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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – June 16, 2022

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



Norman Earl Swift
1939 – 2022

Norman Earl Swift, age 83, of Ford Hollars Road, Vilas, passed away Friday, June 10, 2022 at Watauga Medical Center. Born June 3, 1939 in Johnson County, Tennessee, he was one of eleven children of Joseph Dewey and Auriola Harmon Swift. Norman was a member of Westside Baptist Church. He owned and operated Swift Trucking Company before serving 14 years as a security guard at Watauga Medical Center followed by 10 years as security for Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock.

Norman loved to listen to and sing Gospel music. He was always ready to grab his fishing pole and together with his sons and brothers, spend time on a creek bank catching the biggest mountain trout. Above all, he loved his Lord and his family.

Norman is survived by his son, Tony Swift and wife, Becky, of Vilas; daughters, Pamela Norris of Vilas and Lisa Byrd and husband, Kelvin, of Zionville; daughter-in-law, Carol Swift of Boone; six grandchildren, Deanna Franklin and husband, Doug, of Boone, Brittany Byrd of Zionville, Briana Byrd of Zionville, and her fiancé, Matt Foxworth, Bradley Swift and wife, Amber, of Vilas, Joshua Norris of Vilas, and his girlfriend, Alysha, and Tanner Swift and wife, Macey, of Georgia; five great-grandchildren, Daisey and Randy Jack Swift, and Ethan, Hailey and Corbin Norris; and his brother, Jim Swift and wife, Jerri, of Georgia. A number of nieces, nephews and cousins also survive.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a son, Randy Swift and son-in-law, Wesley Norris; seven brothers, Bill, Ed, Roby, Charlie and Henry Swift, and infant brothers, Charles and Robert Swift; and two sisters, Mary Norris and Francis Bunton.

Funeral services for Norman Earl Swift will be conducted Wednesday afternoon, June 15th, at 2 o’clock, at the Austin and Barnes Funeral Home Chapel, officiated by Rev. Bradley Swift and Preacher David Ward. The family will receive friends Wednesday from 1 until 2 o’clock, prior to services, at Austin & Barnes. Graveside services will follow in the Union Baptist Church Cemetery. At other times, the family will be at the home of a daughter, Pamela Norris, 383 Sherwood Road, Vilas, NC 28692.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to the Union Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, in care of Roxanna Miller, Treasurer, 6797 US Highway 421, Zionville, NC 28698 or to Operation Heal Our Patriots, in care of Samaritans Purse, PO Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607.

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



James Owen Burgess
1926 – 2022

Heaven gained an exceptional storyteller with the peaceful passing of James Owen “Jim” Burgess, age 95, on Thursday, January 13, 2022. Jim will be lovingly remembered by Ruth Henson, his children, Linda, Jim Jr., and Joni, Ruth’s children, Susan, Michael, and Vickie, and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Jim never met a stranger always asking “What brought you to Blowing Rock?” He loved Auburn, music and sports. Words from his favorite song encapsulate Jim’s life, “I did it my way.”
A service of witness to the resurrection and celebration of Jim’s life will be held Saturday, June 18th at 3:00 at Rumple Presbyterian Church in Blowing Rock. The family will receive friends immediately following the service in the fellowship hall.

Memorials may be made to Rumple Presbyterian Church Pastor’s Discretionary Fund, PO Box 393, Blowing Rock, NC 28605.

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



Myrtle “Happy” Austin
1947 – 2022

Happy Austin, age 74, of Hudson, passed away Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at Atrium Health in Charlotte. Happy was born October 13, 1947 in Huntersville, NC to the late Jimmie and Myrtle Hope. In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by a sister, Mary Hope Farlow. Happy was retired from ASU having been Director of APP program, Director of Freshman Orientation, and Advisor for non-traditional students. She enjoyed music, reading, travel, working in her flower gardens, and volunteering at church and at the Lenoir Soup Kitchen.

Survivors include her husband of 53 years, Donald Austin, of the home. Daughter, Hope Austin Laingen, and Son-In-Law Jim of Marshall, Virginia. Grandchildren, William Laingen and wife Stephanie of Tucson, Arizona; Austin Laingen of Richmond, Virginia, and daughter Bonnie Laingen of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Also surviving, sister Mildred Barnett and husband Jim of Queenstown, Maryland, and Brother-In-Law Colon Farlow of Sophia, North Carolina.

A funeral service will be held on Sunday, June 12th, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. at The First Baptist Church of Hudson. The family will receive friends at the church from 1:00 until 2:30 p.m. prior to service. A selection of Happy’s favorite music will be provided from 2:30-3:00.

Interment will follow in Sardis/Hudson First Cemetery.

Happy can be remembered by donations to the Lenoir Soup Kitchen, PO Box 1054, Lenoir, NC 28645 or Mission Friends at First Baptist Church, 345 Main Street, Hudson, North Carolina 28638.

