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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – January 19, 2021

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

Barbara Helen Mizner
1925 – 2021

Barbara Helen (Godfrey) Mizner, 95, of Smyrna passed away peacefully on January 11, 2021 two days short of her 96th birthday. She was born on January 13, 1925 in Providence, RI. On June 7, 1947 she married Jack Mizner in Providence RI. Jack and Barbara moved their family to Georgia in 1961, where they lived until Jack’s passing in 2015. In 2016 Barbara moved to Boone, NC where she lived out her remaining years with two of her sons and family.

Barbara was an active member of the Smyrna community and was a frequent volunteer at schools, her neighborhood and church, Tillman Memorial. Barbara was dedicated to her family and friends. She never missed a birthday, anniversary or graduation and was always there to support them with kindness, conversation, food and, perhaps, a craft or two.

Barbara is preceded in death by her husband, Jack, son Bobby and sister Mary Briganti. Barbara is survived by three sons; Jack Jr. and wife Marilyn of Edgewood, NM, Bill of Boone, NC, and Jim and wife Elizabeth of Boone, NC. ; grandson Clayton of Boone, NC, sister Jean King of Kennesaw, GA, brother Bill Godfrey of Sugarland TX and numerous nieces and nephews.

Services for Barbara will be held later this year at Cheatham Hill Memorial Park in Marietta, GA. A separate announcement will be sent out when a date is scheduled. The family would like to extend a special thank you to Barbara’s caregivers.


Susie Miller
1929 – 2021

On the evening of January 11, Susie Miller, age 91, of Boone, NC, passed away at home in her sleep, with her son at her side. With one final breath, the world lost a beautiful, precious vibrant spirit. Within minutes, friends who loved, cherished, and respected her, gathered around her to express their gratitude for the joy this lovely lady had brought into their lives.

Susie was known for her outgoing, engaging personality, and he ability to connect with anyone on a warm, personal level. Rather than talking about her religious beliefs, she practiced them daily, treating everyone she met with kindness, non judgment and respect. This endeared her to people of all ages and all walks of life. She became a “grandmother’ to the college boys who lived in the condo above her. She loved preparing dinner for them, and passing along her sage advice as they confided in her about their troubles. She was just as at ease with these college students as she was chatting and laughing with her senior friends.

A native of Elkin, NC, Susie graduated from Elkin High School, then refined her secretarial skills at a business school in High Point. She married Roy Milan, also from Elkin, and subsequently had three sons, to whom she devoted the remainder of her life. In addition to her role as mother, Susie worked as executive secretary of Hugh Chatham of Chatham Manufacturing Company.

After living the first fifty years of her life in Elkin, Susie moved to Boone, where she married Dr. Fred Miller. It was a happy marriage, and the love they shared was obvious to anyone they encountered. For years, Susie and Fred split their time between Boone and Emerald Isle, where she developed a passion for pier fishing. But her greatest passion was spending time with her family and friends. She dearly loved being with her numerous close friends, just chatting, sharing stories and laughing. She was a devotee of App State Football, and an avid fan of the Atlanta Braves.

After Fred’s death in 2009, Susie spent her remaining years living independently in her condo in Boone, seeing her friends daily right up until the end. In the weeks before her death, her dear friends, Kay Blackburn, Susan Sage, Jeanne Tayloe and Lynn Clayborn, provided her with special care. Hers was a life well lived. The times of sorrow were greatly outweighed by her lust for life and the love of family and friends. She died at home, in her sleep, in the loving presence of her son and her devoted friends. Isn’t that what we all would wish for?

Susie was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Fred Miller, and by her two younger sons Bill Milan and Tommy Milan. She is survived by her eldest son, Bob Milan and wife Kathy of Greensboro, her sister Mary Lee Roberts of Winston-Salem, her grandson Craig Milan and wife Cindy of Union Grove, granddaughters Alexa Milan Boschini of Greensboro, Joy Milan Dixon of Elkin and Lori Milan Pendry of Elkin and five great grandchildren, brother-in-law, Joe Miller and wife Linda of Boone, and sister-in-law Donna Miller. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Susie’s name to the High Country United Church of Christ.

Online condolences may be shared with the family of Susie Miller at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com Austin and Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the family.


