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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – January 5, 2021

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

Vertie Watson
1950 – 2020

Vertie Greene Watson entered her eternal rest on Monday December, 28, 2020 surrounded by her family. Ms. Vertie was born on July 26, 1950 and was gifted to Ruth and Erney Greene to love and cherish. She married the love of her life, Rev. Gary Watson on October 28, 1967. They enjoyed 53 years together and raised a family built on their faith in Jesus Christ. They served in many pastorates and sought to tell others about Christ’s love. They served seven churches during their ministry and were at Tabernacle Baptist Church for 30 years.

Ms. Vertie is survived by her husband, Gary W. Watson, Sr.; one son, Gary Wayne Watson and wife Donna; her beloved grandsons Jason and Dustin along with their wives and children; one daughter, Andrea Anderson and husband Patrick, and the second love of her life, grandson Jackson.

Ms. Vertie was the pied piper of young children; wherever she was children were drawn to her. She also leaves behind many, many friends who laughed and cried with her. In the last years of her life, she faced many health issues but took them on with faith, grace, and the help of her friends and family. She leaned upon her sister, Veronia Parsons and brother, Barry Greene. But the greatest gift in her later years were her girlfriends known as the Steel Magnolias, Marsha, Mary, Shirley, Reba, and Christine. She also loved Darlene who she could call at any time for a word of encouragement.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday May, 1, 2021. Ms. Vertie didn’t care for the cold weather, so we will honor her by waiting until a time we can be together and enjoy the warm air.

The family would like to thank all those who took care of Ms. Vertie since her health started to decline. We thank you for your kindness and hope you were blessed by her sassiness and warm heartedness.

Memorials may be made to The Children’s Council of Watauga County, 225 Birch Street, Suite 3, Boone, NC 20607 or to Tabernacle Baptist Church, c/o Judy Hampton, 3004 North Pine Run Road, Boone, NC 28607.

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

Gary Lane Cook
1949 – 2021

Gary Lane Cook, age 71, of Watauga River Road, Sugar Grove, passed away Monday morning, January 4, 2021 at Watauga Medical Center. Born March 20, 1949 in Watauga County, he was a son of Thomas and Elizabeth Snyder Cook. Gary was a member and Deacon of Westview Baptist Church. After graduating from Watauga High School in 1967, he began his career at the NC Department of Transportation, retiring as a maintenance supervisor. Gary loved spending time with his family. He looked forward to participating in the annual Mule Days festivals and enjoyed searching for bargains at flea markets and yard sales.

Gary is survived by his wife of 52 years, Donna Townsend Cook; daughter, Gina Cook Thomas and husband, Wayne, of Meadowview, VA; son, Aaron Cook and wife, Carol B. of Boone; grandchildren, Micah Thomas and wife, Amanda, of Abingdon, Va., Isaiah Thomas and wife, Tori, of Meadowview, VA, Seth Thomas and wife, Sierra, of Abingdon, VA, Rebekah Cook of ETSU, Johnson City, TN, and JohnThomas Cook and Elizabeth Cook, both of Boone; great-granddaughter, Tatum Thomas; sisters, Faye Yates of Vilas, Jean Taylor of Mt. Airy, and Lula Belle Parrish of Vero Beach, FL; brother, Larry Cook and wife, Arlene, of Boone; sister-in-law, Carolyn Stophel and husband, Harvey, of Ruffin, NC; and Michael Townsend and wife, Sandra, of Boone. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, John Cook.

Graveside services for Gary Cook will be conducted Wednesday afternoon, January 6, 2021 at 2 o’clock at the Westview Baptist Church Cemetery, officiated by Pastor Brad Swift and Rev. Michael Townsend. The family requests those attending please wear a mask and observe social distancing. Friends may call at Austin & Barnes Funeral Home on Wednesday from 9 AM until 1 PM to pay respects and sign a guest register book.