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



Anna Bell Martin
1939 – 2022

Anna Bell Martin, age 83, of Zionville, passed away Saturday, June 11, 2022 at Glenbridge Health and Rehabilitation. She was born March 10, 1939 to the late Baxter and Lillie Wilson. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her husband William Asa Martin, a son, William Steven Martin, four sisters, Edith Wilson of Zionville, Iva Lee Reece of Hudson, Pearl Fletcher and Edna Tester both of Zionville. Five brothers, Jim Wilson, Henry Wilson, Clayton (Cricket) Wilson, Burl Wilson all of Zionville and J.B. Wilson of Trade, Tenn.

Anna Bell retired from housekeeping at Watauga Medical Center after many years of service.
Survivors include her son Donald (Ruby) Martin and daughter Ann (David) Lewis both of Zionville. Four grandchildren, Marie Welch of Wake Forest, Wendy Martin of Mountain City, Tenn. Donald Ray Martin and Jason Morefield both of Zionville. Two step grandchildren, Derrek Sluder and Phyllieia Sluder of Mountain City, Tenn. Six great grandchildren, Kelsey Isaacs of Knightdale, Fayla Martin, Cameron Martin, and Shauntel Morefield all of Zionville, Brendan Vogel of Raleigh and Zoey Johnson of Mountain City, Tenn. One great great grandchild, Jessie Goebeler of Boone. She is also survived by one sister Jean (Bill) Blackburn of Todd, two brothers Jerry Wilson of Zionville and Estel (Snook) Wilson and wife Etta of Lynchburg, Virginia, two sister-in laws, Bernice Wilson of Zionville and Wanda Wilson of Trade, Tenn. Several nieces and nephews also survive.

Anna Bell will lie in state Wednesday at Austin and Barnes starting at 1’oclock. Graveside services will be Thursday, June 16, at Pleasant Grove Cemetery, starting at 1’oclock. Officiating will be Reverend Allen Younce. Austin and Barnes Funeral Home is serving the Martin family.



Butch Triplett
April 16, 1942 – June 10, 2022

Butch Triplett, age 80, of Boone passed away Friday June 10, 2022 at his home.

He was born April 16, 1942, in Columbia, South Carolina the son of the late Billy Brown Triplett, Sr. and Bernice Crafton Triplett. He was the founder and former owner of Woodlands Barbecue in Blowing Rock and was a veteran having served in the US Army.

He is survived by his wife, Gina Sparks Triplett of Boone; one sister, Jane Simmons and husband Charlie of Clarksville, Virginia; one brother-in-law, David Sparks and wife Sandra of Concord and one sister-in-law, Lisa Sparks of Blowing Rock. He is also survived by several nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews and many friends.

A memorial service will be conducted Sunday, June 12, 2022, at 2:00 PM at Faithbridge United Methodist Church. Reverend Ben Carson and Reverend Rhonda Gailes will officiate.

The family will receive friends following the service.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Blowing Rock Community Foundation, P.O. Box 525, Blowing Rock, North Carolina 28605 or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

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

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



John Edward Rominger
April 21, 1905 – June 5, 2022

John Edward Rominger, 84, of West Chester, Ohio, was called Home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on a glorious Sunday morning June 5th, 2022.

John was born in Vilas, North Carolina in 1938 and attended Bethel High School. At the early age of 17, John proudly joined the Navy, and he diligently served our country for 20 years, ultimately retiring as a Chief Petty Officer. He spent 9 years stationed in Vietnam and during his time there, he met the love of his life – Huyen. They were married in 1966 and remained best friends in love and marriage for 55 years.

John always had an entrepreneurial mindset and when he retired from the Navy, he started and operated multiple successful businesses in the timber, and oil and gas industries over the next 3 decades of his life. John’s hobbies later in life included gardening and day trading in the stock market, in fact some called him the Wolf of West Chester.

John could be best described as a man of God. A true believer! He was profoundly humble yet never backed away from a friendly debate. In fact, he lit up when engaged in a deep conversation about the Bible, politics, and current events. He would rarely shy away from any topic. The desire for discourse was driven by his unshakable faith and belief in truth, freedom, and love for God, family, and country. John was devoted husband, a family man, a patriot and lived his life according to a very few simple truths. His favorite being:

2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

In addition to his wife Huyen, John is survived by his daughter Jacklyn Wissing (Chris), daughter Tammy Smith (Bob), son Johnnie Rominger (Jaclyn), granddaughter Reagan Wissing, siblings Madge Laws, Mountain City, TN; Lewis Rominger, Freeport, OH; Ruth Rominger, Vilas, NC; Irene Woodard, Vilas, NC; Dean Rominger, Biloxi, MS; Bob Rominger (Patty), Mountain City, TN; Esther Harmon (Greer) Banner Elk. John was predeceased by his parents Blanche Isaacs and Wilburn Rominger, and sibling Joe Rominger.