Willie Dean Sesco
1964 – 2021

Willie Dean Sesco, age 56, of Tom Jackson Road, Boone, passed away Monday, January 11, 2021 at his home. Born May 19, 1964 in West Branch, Michigan, he was a son of William and Karen Gilson Sesco. Willie loved worshiping with his church family at Mountain View Baptist Church. He was employed by Ice Incorporated in Minnesota and enjoyed traveling the entire country installing refrigeration equipment for the company. When at home, he loved spending quality time with his family and friends hosting holiday cookouts, camping, or fresh water fishing.

Willie is survived by his wife, Cathy Critcher Sesco; son of Karen Sesco; brother of Shaun Coleman and Terri Sesco; father of Kelly Richardson, Tabatha North, Charles Proffitt, Randy Pack, Travis and April Sesco and Sarah Kelly; and grandfather of fifteen grandchildren. He is also survived by his special friends, Jimmy Neal, Coty Merchant and Brian More. Willie was preceded in death by his father, William Sesco.

Memorial services will be conducted Thursday afternoon, January l4, 2021 at 1 o’clock at Mountain View Baptist Church in Deep Gap, officiated by Pastor Mike Barfoot.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the family to assist with ongoing expenses.

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


Jack Woodrow Winebarger
1942 – 2021

Jack Woodrow Winebarger, age 78, of Highway 194 North, Boone, passed away Monday morning, January 11, 2021 at Watauga Medical Center. Born June 30, 1942 in Watauga County, Jack was a son of Rev. Woodrow Wilson Winebarger and Geneva Proffit Winebarger. He attended Meat Camp Assembly of God Church in the Meat Camp community. Jack was a lumber worker all of his life. He thoroughly enjoyed spending his spare time at the Boone Mall visiting old friends and making new friends.

Jack is survived by his brother, Roger Winebarger and wife, Shirley, and sister, Sandra Winebarger Proffit, all of Yadkinville; nieces, Nancy Winebarger of Los Angeles, CA, Margie Keyantash and husband, John, of Long Beach, CA, and Penny Freeland of Yadkinville; and nephews, James Proffit III and John Proffit, both of Yadkinville; and, a great-nephew and two great-nieces. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by an infant sister, Mary Emma Winebarger; and a brother-in-law, James Proffit, Jr.

Funeral services for Jack Winebarger will be conducted Friday, January 15th, at 1:00 P.M. at the Austin & Barnes Funeral Chapel, officiated by Pastor Jerry Moretz. Graveside services will follow at Mount Lawn Memorial Park & Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to a charity of the donor’s choice. Online condolences may be shared at austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Winebarger family.


Martha Mary Ward
1925 – 2021

Martha Mary Presnell Ward, age 95 of Sugar Grove, passed away Thursday, January 14, 2021, at home with her family by her side.

She was a native and lifelong resident of Watauga County and the daughter of the late Filmore Presnell and Sabrah Bell Ward Presnell.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband William Blaine Ward in 2007, a granddaughter, Diana Lynn Ward, and three brothers and two sisters.

She is survived by three daughters; Sandra Ann Pennell, Caroline Ward and Tina Ward all of Sugar Grove; five sons; Hubert Ward, Arthur Ward and wife Debbie, James Ward and wife Linda, and Richard Ward, all of Sugar Grove, and Tommy Ward of Tennessee; two brothers; Harvey Presnell and wife Anita, and Bennie Presnell and wife Hattie all of Banner Elk.

Thirteen grandchildren, fourteen great grandchildren, and four great great grandchildren also survive.

Graveside services will be held at a later date. Friends may visit the family at their home on Northside Drive in Sugar Grove

Memorial donations may be made to Medi-Home Hospice, 400 Shadowline Drive, Suite 100-B, Boone, North Carolina 28607.

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

Samuel Adam “Sammy” Critcher
1940 – 2021

Remember this name. Samuel Adam Critcher (Sammy). A Husband, Dad, PawPaw, Son, Brother, Uncle and Friend. Sam’s light began to shine on February 6, 1940 in Bamboo, NC and since that day he has shared his light and love of life with all the folks he knew and met. Sammy never met a stranger and loved meeting new people whether it was selling cabbage, a Christmas Tree or giving someone a ride to be up a rent a car. He loved to have a good time and laugh but most of all, he loved to WORK. Sammy was always willing to help others and he saw the good in others. There are not adequate words to describe how much he loved his family.

