1000 x 90

Watauga, Avery Obituaries – January 14, 2020

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

William Lontz “Bill” Wilkinson, Sr
April 9, 1947 – December 28, 2019

William Lontz “Bill” Wilkinson, Sr. passed away unexpectedly at his Banner Elk, N.C. home on Saturday, December 28, 2019. He is preceded in death by his father, John Louis Wilkinson, and mother, Virginia “Pete” Wilkinson, and sisters Virginia Gay Wilkinson and Barbara Wilkinson Leavitt.
Bill is survived by his son, William Lontz Wilkinson, Jr. and grandchildren Davis and Grace Wilkinson, who affectionately called him “Pop”, and his sister Catherine “Kitty” Wilkinson. Also left to cherish his memory are nieces Allison, Catherine and Meredith, along with nephews Scott, Christian and Michael, with whom he shared his mastery of water and snow skiing and the art of catching and cleaning a trout.
Bill was born and raised in Charlotte, N.C. graduating from Myers Park High School in 1965. After a brief career in the family business, Carolina Transfer and Storage, Bill discovered his love of the North Carolina High Country. And there he moved and lived over forty years, establishing numerous enterprises in food, trout farms, and a gem mine.
In the High Country, Bill’s friends remember him as a proud, honest man with a heart of gold and a grace-filled spirit. He approached life in ways that challenged his care free nature and reflected his intention to supply others with a better, more secure, and fun-filled life.
Bill became an integral part of the High Country. After moving to the area in the mid 70s, he embraced the way of life here and became a beloved part of the Seven Devils and Foscoe communities, operating successful businesses for more than 40 years. 
As a respected landlord of cottages on Seven Devils, Bill supplied 100s of renters with beautiful views in a secure environment. He loved remodeling his cottages and after working on other’s homes for a while, he built one for himself on the crest of his ridge and enjoyed one of the areas most beautiful views for the rest of his life.
For many of his earlier years on Seven Devils, besides becoming a land owner, Bill operated the Hawknest Ski Restaurant and later served as a board member of the Seven Devil’s town council.
Bill’s service to the greater area began in the mid 80’s when he started Grandfather Trout Farm in Foscoe. He loved providing people with an outlet for outdoor fun and recreation. His command over the environment and sense of grace with nature served him well when fighting floods and weather conditions that threatened the livelihood and success of his trout farm. No matter what the challenge, as some would say, “Bill always landed on his feet.”
Bill was deeply commitment to the people in his life. His firm mind could cave into a soft heart in an instant, and his caring nature would penetrate any problem with a workable solution. Referred to as “Mr. Bill,” an employee said, “He was a good man who would help anybody anyway he could.” That’s simply as good as it gets for such an exuberantly active and lucky man.
Bill enjoyed and valued a social life. He loved playing poker with lifelong friends and connecting with them each week at Woodlands. It was a standing date that anchored a web of life that supported his way of being. And the women lucky enough to have been loved by him will always know within themselves a true meaning of being embraced. These memories, held in the hearts of both men and women, will never die.
And within the depths of Bill’s heart, he held his son, Lontz.
A celebration of Bill’s life will be held on Sunday, January 26, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. at the Grandview Restaurant on Highway 105 in the Foscoe community for friends and family.