Memorials may be made to the Westview Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, 692 Highway 105 Bypass, Boone, NC 28607.

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


Robert Berry Hughes

April 23, 1969 – December 26, 2020

Robert Berry Hughes, 51 of Hickory, formerly of Boone NC, gained his angel wings Saturday December 26, 2020. He was surrounded by family, following a brief illness. Robbie, was born on April, 23, 1969, in Watauga County he was the son of Nancy Shull Berry and the Late Robert “Bobby” ” Blackberry” Dean Berry Sr. of Boone. In addition to his parents, he was proceeded in death by his Maternal Grandparents Fred, and Jettie Marelle Ward Shull, and his Paternal grandparents Dink, and Blanche Shoemake Berry, 4 Uncles Phil , Billy and Jerry Shull, and JD Franklin and 2 special Cousins Ellis Parlier and Elisha Hicks

Robbie was a 1987 Graduate of Watauga High, he was part owner of Whiteners Florist of Mountain View and a Member of First United Methodist Church of Hickory, where we was very active with the Table of Grace, The Warming Station, Served on several Kitchen Teams, and a Member of The Vine Praise Band. He was a former board member of Casting Bread Ministries, where he often cooked in the soup kitchen. Robbie had a big compassionate heart for the senior citizens, the homeless, and he never met a stranger. He will be missed by his family and many friends.

Survivors in addition to his mother, his husband Mike Hughes of the home, 2 daughters Lindsey Hughes Buff (Joshua) of Vale Linda Duffield, (Jimmy) of Granite Falls, a son Mike Hughes (Kelli) of Denver. A granddaughter Maddie Hughes, of Hickory 2 grandsons TJ Hughes of Denver and Austin Hughes of Hickory; his Special Sister Joanna (JoJo) of Boone. A Brother Phil (Christy) Berry of Maiden; 2 Brother in laws David Hughes, and Tommy Hughes (Shelley) of Hickory; a sister in law Kay Mashburn (Eddie) of Hickory. 2 Special nieces Savannah Berry , and Jettie Lee Hicks and nephews Caleb Hicks, Dallas Hughes and Josh Null (Brittany) 4 Aunts Verdola Coffey of Granite Falls, Gloria Parlier, Maxie Franklin and Pat Shores of Boone. Many Cousins, friends and special fur babies Reggie and Bella.

A Celebration of Life Service will be Held 2pm Thursday December 31, 2020 at First United Methodist Church of Hickory, Officiated by the Rev. Paul Christy, Rev. Jennifer Forrester, Rev Troy Howard. He will lie in state 1 hour prior to the service. Mask and Social distancing are Required. Service will be livestreamed on First United Methodist of Hickory, Facebook page. The Body will lie in State on Wednesday December 30, 2020 at Hickory Funeral Home from 12pm to 5pm. A grave side service will be held at 2pm on January 9, 2021 at Mt. Lawn Cemetery in Boone, officiating will be Rev. Ben Carson, and Rev. Kyle Sigmon. Memorials may be made to The Table of Grace C/O First United Methodist Church of Hickory 311 3rd Avenue NE Hickory NC 28601 The Hughes Family is under the professional care of Hickory Funeral Home 1031 11th Avenue Blvd SE Hickory NC 28602. Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of the local arrangements.


Odleen Wallace Perry

December 15, 1924 – December 27, 2020

Odleen Wallace Perry, age 96, of Banner Elk passed away Sunday, December 27, 2020 in Visalia, California.

She was born December 15, 1924 in Watauga county to the late James H. Wallace and Minnie Lee Baird Wallace. 

She is survived by two daughters, Linda Kay Harrison and husband Michael of Tulare, California and Kim Palmisano and husband Stephen of Greensboro, North Carolina; one son Robert L. Perry and wife Leslie of Nibley, Utah; eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

In addition to her father and mother she was preceded in death by her husband Robert Lee Perry, one daughter Teresa Mecham and six brothers and five sisters.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be announced.