Sammy is survived by his wife of 57 years, Gloria Critcher, sons Anthony Critcher and Barry Critcher; several grandchildren and great grandchildren. He is also survived by several brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews.

Sammy was preceded in death by his son Michael Todd Critcher who he missed dearly.

A private service and celebration of life will be shared by his immediate family at Austin & Barnes Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers the family request a memorial donation to Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, 3505 Bamboo Road, Boone, NC 28607 or at https://www.mvbcb.org or to Medi Home Health & Hospice, Ashe County, 1877 NC-163, West Jefferson, NC 28694.

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

Robert Kent Sluder
1956 – 2021

Robert ‘Bob’ Sluder, age 65, of Seven Devils, passed away Sunday evening, January 17, 2021 at his home.

Bob is survived by his wife, Miranda; his daughter, Melissa White and husband, Kevin; two sons, Keith Barker and David Barker and wife, Amy; two brothers, Joe and Rick Sluder; and one sister, Elizabeth McCay. He is also survived by six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a number of nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, Tommy K and Pauline Beck Sluder, he was preceded in death by a brother, Jerry Dean Sluder.

A private memorial service for Bob will be held at a later date.

The family is greatly appreciative of the care given by Medi Home Hospice

n lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the family to assist with ongoing expenses.

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


Baxter Farthing

December 02, 1926 – January 12, 2021

Baxter Farthing, longtime resident of Manassas, Virginia, died peacefully on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.

Baxter was born on December 2, 1926 in the Sugar Grove Community of Watauga County, North Carolina. He was the son of the late Dixie Glenn and Benjamin W. Farthing.

Shortly after graduating from Cove Creek High School in 1944, Baxter moved to Cleveland, Ohio where he spent six months working at a defense plant making materials for use in WWII. While in Cleveland, he learned several trade skills including welding.

Upon turning 18 in December 1944, Baxter followed in his older brothers’ footsteps by enlisting in the U.S. Navy. His ship, the light cruiser U.S.S. Amsterdam (CL-101), was about to deploy to the western Pacific when Japan surrendered in 1945. He worked as a welder aboard the ship doing repairs and other duties. After being honorably discharged in July 1946, he returned to Watauga County and assisted his father on the family farm, where again he used his welding skills to design and build metal gates and wagons, some of which he sold to other farmers in the community.

He met his wife Reba Cook in 1957, and the couple married in January 1958. Soon thereafter, they moved from North Carolina to northern Virginia where he worked in construction for about the next ten years. After starting his career as a realtor in the late 1960s, he co-founded and ran a successful real estate business where he specialized in land sales primarily in Prince William and Fauquier counties.

Baxter and Reba had three lovely daughters, one of whom tragically died at the age of five. By 2003, they had been blessed with two beautiful granddaughters, whom they cherished.

He was always an avid NASCAR race fan, attending many races all along the East Coast over the years. In addition, he enjoyed listening to traditional Bluegrass and Western Swing music and dancing to Country Music.

Beginning in the late 1980s after Baxter’s retirement, he and Reba spent their time traveling across North America in their RV. He loved filming his travels, editing the videos, and sharing them with family and friends. As a family historian, he took pride in researching and documenting family history which he shared at family reunions. Together Baxter and Reba also volunteered their time by helping others in the Manassas area through delivering Meals on Wheels for eleven years.

Baxter is survived by two daughters, Rachel Farthing and Patricia Farthing Frisby, her husband Robert, and granddaughters Laura and Caroline Frisby, all of Bristow, Virginia. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Agnes Farthing of Colfax, North Carolina, along with a number of nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife Reba in 2019, their daughter Glenda Carole Farthing in 1968, and seven siblings: Frances Farthing, Laura Farthing Church, Raymond, Wheeler, Louis, and twins Benjamin and Dixie Farthing Huff.