Billy Wayne McGrew
1940 – 2020

Billy Wayne McGrew, age 79, of Old Mountain Road, Banner Elk, passed Monday evening, January 6, 2020 at the Kate B. Reynolds Hospice House in Winston-Salem. Bill was born in Monette, Arkansas on December 25th, 1940 to Fred and Mabel McGrew. He joined the US Navy at the age of 17. After serving, he moved to North Carolina where he met and married Ellen Presnell. Bill was a member of Presnell’s Chapel Primitive Baptist Church. He spent many hours helping build the building where they meet. He was a retired member of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 421 where he worked for more than 50 years. His work often took him far from home, but this was a sacrifice he was willing to make in order to provide a good life for his wife and daughters. Bill was the most dedicated husband and father. In recent years, he devoted his life to caring for his wife, Ellen, of 57 years Mr. McGrew is survived by his wife, Julia Ellen Presnell McGrew; daughters, Billie Proctor and husband, Ed, of Tarboro, Melinda Whitmire and husband, Scott, of Easley, SC, Reita Pearson and husband, Johnny, of Banner Elk, and Susie Hepler and husband, Raymond, of Lexington; a sister, Debbie Wagner of Hawaii; a brother, James Hicks of Pound, VA; grandchildren, Aaron and Cameron Effoe, both of Lexington, KY, Silas and Joanna Whitmire, both of Easley, SC, Noah Pearson of Banner Elk, Calvin and Ellie Hepler, both of Lexington. A number of nieces and nephews also survive, including a very special niece, Deanna Atwood and husband, Kevin. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Bob McGrew, Roy McGrew, Duane Roberson, and a sister Peggy Genova. Funeral services for Billy Wayne McGrew will be conducted Thursday morning, January 9th, at 11 o’clock at Presnells Chapel Primitive Baptist Church, Old Mountain Road, Banner Elk. Elder John Jackson will officiate. The family will receive friends from 10 until 11 o’clock, prior to services, at the church. Graveside services will follow in the Presnell Family Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to Presnells Chapel Primitive Baptist Church, in care of Elder John Jackson, 1103 Tom Jackson Rd., Boone, NC 28607. Online condolences may be shared at austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the McGraw family.


Christine “Cricket” Carroll
1937 – 2020

Christine Hartley ‘Cricket’ Carroll, age 82, of Green Briar Road, Boone, passed away Thursday, January 9, 2020 at her home. Born November 28, 1937 in Watauga County, she was a daughter of Charles Oscar and Frances Wiseman Hartley. Christine retired from the housekeeping department at ASU. Affectionately named ‘Cricket’ by family and friends, Christine was known for her love of family. She especially enjoyed cooking for family and friends and spending quality time with her grandchildren and pets. When she was able she loved all the family camping and fishing trips. Christine is survived by her daughter, Patricia Carroll of Manchester, NH; sons, Randy Carroll and wife, Lisa, of Mountain City, TN, Martin Carroll of Boone, and Curtis Carroll and wife, Beverly, of Brooklet, GA and foster son, Mike Triplett and wife Cheryl, of Boone; eleven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren; sister, Mary Hicks and husband, Glen, of Burley, WA; and brothers, Ernest Hartley and wife, Peggy, of Boone and John Hartley and wife, Marilyn, of Houston, TX. She was preceded in death by her husband, Archie Lamer Carroll; and brother, Hugh Hartley. Funeral services will be conducted Monday, January 13th, at 11 AM at the Austin & Barnes Funeral Home Chapel, officiated by Rev. Mike Townsend. The family will receive friends Monday from 10 until 11 o’clock, at Austin & Barnes. Graveside services will follow at Mount Lawn Memorial Park & Gardens. The family suggests memorials to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105. Online condolences may be shared at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Carroll family.