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

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


Betty Lou McManus Nichols

July 14, 1936 – December 30, 2020

Betty Lou McManus Nichols, of Bangor Maine passed away peacefully on Wednesday evening December 30th 2020 at Winterberry Heights, following a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Born Betty Lou Eudy in Wadesboro, NC to Jada Ucal Eudy and Sarah Morton Presson. After the death of her mother, Sarah, Betty was adopted by her aunt, Lydia Elizabeth Presson McManus and William McManus.

Betty is best known for her passion, her full of life energy, her generosity, her kindness and her lifelong advocacy for others. She was a leader, innovator, educator and caring person. In a toast she shared at her son Dee’s wedding she spoke these words of wisdom “Keep the ‘L’ words in your marriage: Love, Laugh, Learn and Live life to its fullest.” These words capture the essence of how Betty lived her life.

Betty, a career educator attained an AB Degree in Early Childhood (Lenoir Rhyne), a Masters in Reading with a Concentration in Learning Disabilities (Appalachian State University), a Certification in Supervision and Certification of Administration (University of North Carolina Charlotte), and two Educational Specialist Degrees in Supervision-Curriculum and Instruction and Certification of Administration (Appalachian State University). Betty’s long career in education began in 1957 where she was a First and Second grade teacher at Mulberry Street Elementary School in Statesville, NC. She also taught at Davie Avenue School, Brookwood School, and Pressley Elementary School in Statesville, NC. In addition to teaching 1st and 2nd Grades, Betty also was a Title 1 Reading Teacher (Mulberry School), Remedial Reading teacher (N.B. Mills School), School Based Reading Coordinator (Northview Elementary), and K-12 Reading Coordinator (Statesville City Schools). Beginning in 1984, Betty moved into administrative positions and was Principal at Mulberry Elementary School (Statesville), Principal at Cove Creek Elementary School (Sugar Grove, NC) and after a brief retirement returned as Assistant Principal at Parkview Elementary (Mooresville). In addition, Betty was also an Instructor and Student Teaching Supervisor for Appalachian State University, Lees McRae, Lenoir Rhyne and Western Carolina University.

Betty also lived a life committed to service and outreach and served as president and a member of the state board of directors of the regional council of the International Reading Association, District and State of NC President for the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Betty received a wide range of honors and awards throughout her very distinguished career as an educator. Of the many awards, her family most fondly remembers all of her recognition for her significant contributions to the Reading is Fundamental program.

Betty was married to the late William Jerry Nichols. Betty is survived by her 3 children, Sharon Lane Nichols Caputo (Myrtle Beach, SC), William Dee Nichols and wife Janet Kliem Nichols (Bangor, ME), and Jason Jonathan Nichols (Bangor, ME). Betty is also

survived by her grandchildren Nick Etheridge, Zach Etheridge, (Sharon) Annalyse Cole Nichols, Addison Grace Nichols, Autumn Jade Nichols (William) and Eijah Ryan Nichols (Jason).

After Jerry’s death in 1993, Betty spent wonderful years with Rudolph Michael Ferrante traveling the world and residing in Huntersville, NC and Murrells Inlet SC. Upon Michael’s death in 2014, Betty spent her remaining years in Bangor Maine with her two sons and her four young grandchildren.

The family will be holding a spatially distant and Covid-19 compliant graveside service Monday January 4, 2021 at 11:00 o’clock at Mount Lawn Memorial Park and Gardens in Boone, NC. where she will be placed to rest beside her husband, William Jerry Nichols. Pastor Lory Beth Huffman will officiate.

