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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – July 21, 2020

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

Charles Lewis Radcliffe
1926 – 2020

Mr. Charles Lewis Radcliffe, age 93, of Newland, North Carolina passed away at his home Monday morning, July 13, 2020.

He was born October 30, 1926 in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Charles began 39 years in law enforcement. He attended the North Carolina State Highway Patrol School at the Institute of Government in Chapel Hill in 1950. He spent 13 years with the patrol stationed in Mitchell County. In 1963 he began work as an investigator with the National Automobile Theft Bureau. He concluded his career as a fraud investigator with the North Carolina Department of Insurance.

He was preceded in death by two sisters and one brother.

Charles is survived by his wife of 47 years, Amanda Allen, two sons, Greg Radcliffe, (Liz), Charles Radcliffe (Lori Beth), two daughters, Sherry Jefferys (Jeff), and Kim Radcliffe. Two grandchildren, Caroline and Jordyn Radcliffe also survive.

A private burial will be held at Oak Grove Cemetery in Marion, North Carolina.

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

Max Edwin Gregory
1931 – 2020

Dr. Max Edwin Gregory was born on January 14, 1931 and died on July 15, 2020 in Blowing Rock, NC.

Dr. Gregory was born and grew up in Yorkville, TN. After graduating from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, he spent his professional life in North Carolina. His first job was at Ohio State University where he was a professor on the O.S.U. Faculty. During the three years in Columbus, two of their children were born. Dr. Gregory is survived by his wife, Ellen McLeary Gregory and two sons, Dr. Randall J Gregory (Liz) of Winston-Salem, NC, and Dr. J Lewis Gregory (Aixa) of Fraser, CO. Dr. Gregory is also survived by four grandchildren: Steven Tyler Gregory of Ames, IA, Michael Ryan Gregory of Winston-Salem, NC, Jake Thomas Gregory of Atlanta, GA and Madeline Louise Gregory of San Francisco, CA, and two nieces; Mrs. Roseanne Spain (Don) of Knoxville, TN, and Mrs. Kathy Vaughan (Gere) of Hendersonville, TN, and a special friend, Gayle Miller.

He was preceded in death by one daughter, Miss Robbie Sue Gregory of Raleigh, NC; father, Maurice J. Gregory and his mother, Robyn Jones Gregory; a sister, Anna Lois Kuykendell, and brother-in-law, Lloyd Kuykendell of Yorkville, TN. Dr. Gregory and the love of his life, Ellen McLeary Gregory, were married in June of 1954. They enjoyed 66 wonderful years of marriage. Their relationship with their children and grandchildren was very close with lots of “I love you” throughout those many years.

Dr. Gregory spent much of his life in the academic community; however, over the years, he stayed connected with friends and family in Yorkville, TN. He grew up in the Hopewell Community near Yorkville, but Hopewell ceased to exist in the 1950’s. Yorkville also ceased to exist by the 1990’s; however, Yorkville community leaders were determined to bring back attention to Yorkville. They devised what appeared to be a far-fetched plan of action.

They recalled in the 1930’s that locals enjoyed washer pitch’in’. It was a game that required skill, but it was competitive and imparted good fellowship. Community leaders believed that washer pitch’in’ could help in reviving Yorkville

Dr. Gregory attended the initial planning to establish a tournament for washer pitch’in’. The committee established a name for the tournament: “The International Washer Pitch’in’ Tournament.”

The first competition was held in 1994 with over 2,000 washer pitch’in’ enthusiasts in attendance

Over the years, hundreds of individuals have participated in the competition and thousands have attended to watch the competition and relish in good fellowship. “The International Washer Pitch’in’ Tournament” has put Yorkville on the map as the most prestigious tournaments of its kind in the country. Dr. Gregory participated in the tournament for 19 years and was a finalist (1st or 2nd place) eight times. In the 1970’s, Dr. Gregory authored five novels and numerous short stories. In the prologue of his novels in the 1970’s, Dr. Gregory wrote his personal statement regarding his background in the section –”About the Writer

About the Writer:

“In a country of ‘Bull-Durham’ roll you owns and ‘Day’s Works’ chewing tobacco, I was born in the cotton country of West Tennessee in 1931. My home in Hopewell, consisting of my Dad’s store, a tilted school house, and a wood-pecker decorated Methodist Church, was located about half-way between the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers.