Mabel Ward
1924 – 2020

Mrs. Mabel Dishman Ward, age 95, of Boone, passed away Saturday, January 11, 2020, at Deerfield Ridge Assisted Living. Born March 13, 1924 in Watauga County, she was a daughter of Willard and Janie Greene Dishman. Mrs. Ward loved her family. She always remained close to her mother, brothers and sisters throughout their lives. She loved her church family, Rutherwood Baptist Church. Mrs. Ward enjoyed growing flowers and working her vegetable gardens. She is survived by her grandson, Mitchell Ward of Winston-Salem; daughter-in-law, Charlene Mitchell Ward of Boone; and sister, Leta Mae Edmisten of Sugar Grove. A number of nieces and nephews also survive. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Vance Ward; son, Dale Ward; sister, Maude Ward; and brothers, Lloyd, Ivan and Buster Dishman. Funeral services for Mabel Dishman Ward will be conducted Monday afternoon, January 13th, at 2 o’clock at Rutherwood Baptist Church, officiated by Pastor Peter Vandenberg. The family will receive friends Monday from 1 until 2 o’clock, prior to services, at the Church. Graveside services will follow at Mount Lawn Memorial Park & Gardens. Flowers are appreciated or memorials may be made to Rutherwood Baptist Church, 142 Don Hayes Rd., Boone, NC 28607, or to Medi Home Health & Hospice, 400 Shadowline Dr., Boone, NC, 28607. Online condolences may be shared at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Ward family.


Ashley Elizabeth Mercereau Greene

January 05, 2020

On January 5, 2020  32 year old Ashley Elizabeth Mercereau Greene was carried home to heaven in the loving arms of Jesus her Lord and Savior.  In the year of 2020 it can truly be said that she can see clearly now, with perfect vision, perfect peace, perfect comfort, and no more spiders!

As part of a family of five, Ashley grew up in the Boone, NC area where she developed into the faithful, strong, vibrant, intelligent, caring, hard working, thoughtful and kind woman she was to become.  Our family had so much fun along our journey together and Ashley loved so many things growing up including school, developing her musical talents of singing and playing many different instruments, creating, performing in, and staging video skits with her sister and brother, performing in multiple school and church plays, vacationing all over the country in our motor home, driving her four wheeler around her grandparents property, performing as a news reporter, clogging, performing, participating, and winning multiple dance competitions, teaching many forms of dance to both young and old, participating in and winning several Odyssey of the Mind competitions, building and repairing things with her tools, and loving her family.  With her light-up-the-room, infectious smile, and positive high energy, she had an instant knack for drawing people closer to her.   Ashley was no stranger to a stage and loved to entertain folks, bringing them joy, and serving others any way she could; it is no wonder that this is what she ended up doing for a living.

There are not enough words or adjectives to describe or explain just who Ashley was to everyone she came in contact with on this side of heaven:  a loving and caring daughter, sister, mother, and an instant friend to everyone she met along her journey.  The unbelievable outpouring of love through, shared comments, pictures, and the overwhelming kindness that has already blown up the social media pages is testimony alone of what a puritanically, positive impact she has had on the lives of everyone she came in contact with.  She was always found to be faithful and true to both God and herself.

Ashley temporarily leaves behind her daughter Emma, parents Kevin and Beth Mercereau, one sister Megan Huskey and husband John along with nephews Gideon and Levi, one brother Tyler Mercereau, a special maternal uncle and aunt Frank and Kathy Burkett, special friends Melanie Benson, Chris Ullery, and Jessica Beck, special cousin Amanda Cornette and husband Travis, and countless aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends too numerous to name.  She was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents Lewis and Peggy Burkett.

While it is difficult for us to have closure when things like this happen, Ashley made it explicitly clear that she did not want any sad gatherings, a funeral, or any other memorial type service.  Out of respect for these wishes, there will not be any services or memorials scheduled on her behalf.  Ashley wants to simply be remembered for who she is.  Please continue to memorialize, eulogize, and commemorate her life through your posts, texts, and social media as we all mourn this enormous loss together.

Memorial contributions may be made toward her daughter’s trust fund in c/o John Huskey P.O. Box 5282, Sevierville, TN 37864-5282.

Finally, we want to thank everyone with all our hearts for the overwhelming outpouring of love, care, prayers, kindness, visits, financial support, and many other deeds that people have done to bless Ashley and our family.  We can never express our full gratitude, begin to repay it, nor begin to express the full impact you have had on all of us; but rest assured, God has seen it, he knows what each one of you did, and he will reward you beyond measure for all your giving and the loving kindness that you have shown to one of his children.  If we took all the money and all the love that exists in this world and could send it to just one person, we could never even come close to outgiving the richness, love, peace, and mercy of God!