A graveside funeral service will be held outside of the Rose Chapel at Mount Lawn Cemetery in Boone, North Carolina on Tuesday, January 19 at 11:00 a.m. A Celebration of Life will be planned at a later date due to the pandemic.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Baxter’s memory to his family church- Valle Crucis United Methodist Church (2945 Broadstone Road, Banner Elk, NC 28604), Samaritan’s Purse at https://www.samaritanspurse.org, or to the charity of your choice.

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


Neiola Catherine Miller

January 17, 1948 – January 13, 2021

Neiola Catherine Miller, age 72, of Coy Miller Road, Boone, passed away Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at her residence.

She is survived by one son, Sean Bulluck and wife Ashley of Marion, North Carolina; two brothers, Collin Miller and wife Tina of Raleigh North Carolina and Leland Miller of Raleigh, North Carolina. She is also survived by eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her father and mother, Arlie Hill Miller and Martha Inez Miller, one brother, Dwight Miller and one sister, Deanna Miller.

The family will receive friends Sunday, January 17, 2021 from 4 until 6 at Hampton Funeral Home Chapel.

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

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


Cecil Monroe Greene

March 31, 1927 – January 15, 2021

Cecil Monroe Greene, age 93, of Daniel Boone Drive Ext., Boone passed away Friday, January 15, 2021 at Watauga Medical Center.

He is survived by two daughters, Terri Greene Langdon of Boone and JoAnn Greene Phillips and husband Robert, two sons, David C. Greene and wife Robin and Steven P. Greene all of Boone; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He is also survived by a number of nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Clyde Ray Greene and Gertrude Plyler Greene, one brother and three sisters.

A private family service will be conducted.

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

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

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


Linda G. Freeman

September 18, 1951 – January 15, 2021

Linda Phillips Freeman, age 69, of Blowing Rock, passed away Friday, January 15, 2021 at Watauga Medical Center.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be announced.

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

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


Josh Ellis Greene

March 21, 1972 – January 16, 2021

 Josh Ellis Greene, age 48, of Boone, passed away Saturday, January 16, 2021 in Caldwell Memorial Hospital in Lenoir.  Josh was born March 21, 1972 in Watauga County.

Josh was an active member of First Baptist Church in Blowing Rock where he served on the worship team.  He was an operator with Boone Lumber Company but more than anything, Josh was known for having the biggest, loving and giving heart of anyone.

He is survived by his son, Joshua Cooper Greene of Boone; his parents, Johnny Ellis and Barbara Lennis Coffey Greene of Boone, his brother, John Sidney Greene and wife Lauren of Boone and his nieces and nephews, Kati Mac, Madi, Jake, Camryn and Emmy and his dearest friend, Leigh Ann Byrd of Blowing Rock.

A service celebrating Josh’s life will be held in March. 

The family has requested no food or flowers be sent.  Any condolences may be sent to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Greene, 476 Circle Drive, Boone, NC 28607.  In lieu of any gifts, please send all contributions to Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Hospital to help other families affected by COVID-19.  Please give by going to www.samaritanspurse.org or PO Box 3000, Boone, NC  28607. 

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

Hampton Funeral and Cremation Services of Boone are in charge of the arrangement

David William Harding
October 16, 1936 – January 14, 2021

David William Harding, age 84, of Pineola, North Carolina passed away on Thursday, January 14, 2021 at his daughters residence in Crossnore.
He was born on October 16, 1936 in Avery County, North Carolina, a son of the late Carl Henry Harding and the late Lillian Woody Harding.
David attended Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk and was a member of the College Quartet. He owned and operated the Harding Evergreen Nursery for over 50 years and was a faithful member of the Higher Ground Church of God in Pineola where he served as the Church Clerk for 34 years and was very active as a Worship Leader. David loved the Lord, his church and his family. He was a hardworking Christian man who enjoyed Southern Gospel Music, hunting and spending time with his family.
David leaves behind to cherish his memory his: Wife, Linda Fox Harding; Daughter, Chantae (Phillip) Johnson of Crossnore, NC, Step Son, William “Jim” (Christa) Griffin of Hickory, NC, Brother, Michael Harding of Pineola, NC, Sister, Jean Harding of Spruce Pine, NC and several nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorials should be made to Medi Home Hospice PO Box 1357 Newland, NC 28657.
Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Harding family by visiting our website www.rsfh.net
The care of David and his family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.