My vocation during those testing depression years was picking and chopping cotton and helping in my Dad’s country store. My greatest accomplishment, without a doubt, was picking 400 pounds of cotton a day. Hanging around a country store and listening to all the local folklore made a lasting impression on me. Hopewell made ‘God’s Little Acre’ look like the Kennedy Center. I spent my first six years at Hopewell School, whose total eight grade enrollment was less than 40. In fact, I was the only one in my sixth grade class. Transferring to Yorkville, after Hopewell closed, was a traumatic experience. However, Yorkville wasn’t any metropolis, since my high school graduating class numbered eight. From Yorkville, I completed a B.S. Degree in 1953 from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Afterwards, I received a M.S. and Ph.D. from North Carolina State University. I served on the faculty at Ohio State University for three years before returning to NCSU where I have been a full professor.

In addition to being an active participant in several sports, I have enjoyed the outdoors, with special interests in fishing and hunting. Some might think my other diversions border on the absurd. For example, I have served as a judge in the ‘National Hollering Contest,’ then a guest of Governor Bob Scott at the mansion for the first and only ‘Black-tie Possum Dinner’ and been involved with the ‘National Fiddling Contest’ at Love Valley, NC.

Another undertaking is the ‘Hard-Core Club’ which I started in the early 70’s. Its objective is to further good country living (country music and vittles). My title is ‘The He-Coon.’ The membership includes persons from various walks of life-from service station operators to a former NC governor. Country music recording stars Loretta Lynn and Tom T. Hall are members.

My background has affected my feelings toward poor uneducated country folk. It has helped me in my understanding of hard work and poverty. I have been a participant in both. Although my present environment on a university campus relating to academicians is drastically different from my early life, I have maintained firm roots in things that are near to nature and country folk. And, recollections from that past, when life was simple, still beckons to me.”

The family extends great appreciation and thanks to the HEROES at the Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge in Blowing Rock and Hospice for their skilled nursing care.

A private graveside service for family members and friends will be conducted at the family’s McCorkle Cemetery near Newbern, TN, according to scheduling and convenience of family members. The sprinkling of the ashes will be done by family members at the monument of Dr. & Mrs. Gregory, and family and friends will be given an opportunity to speak after the service.

Memorial donations may be made to Boone United Methodist Church, 471 New Market Blvd, Boone, North Carolina 28607.

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


Gary Edward Taylor

May 16, 1952 – July 16, 2020

Gary Edward Taylor, age 68, of Calabash, North Carolina, a former resident of Boone, passed way Thursday morning, July 16, 2020, at McLeod Seacoast Hospital in Little River, South Carolina. Gary was born May 16, 1952 in Catawba County. He was the son of the late Robert E. and Betty Sue Taylor.

Gary is survived by his wife of 50 years, Vickie Miller Taylor of Calabash; one son, Brantley Taylor and wife Tabitha of Boone; two grandchildren, Daniel Taylor and wife Chelsea of West Jefferson, Hannah Taylor and fiancé, Isaac Earp of Boone, and one brother, Tim Taylor and wife Vonnie of Grace Chapel, North Carolina. He is also survived by a number of nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, one brother, Steve Taylor.

Gary spent most of his life serving others. Through the years, he served as a firefighter at Longview Fire Department, Drowning Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Deep Gap Volunteer Fire Department, Sunset Beach Fire Rescue Beach Patrol, and Calabash Fire Department.

His medical career began as a male orderly at Richard Baker Hospital where he met and fell in love with Victoria Miller who was a patient at the time. They met in January 1970 and were married June 28, 1970. He received his EMT while in Burke County and then continued serving in Watauga, Wilkes, and retired in Brunswick County.