Announcement courtesy of Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service.



Wilma “Lynne” Morris Rees

September 27, 1938 – January 08, 2020

Wilma “Lynne” Morris Rees went to her heavenly home on Wednesday morning, January 08, 2020 at age 81 in Blowing Rock, NC. Preceded in death by her father and mother, W.L. Morris and Daisy Pyles, sister, Farris Turner, and husband Roy Rees, Lynne was a loving and joyous wife, mother, grandmother and friend. Most importantly, she loved Jesus with her whole heart.

Lynne is survived by two daughters, Annette Johnson Beeler and husband Jim, and Susan Ivel Johnson of Blowing Rock; her significant other, Gordon Skoog of Blowing Rock; her ex-husband, Preston Johnson of Blowing Rock; two granddaughters, Amber Holdridge and husband Cliff of Tahoka, TX, and Charissa Corbin and husband Matt of Franklin, NC; one grandson, Jay Grojean and wife Desiree of Spicewood, TX; and her great-grandchildren, Grace, Elijah, Anna and Hope Holdridge, Sadie and Josie Corbin, and Zoey and Jayden Grojean.

Lynne was a woman of incredible creativity, great faith, and contagious joy. She spent her years using her God-given talents to bless others. From classic clothing designs for her family, to professional home designs for the famous, she knew how to make each piece special, unique, and beautiful.

Lynne was an amazing cook. You could find her in the kitchen, humming to one of her favorite hymns, and creating a masterpiece. Her secret ingredient… butter! She always said, everything tastes better with butter.

Most of all, Lynne was joyful. She radiated Christ’s love in everything she did. No matter what season of life she was in, her faith was unwavering, her joy unmatched, and her beautiful smile always present.  

Funeral services for Wilma “Lynne” Morris Rees will be conducted Monday afternoon, January 13, 2020, at 2:00pm, at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church. The body will lie in state, at the church, from 1:00pm until 2:00pm. Officiating will be Pastor Bud Russell and Pastor Cliff Holdridge. Burial will follow in Woodlawn Cemetery in Blowing Rock.

The family will receive friends Sunday afternoon for visitation, January 12, 2020, from 3:00pm until 5:00pm, at Hampton Funeral Service.

Flowers are appreciated, or memorial contributions, may be made to Mount Vernon Baptist Church, 3505 Bamboo Road, Boone, North Carolina, 28607.

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

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



Regina Alford Howell

April 08, 1951 – January 12, 2020

Regina Alford Howell, age 68, of Wilson Lane, Boone, passed away Sunday morning, January 12, 2020, at her home.

She is survived by one son, Stewart Howell and wife Kristie; one daughter, Gina Howell and her significant other, Gregg Miller; her mother, Janice Kellum and husband Ward; two granddaughters, Courtney and Carolina Howell; one brother, Charles Alford and wife Pat; four brothers-in-law, Bobby Howell and wife Terry, Gene Howell and his significant other, Peggy, and Clark Howell and wife Judy, and one sister-in-law, Jeanette Sasser and husband Larry. She is also survived by a number of nieces, nephews, and cousins.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Victor Howell; her father, Charles P. Alford, and infant twins.

The family will receive friends Monday afternoon, January 13, 2020, from 5:30 until 7:00 o’clock, at Hampton Funeral Service. The family will also receive friends Tuesday evening, January 14, 2020, from 6:00 until 8:00 o’clock, at Seymore Funeral Home in Goldsboro. Graveside services burial will be conducted Wednesday afternoon, January 15, 2020, at 2:00 o’clock, in the Pikeville Cemetery in Pikeville, North Carolina.

Flowers are appreciated, or memorial contributions may be made to the Watauga County Rescue Squad, PO Box 3487, Boone, North Carolina, 28607.

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

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