survived by a number of nieces and nephews.

 In addition to her father and mother she was preceded in death by her husband, Grant Joseph Cook, one son, David Lee Cook, four sisters, Willis Hollars, Gladys Byrd, Ruth Foster and Thelma Cornett, and three brothers, Robert, Max and Donald Harmon.

Funeral service will be conducted Friday, August 27, 2021 at 11:00 o’clock at Mount Vernon Baptist Church. Reverend Bud Russell will officiate. Interment will follow in Mount Vernon Baptist Church Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 10:00 until 11:00, prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to AMOREM Hospice, 902 Kirkwood Street, Lenoir, North Carolina 28645.

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

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



Jean Vaughn Larimore

February 26, 1929 – August 25, 2021

Jean Vaughn Larimore, age 92, of Castle Ford Road Boone, passed away Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at Glenbridge Health and Rehab.

She was born February 26, 1929 in Forsyth County, a daughter of the late Clarence B. Vaughn and Avah Davis Vaughn. She loved her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and was a former member of Bethelview United Methodist Church and was of the Baptist faith presently. She was also a retired owner and operator of Merle Norman Cosmetics.

She is survived by a number of cousins, nieces and nephews.

In addition to her father and mother she was preceded in death by her husband, Robert F. “Bob” Larimore.

Funeral service will be conducted Tuesday August 31, 2021, at 2:00 PM at Hampton Funeral Home Chapel. Mr. Phil Ginn will officiate. The body will lie in state at the chapel from 1:00 until 2:00. Interment will follow in Mount Lawn Memorial Park and Gardens.

Flowers are appreciated or memorials may be made to The Gideons International, P.O. Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214-0800.

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

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



Theresa Helen Wunsch

December 18, 1966 – August 27, 2021

Theresa Helen Wunsch, age 54, of Raeford, North Carolina, passed away Friday, August 27, 2021 at First Health Moore Regional Hospital.

She was born December 18, 1966 in Queens, New York. A daughter of the late Charles and Dorothy Gregory. She loved gardening, music and loved her grandchildren.

She is survived by a daughter, Jessica Winn and her husband Joshua and their children, Anthony Levick, Jasmine and Alexandra Wunsch of New York;  two sons, David Wunsch and his wife Kourtney and their daughter, Everly of Boone; Michael Wunsch and wife America Lopez Bailon and their son, Oliver Wunsch of Nevada; two sisters, Marie Rivera and Dorothy Atkinson both of North Carolina and one brother, Thomas Gregory of New York.

In addition to her father and mother she was preceded in death by her husband, Anthony “Tony” Wunsch and one brother, Charles Gregory.

There are no services scheduled at this time.

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

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

Robert Marvin Houck, Sr.

July 21, 1943 – August 27, 2021

Robert Marvin Houck, Sr., age 78, of Zionville, passed away Friday, July 27, 2021 at Watauga Medical Center.

He was born July 21, 1943 in Watauga County, a son of the late Wade and Susan Norris Houck. He was a US Army Medical Technologist having spent one year in Vietnam. After he came home he was a Medical Technologist with Watauga Medical Hospital where he was appreciated by his fellow workers. He was a member of Holy Cross Episcopal Church and was an animal advocate.

He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Donna Houck of Zionville, two sons, Robert Marvin “Robbie” Houck, Jr. of Charleston, South Carolina and Christopher Rutledge “Chris” Houck of Asheville; four grandchildren, Grace, Abigail, Christian and Sophie Houck and several nieces and nephews. He was also survived by his beloved dog Buster 2.

In addition to his father and mother he was preceded in death by three brothers, J.D. Houck, James Houck and Elmoe Houck and two sisters, Edna Earle Storie and Bobbie Hicks.

No services are scheduled at this time.

The family would like to express a special thank you to Faythe, Emma and Chris who were very helpful in his last days.

The family respectfully request no food, flowers, visits or calls, but prayers are welcome.

In lieu of flower memorials may be made to the Watauga Humane Society, 312 Paws Way, Boone, North Carolina 28607.