He also enjoyed being sparky the dog at special events, conducting fire prevention classes for children, vacation Bible school parades, attending car shows, as well as cruise-ins on Friday nights. He was an ordained deacon. He loved the Lord and always “let his light shine” for Him. He loved his family and was so proud of his grandkids, Daniel and Hannah. He was a member of Rutherwood Baptist Church and a associate member of First Baptist Church of Little River, South Carolina.

Funeral services will be conducted Monday, July 20th at Rutherwood Baptist Church. Officiating will be Rev. Raymond Spann and Rev. Neil Vallini. The family will receive friends Monday from 1:30 until 3:00 prior to the service. The NC Fire Fighter Association Honor Guard will provide their services.

The family will also hold a celebration of life service on Sunday, August 9th at First Baptist Church Little River. Service will be led by Rev. Stan Fields. This church has been their church home for the time they have lived in Calabash, North Carolina. They have become their family while they have been here.

Flowers are appreciated or memorials may be made to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Checks should be made payable to the UNC Health Foundation. Please note on the check that it is a memorial gift for the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center and its Celebration of Life Reunion Fund. Donations may be sent to the UNC Health Foundation, 123 W. Franklin Street, Suite 510 Chapel Hill, NC 27516. Online donations can be made at unchf.org/GaryTaylorMemorial.

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

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


Melvin J. Norris

August 31, 1924 – July 17, 2020

Melvin Jennings Norris, age 95, of Boone, NC passed away peacefully in his sleep Friday afternoon July 17, 2020 at Deerfield Ridge Assisted Living in Boone, NC.

He was born August 31, 1924 in Watauga County, a son of the late Fred Council Norris and Pearl Parlier Norris.  On June 16, 1946 he married his childhood sweetheart, Rosa Lee Clawson. They had a loving marriage of 73 years before her passing in November,2019.  He was a member of Rutherwood Baptist Church.

Melvin was very proud to have been a veteran of the US Navy.  He not only was drafted into World War II, (“I received an official invitation from the government,” he often said) but later reenlisted during the Korean War and eventually gave 22 years to the Navy Reserve, completing 30 years of service.

Out of the service, Melvin worked at the newly-constructed IRC plant in Boone, where he helped move in new equipment and set up for operation. He was ultimately responsible for the building, utilities and the grounds, anything necessary to keep it functional, including working on the boilers, air conditioners and air compressors.

In 1960, Melvin became interested in the Masons and joined Snow Masonic Lodge No. 363. Eventually, he served on all the chairs and offices and was elected lodge master in 1968. He was later named District Deputy Grand Master in the Grand Lodge of North Carolina.  In the late 1960’s Melvin joined the Eastern Star and became a very active member for over 50 years.  He filled all the chairs (offices) in Hope Chapter, that he was allowed to fill, and served as Worthy Patron.  On state level he served as District Deputy Grand Patron.  He also served as Grand representative of the Grand Chapter of Montana in 1977-1980.

Melvin joined the Scottish Rite in 1969 as a 32nd degree Mason; in 1991, he was invested to the title of Knight Commander of the Court of Honor of the 32nd degree.

Later, in the early ‘80s, with time on their hands, Melvin and Rosa Lee decided to travel and purchased a motor home. Their trek took them across the country, to every state of the USA, including Alaska and Hawaii. They also toured all of the Canadian Provinces, minus the Northwest Territory.

At 95 years of age, Melvin still had a clear recollection of those days — and he loved talking about his service. For any details that may have escaped him, he had scrapbooks and photographs that helped tell his story.  In addition to video documentation, depicting his service and a long life well lived there is also quite a collection of commendations he had received through the years, from the military, his church and various community organizations.

Melvin Norris is survived by; two daughters, Sheri Church and husband Roger, and Wanda Belton and husband Johnny, all of Boone; two sons, Jim Norris and wife Sharon of Asheville and Larry Norris of Boone; an adopted-in-love daughter, Verna Sefranek and husband Thomas of Shirley, Massachusetts; three granddaughters, Teresa King, Arielle Church, and LaWanda Griffin; two grandsons, Robert Church and Chris Surber.  He is survived by two brothers; James Baxter Norris of Goldsboro, NC, and Albert C Norris and wife Martha of Dayton, Ohio.   He is also survived by 13 great-grandchildren.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by; his wife, Rosa Lee Norris, one brother, Dorman Norris and one sister Mary Francis Phillips.