In lieu of flowers please donate to Alzheimer’s foundation https://www.alz.org/ or local Ronald McDonald house https://rmhcmaine.org/

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

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


Edward Lloyd Aycock

January 23, 1923 – December 27, 2020

Edward Lloyd “Ed” Aycock, 97, of Jefferson, NC died Sunday, December 27, 2020, at Caldwell Hospice & Palliative Care in Lenoir, NC. A native and longtime resident of Carrollton, Ga., he was the son of Thomas J. “Jack” and Emma Lee Kytle Aycock, who were lifelong residents of Carrollton. He was raised in the Dixie Street family home with two brothers who preceded him in death: Thomas J. “Jack” Aycock Jr. and Joseph C.”Joe” Aycock.

Ed attained the rank of Eagle Scout while attending school in Carrollton. He graduated from Carrollton High and attended West Georgia College before enlisting in the U.S. Army during World War II, where he served in campaigns in Northern France, the Rhineland and Central Europe. After the war, he received an honorable discharge.

Ed attended the University of Georgia, Atlanta Division, graduating with a degree in business administration. He was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.

He operated a retail business in Newnan, Ga., and a gift shop after moving to Orlando, Fla. Afterward, he served with the U.S. Postal Service in Maitland, Fla., retiring after 20 years of service in 1986.

Survivors include four children, Susan Webb and husband Jerry of Bethlehem, Ga., Becky Million and husband Ron of Boone, NC., Edward L. “Ted” Aycock Jr. and wife Dianna of Vancouver, Wash., and Thomas H. “Tom” Aycock and wife Melanie of Homestead, Fla.; nine grandchildren, Kim Baskerville and husband Dan of Decatur, Ga., Diana LaBarbera and husband Dominic of Statham, Ga., Lee Million and wife Marissa of Deep Gap,NC; Isaac Million and fiancée Brittany Bingham of Belmont,NC; Denny Shover, Diane Shover and Kerry Seifert, all of Vancouver, Wash., Thomas H. Aycock Jr. of Blountstown, Fla., and Austin Aycock of Tallahassee, Fla.; nine great-grandchildren, Bryce and Owen Correll, Jake Baskerville, Peyton and Brody Million, Kyle and Kierstyn Briggs, Daniel Martin, and Lexi Price; one great-great-grandchild, Savannah Briggs; and several nieces and nephews.

A graveside service with military honors will be held at a future date. The family requests no flowers. Memorial contributions may be made to Samaritan’s Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, N.C. 28607, or Boy Scout Troop 100, c/o Dennis Winebarger, P.O. Box 508, Boone, N.C. 28607. Messages of condolence may be sent to the family at 811 Chestnut Knob Rd., Boone, N.C. 28607.

Online condolences may be sent to the Aycock Family at www.hamptonfuneralservicenc.com.  Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service of Boone is in charge of arrangements.

Danny Lane Pritchard
April 19, 1953 – December 25, 2020

Danny Lane Pritchard, age 67, of Elk Park, North Carolina left this world late on Friday, December 25, 2020 at Watauga Medical Center in Boone, NC after a long battle with leukemia and other major illnesses for the last 10 years.
He was born on April 19, 1953 in Avery County, North Carolina, a son of Nicola Turbyfill Pritchard of Elk Park and the late Harold Pritchard.
Danny had worked on his last job, building dollar stores across the southeast. He was a hard working man who found his peace with farm animals or working the land. He was a very faithful friend and mighty protective of his friends and family.
He was very giving to those less fortunate and would literally give the shirt off his back, or the shoes on his feet, it has been said, he literally did that more than a few times.
Although he was not well for the last decade, he was always there for his ailing mother right up until the end.
In addition to his mother, Danny leaves behind to cherish his memory his: Daughter, Brittany (Kevin) Pritchard of Johnson City, TN, Son, Daniel Pritchard of Elk Park, NC; Sister, Vera (Louis) Buck of Elk Park, NC, Brother, Steven Pritchard of Banner Elk , NC; grandchildren, Kelise, Kymiah and Kyzere of Johnson City, TN; Nephews, Toby (April) Pritchard of Banner Elk, Jordan (Destiny) Buck of Roan Mtn., TN, Logan (Jessica) Buck of Roan Mtn., TN; great niece, Kendall Buck; great nephews, Lucas Buck and Karson Arnett; Special Nurse Regina Rhodes; Best friend, Billy Doyle.
A celebration of Danny’s life will be held late in the Spring.
Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Pritchard family by visiting our website www.rsfh.net
The care of Danny and his family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.