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

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



Betty Jo Ragan Eggers Buhl

January 12, 1961 – August 28, 2021

Betty Jo Ragan Eggers Buhl, 60, of Chesnee, went to rest in the arms of Jesus on Saturday, August 28, 2021 at Spartanburg Medical Center. Betty was a native of Boone, North Carolina, and was the daughter of the late James Arlton and Rose Edna Lewis Ragan. Betty was the wife of Rev. Robert “Bob” Buhl, Sr. She was the widow of the late Rev. John Brandon Eggers, Jr. Together, she and John founded Eggers Funeral Homes and Crematory and grew it into the successful business it is today. She was a licensed Funeral Director and a member of the South Carolina Funeral Directors Association and the National Funeral Directors Association. Betty was an active member of New Hope Baptist Church.

In addition to her husband Bob, left to cherish her memory are step-sons, Jim Buhl, Bobby Buhl, Billy Buhl; two dear friends, Cheryl Chastain, Carol Hawkins and her beloved pets, Lucky, Charlie, Boss Man and her Cows.  Along with her parents and first husband, she was preceded in death by three sisters, Peggy Ragan, Linda Ragan and Jeanie Ragan; two brothers, Johnny Ragan and Frank Ragan.

The family will receive friends on Monday, August 30, 2021 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Eggers Funeral Home of Boiling Springs, 195 Rainbow Lake Road, Boiling Springs, SC 29316. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 in the Chapel of Eggers Funeral Home of Boiling Springs with Dr. David Lancaster and Rev. Gary Adkins officiating. Interment will follow at Good Shepherd Memorial Park.

Due to Covid-19, the family requests that social distancing guidelines be followed.

In lieu of flowers memorials can be made to Wounded Warrior Project, 4899 Belfort Road, Jacksonville, FL., 32256 or to the Spartanburg Humane Society, 150 Dexter Road, Spartanburg, SC 29303.

The family will be at the home.

Announcement Courtesy of Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service.



Gage Aborn Bleakley

October 12, 1954 – August 28, 2021

Gage Aborn Bleakley, Lt. Col. US Air Force Retired, age 66, passed away Saturday, August 28, 2021 at Watauga Medical Center in Boone, North Carolina. He and his wife Rene’ celebrated their 48th anniversary this month, and had recently moved to the area to be close to their son, Jon, his wife Ann-Marie, and their three boys; Jack, Isaac, and Cooper. He is survived by them all, as well as his sister Martha Culler of Pawley’s Island, SC, brother Bill Bleakley of North Myrtle Beach, SC, sister Sandy Bleakley of Melbourne, FL, and stepbrother Frank ‘Questie’ Gring of North Andover, Massachusetts. He is preceded in death by their daughter Adrianna Elizabeth Bleakley, his mother Elizabeth Weed, his father William Jay Bleakley, and his stepmother Gwen Bleakley.

Gage was born in Orangeburg, SC October 12, 1954. His whole life he was known to be smart, hard-working, athletic, and of strong character. He was a Defensive MVP on the 1971 South Carolina State Champion Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School Football team. He worked as a sports reporter for the Orangeburg Times and Democrat while attending South Carolina State University. Gage joined the US Air Force in 1983, serving all over the world including deployments to Operation Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom before he retired in 2006. He was awarded the Bronze Star medal for his service in support of Operation Allied Force – Kosovo. Since then, he has served in church and ministry positions, including regional director for the CRU Valor program ministering to college ROTC cadets throughout the Carolinas, Kentucky, and Tennessee. His life was defined by selfless service, commitment to family and country, and love for his wife, children, and grandchildren. He was a mentor to many, friend to all, and a dedicated fan of Clemson University athletics, especially football.

The family will remember Gage at a memorial service at Christ Community Church in Pinehurst, NC at 2pm on September 10th. They will receive friends and family after the service at the church. There will also be a memorial gathering in Fayetteville, AR and a graveside service at the US Air Force Academy in the near future.