Due to COVID 19, a private graveside service will be held at Mount Lawn Memorial Gardens in Boone, NC.  Officiating will be Reverend Mitch Marlow. 

 In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Masonic and Eastern Star Home, 700 South Holden Road, Greensboro, North Carolina, 27407.

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

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


John Edward Fletcher

June 12, 1937 – June 14, 2020

John Edward Fletcher, age 83, passed away peacefully at his home in Ashburn, VA on Sunday June 14, 2020 with his family by his side.

John was born to James Clair Fletcher and Goldie Erin Critcher Fletcher on June 12, 1937 in Banner Elk, North Carolina.

Fletcher grew up in Zionsville, NC and graduated from Cove Creek H.S. in 1955. After graduating from N.C.State in 1961 with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering and a MS in Mathematics, he was stationed at Griffess Air Force Base, Rome, NY as a commissioned officer. There he met and married his wife Carol (Serra) in 1964, a blessed union of almost 56 years.

After retiring from the service as a Captain in 1964, Fletcher began working for Lockheed Aircraft in Atlanta, GA and then for the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD as the Chief of Laboratory of Applied Studies. While there he received his PHD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Maryland in 1972. Dr Fletcher retired from NIH in 1993 and taught College Mathematics in Maryland and New York State.

Fletcher is survived by his loving wife Carol Serra Fletcher, daughter Leah Davis/Tony, son Craig/Suzanne and five Grandchildren; Fletcher and Parker Rose Davis, Chase, Morgan and Aubrey Fletcher. His brother Robert W. Fletcher/Kay, Hickory, NC, niece Kimberly, Davidson, NC, Sister-in-law Joyce Lopushinsky/ Michael, Rome, NY, nieces Lisa Stamboly, Rome, NY, Amie Orzell, Syracuse, NY, nephew Michael Lopushinsky, Miami, Fl. and many cousins and friends.

Throughout his career, Fletcher received many awards and published numerous articles, research papers and books including an extensive Fletcher family genealogy dating back to the 1600’s.  His last and proudest accomplishment was writing “The True Story of Tom Dooley”, a long awaited factual account of a nationally publicized crime of passion at the conclusion of the Cilvil War.

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

Announcement courtesy of Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service.

Jerry Arnett
November 14, 1946 – July 15, 2020

Jerry Arnett, age 73, of Banner Elk, North Carolina passed away on Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at the Watauga Medical Center in Boone, NC.
He was born on November 14, 1946 in Avery County, North Carolina, a son of the late Paul Butler Arnett and the late Myrtle Shook Arnett.
Jerry enjoyed reading and cars. He worked in construction with Eggers Construction and worked as Carpenter for Gary Horny. He was a very special man with a big heart.
Jerry leaves behind to cherish his memory his Wife and “Little Button” of 45 years, Shirley Ramsey Arnett of Banner Elk, NC; Sister, Shelia Clark of Jonas Ridge, NC, Brother, Roger Arnett of Roan Mountain, TN, Brother, Eddie (Phyllis) Arnett of Banner Elk, NC, A host of nieces and nephews.
The family will be having a drive thru visitation from 12:00pm until 1:30pm on Monday, July 20, 2020 at the Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home. As guests arrive at 12:00 pm you will enter the West parking lot entrance (Old Lowe’s Side), where you will be directed for the route to follow. All visitors will please remain in their vehicles as they pass by the family. A private family service will follow in the Mount Calvary Baptist Church Cemetery with the Rev. Randy Ramsey, Jr. officiating.
The family respectfully requests no flowers and in lieu ask that memorial contributions be made to the funeral home to assist with expenses.
Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Arnett family by visiting our website www.rsfh.net
The care of Jerry and his family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.