Shelia Jeannie Sparks
November 30, 1965 – December 28, 2020

Sheila Jeannie Sparks, age 55, of Minneapolis, North Carolina passed away on Monday, December 28, 2020 at her residence.
She was born on November 30, 1965 in Bangor, Maine, a daughter of the late Frederick D. Sparks and the late Dixie Buchanan Sparks.
Jeannie was a homemaker who had worked for US Textiles for over 10 years. She was a member of the McCoury’s Rock Baptist Church.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her Brother, David Sparks; Sister, Shirl Vance.
A loving mother and grandmother, she leaves behind to cherish her memory her Daughter, Leeanna (Reid Carraway) Sparks of Jonas Ridge, NC, Daughter, Erin Sparks of Minneapolis, NC, Grandchildren, Zoey, Zaiden and Zadalea Sparks; Sister, Debra (JB) Grindstaff of Minneapolis; Brother in Law, Cecil Vance of Minneapolis; Nieces and nephews: Jamey Hamby, James Grindstaff, Matthew Grindstaff, Leslie Johnson, Shelli and Freddie Bowers, Amy King and Brian Sparks; dear friend, C.J. Benfield; grand nieces, Alecia and Ashlie Yoder.
The family would like to offer their sincere appreciation and thanks to Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care for the loving care and support they have provided and Hope Chest and the Hope Center in Asheville.
A celebration of Jeannie’s life will be held at a later date.
Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Sparks family by visiting our website www.rsfh.net
The care of Jeannie and her family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.

Margaret Willadene Carpenter
August 18, 1939 – January 1, 2021

Margaret Willadene Carpenter, age 81 of Newland, passed away Friday, January 1, 2021 at Care Partners in Asheville. She was born on August 18, 1939 in Avery County to the late Margaret Harriett Haga Whittington. In addition to her mother, she was preceded in death by her husband Melvin Carpenter; granddaughter, Natasha Carpenter; great grandson, Tucker Carpenter; and brothers, Dick, Don, Wes, and Larry.

Margaret was a member and attended Stamey Town Baptist Church. She was a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother and great great grandmother and enjoyed spending as much time with her family as she could. Margaret also enjoyed reading books, quilting and cross stitching.

Those left to cherish her memory are her children, Greg (Revonda) Carpenter of Bakersville, Kelly (Kelly) Carpenter of Supply, Scott (Renee) Carpenter of Elk Park, Robbie (Darlene) Carpenter of Altamont, Missy (Clay) Waycaster of Newland, and Wesley (Apryl) of Roan Mountain ; fourteen grandchildren, Allen, Jeremy (Ashley), Courtney (Caleb), Dani, Chantae (Shawn), TC (Brandy), Matt (Michelle), Brooke (John), Cody (Allie), Logan, JC (Jordan), Jessie (Jake), Connor, and Carson; twenty-two great grandchildren, Claire, Hadley, Harley, Caylee-Mae, Anna, Lane, Grayson, Katie, Dayton, Lottie, Athen, A.J., Sarah, Kolten, Blake, Violet, Tennlie, Easton, Ryder, Corbin, Emma, and Ollie; two great great grandchildren, Elijah and Levi; one brother, Bill (Doris) Whittington of Jasper, IN.

A graveside service will be held on Monday, January 4, 2021 at 2:00 PM at the Stamey Town Cemetery with Pastor Clay Waycaster officiating.

Flowers are welcomed or donations may be made to Avery County Education Foundation, Attention: Feeding Assistance Program, 775 Cranberry Street, Newland, NC 28657.

Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Carpenter family by visiting our website www.rsfh.net <http://www.rsfh.net/>;