Flowers are appreciated, but if friends and family prefer to make donations, they can be made in Gage’s memory to New Heights Church, Fayetteville AR, Albania outreach ministry at NewHeightschurch.com/give, please put Gage Bleakley Albania Memorial in the notes. Alternately, donations can be made to Samaritan’s Purse, or the ALS Association in Gage’s name.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. lIn all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3

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

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



Donna Jean Woodring

June 18, 1941 – August 30, 2021

Donna Jean Woodring, age 80, of Zionville, passed away Monday, August 30, 2021 at Watauga Medical Center.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be announced.

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

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



Betty Steelman

January 26, 1927 – December 13, 2020

Betty Steelman, age 93, of 163 Shadowline Drive, Boone, passed away Sunday, December 13, 2020 at her residence.

She was born January 26, 1927 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania to the late Ross Dell and Rosella Knee Dell. She was a bookkeeper and a member of Mount Vernon Baptist Church.

She is survived by one daughter, Jo Ann Garrod of Boone; two sons, Frank Gioscio, Jr. and wife Connie of Boone and Dennis Pattison and wife Jane of Herndon, Virginia; nine grandchildren, nineteen great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

In addition to her father and mother she was preceded in death by her husband John G. Steelman one son, Barry Pattison and her brothers and sisters and one nephew.

A memorial service for Betty Steelman will be conducted Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 1:00 o’clock at Mount Vernon Baptist Church. Reverend Don Holder will officiate. Interment will follow in Gap Creek Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 12:00 until 1:00, prior to the service, at the church.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be sent to Medi Home Hospice, 400 Shadowline Drive, Suite 100, Boone, North Carolina 28607.

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

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



Sandra Kay Hughes Phillips

December 18, 1938 – August 26, 2021

Surrounded by the love of her boys, her siblings and other close family members, Sandra Kay Hughes Phillips, 82, passed away peacefully at her home on Thursday, August 26, 2021. Her deep desire and resolve to remain on this earth for her family as long as possible and their deep desire to hold on to her as long as possible could not overcome the effects of a valiant multiyear struggle with declining health issues and the recent loss on July 6, 2021 of her beloved husband, Clinton.

Sandra was the fourth child of eight children born to David Jacob and Viola Johnson Hughes. She was blessed with a kind, generous heart and sweet spirit. She dearly loved people and they in turn loved her back. From an early age Sandra formed a strong unyielding bond with her seven siblings – Lou, Jack, Mary Helen, D.J., Betty, Johnny and Lynda – that held firm throughout her life. She never missed a chance to be with them, to support them and celebrate with them.

While still in her teens she fell in love with a handsome young man and remained a devoted wife and companion to her “Clint” for 67 years. After spending a brief time in Canton, Ohio and several years in Charlotte, NC, she and Clint came home to Avery County and built their house on Whitaker Branch. They had found their place of contentment and happiness, remaining there for the rest of their lives. Sandra was a wonderful Mother to her four boys, David, Danny, Tim and Mark. She loved her boys with all her heart. With Clinton by her side she attended numerous school and athletic events involving the boys. She was always their greatest cheerleader and supporter.

Grandchildren received a very special kind of love from their Nana. She was so proud of them and took great pride in their many accomplishments. To experience Nana’s unconditional love felt like no other as she expressed her genuine delight in them. If there was ever a need to be consoled or encouraged, they could count on their Nana to provide it. Sandra was especially thankful for the gift of great-grandchildren and considered them to be like “Icing on the cake!”

The doors to the Phillips home were always open and welcoming to everyone. Visitors never needed to leave hungry for Sandra always insisted that you had to eat or drink something while there. She was a wonderful cook and loved to prepare food for friends and family, most especially, each Sunday for lunch. She was famous for her brown, crispy outside and soft white inside cornbread. If any remained, she crumbled up the rest to combine with a delicious mixture of fried onions and potatoes in her trusty old black skillet. The home was a hub of activity for the Phillips and Hughes Clan. No crowd was ever too large for the Fourth of July celebrations and other occasions to gather in the large field in front of their home. For Sandra and Clinton it was truly always, “The more the merrier.”

The Frank Community and Pleasant Hill Baptist Church played an important and defining role in Sandra’s life. For several years she taught Sunday School and coordinated the annual Christmas Pageant at the church where she gave both children and adults the opportunity to participate in activities that demonstrated God’s love, mercy and grace. In her faith she desired to lead by example.

Sandra retired from the Avery County Public School System where she enjoyed serving as a bus driver and for many years as a teaching assistant at Minneapolis Elementary and Freedom Trail Elementary. It was in this role she was able to shower the students with love and to have a positive impact on their young lives.

In addition to her parents, Sandra was predeceased by her husband, Clinton Ira Phillips; her brother, Jack Hughes; her brother-in-law, Vance Buchanan; and her three sisters-in-law, Lois Eller Hughes, Patsy Phillips Thompson and Carol Lou Philips Yancey. She is survived by her siblings: Lou Buchanan, Mary Helen Henley (Pete), D.J Hughes (Norma Ann), Betty Robbins (Doran), John Wayne Hughes (Jackie), and Lynda Hodges (Pat); her sons: David Phillips (Donna), Danny Phillips (Kella), Tim Phillips (Marilynne) and Mark Phillips (Andrea); her eight grandchildren: Tyne Franklin (Jeremy), Tyler Phillips (Brian), Dane Phillips (Paige), Jena Vance (Garren), Lauren Phillips, Samuel Phillips (Allison), Seth Phillips (Brittany), Ridge Phillips (Megan); her four step-grandchildren: Sarah Stines (Tyler), Alyssa Carter, Madyson Carter and Bailey Cole Allen; her thirteen great- grandchildren: Irelyn, Addison, Ayleigh, Jase, Tatum, Jude, Maddox, Lennox, Tripp, Tenley, Tate, Banks and Teagan. Sandra is also survived by a host of nieces and nephews as well as great nieces and nephews who simply adored their Aunt Sandra.

Sandra has been a deeply loved and special wife, Mother, sister, sister-in-law, aunt and Nana. Even though she will be greatly missed by her family, we will hold her in our hearts and treasure the numerous sweet memories we have of her.

On behalf of the family a deeply heartfelt thanks is offered to Dr. Alfred Earwood, a family friend who for many years has unselfishly given of his time and medical skills to provide exceptional personal care to Sandra and to most assuredly contribute to extending her life. Appreciation is also expressed to Amorim Hospice for their compassionate care during the past several days.

Services will be held on Saturday, August 28th at 2:00 p.m. at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Frank. Visitation with the family will be prior to the service from 12:30-2:00 p.m. Interment in the Whitaker Branch Cemetery will follow the service. Dr. Bill Jones, pastor of Newland First Baptist Church will conduct the service assisted by Cameron Dula, pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Pallbearers will be grandsons; Tyler Phillips, Dane Phillips, Sam Phillips, Seth Phillips and Ridge Phillips and nephew; Curtis Thompson. Honorary Pallbearers will be D.J. Hughes, John Wayne Hughes, Pete Henley, Doran Robbins, Pat Hodges, Chris Pappas, Cory Hughes, Jeremy Franklin, and Garren Vance.

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

Michael Allen Vance

May 28, 1962 – August 28, 2021

Micheal Allen Vance (Mike), age 59, of the Pyatte Community in Avery County NC, passed away unexpectedly at his residence.

He is survived by his parents, Hayden and Rosalee Vance of Stamey Branch. Sister Pam Vance (Stacey);Brother Jeff Vance(Donna) all of Avery County. Sons Ethan Vance of Spruce Pine, NC and Adam Vance of Crossnore. Granddaughter Carmen Vance, and his beloved K-9 companion and guardian angel Tonka. Mike was known among friends as “Big Bird” and was a lively storyteller at family and social gatherings, where he’d often be the center of thick smoke, loud bangs and contagious laughter. An avid handicraftsman, Mike was known to produce fine works from whips to game tables to quilts. Mike fancied all things outdoors and could most always be found there if the weather was fit.

A graveside service to celebrate Mike’s life will be held on Monday August 30th 2021 at Stameytown Cemetery at 3:00PM

In Lieu of flowers Mike’s son’s request donations be made to

Reins-Sturdivant Funeral home in Newland, NC to help with funeral expenses.The family gives special thanks to Linville First Responders, Avery County Sheriff’s Office and EMS and hospital staff at Cannon Memorial Hospital.