As per John’s wishes, there will be no formal funeral service. He simply asked that you take time to reflect on how precious life is, enjoy being around those you love, and spend quality time making memories that will last a lifetime.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.neptunesociety.com/location/cincinnati-oh-cremation for the Rominger family.

Announcement Courtesy of Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service.



Jose Contreras
June 9, 1995 – June 6, 2022

Jose Contreras, age 26, of Boone passed away Monday, June 6, 2022, at his residence.

Jośe was a hard worker, always willing to help others out. He loved his children, and the people who became his family throughout the years. He enjoyed walking on trails, listening to music, especially rock and roll, and dancing.

He is survived by, one son, Joe Michael, one daughter, Lucille, his father and mother in-law, Dwayne and Amy Teague Ashley, Brother-in-law, Clyde Ashley, sister-in-law, Beth Ann Ashley, and three very close friends, Westen Wood, Karen Wood and Raul Fornoni.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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

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



Herbert J. Maniette
September 15, 1971 – June 12, 2022

Herbert J. Maniette, age 51, of Newland passed away Sunday, June 12,2022, at Watauga Medical Center.

He is survived by his mother and step-father, Violet Emily MacNeal and Brian Charles MacNeal of Winter Haven Florida; one sister, Michelle Rene Moore of New London, Connecticut; two brothers, Shawn Patrick MacNeal of Pinellas Park, Florida and Daxius Paul Maniette of Elkin, North Carolina; one niece, Jade Ashley Moore of New London, Connecticut and one nephew, Keith John Moore of Fort Pierce, Florida.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Online condolences may be sent to the Maniette family at www.hamptonfuneralservicenc.com

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



Della Wray Presnell
March 22, 1936 – June 13, 2022

Della Wray Presnell, age 86, of Boone, passed away Monday, June 13, 2022, at Watauga Medical Center.

She was born March 22, 1936, in Avery County. A daughter of the late Roosevelt Presnell and Grace Harris Presnell. She was retired from TRW as an inspector and a member of Valle Crucis United Methodist Church.

She is survived by one son, Bob Presnell and wife Sandra of Boone; one daughter, Connie Pendley and husband TJ of Blowing Rock; one sister, Pauline Brown of Avery County; five brothers, Arlie Presnell of Boone; Jim Presnell of Spruce Pine; Ben Presnell of Zionville; R.L. Presnell of Zionville and Dayton Presnell of Avery County; five grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

In addition to her father and mother she was preceded in death by one son, Ted Presnell and one grandson, Jonathan Hicks.

Graveside services and burial will be conducted Thursday, June 16, 2022, at 2:00 PM, at Mount Lawn Memorial Park and Gardens. Pastor Sonny Younce will officiate.

The family will receive friends from 1:00 until 2:00 Thursday, at Hampton Funeral Home Chapel, prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to American Cancer Society, c/o Brian Barker, 441 Daniel Drive, Boone, North Carolina 28607.

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

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



David Clyde Watson
November 5, 1939 – June 14, 2022

David Clyde Watson of Fleetwood, NC, was born November 5, 1939, to parents Lee and Treva Watson.

He is preceded in death by his parents and 4 siblings. He leaves behind one daughter, Donna Robertson of Archdale, NC, two grandaughters, Haley Varner, and Christina Carter; two great-grandchildren; one brother Roy and Nancy Watson of Fleetwood, NC, sisters Gail Hilton of Granite Falls, NC, and Dianne and LTC (R) Calvin Brown currently residing in Huntsville, AL.

David is well known as owner of David Watson Automotive located in the Bamboo area from the early 70’s. His hobby of drag racing led to a NASCAR Cup Racing career that spanned decades with over 73 races won including major tracks at Daytona, Homestead AFB, Charlotte, and Talladega. He made history when his driver Shawna Robinson became the first female driver to win a major NASCAR sanctioned event. Her car and history are enshrined at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Alabama. David interfaced and worked with numerous famous celebrities and racing legends such as Paul Newman, Marty Robins, Dale Earnhardt, Richard and Kyle Petty, David Pearson, Junior Johnson, Tom Pistone, and many others.

In very early days when Samaritan’s Purse was being established in Boone, David was instrumental in providing Franklin Graham and his meager team with logistical and transportation support resulting in an enduring friendship with the Graham family.

David was well known for coming to the aid of people in need who required car repair assistance, day, or night, anywhere along the road, or offering a helping hand to get them established in life. His generosity and caring impacted countless others over the years as many have shared his impact on their lives. Their stories encouraged the family during David’s recent illness.

Entombment will be at Mount Lawn Mausoleum with a private ceremony for family and close friends with Reverend Roy Graham and Mr. Calvin Brown officiating. The family will receive friends from 10:00 – 11:00 at the Mount Lawn Mausoleum Chapel. David Watson Automotive will continue to operate in accordance with his desire to serve the community.

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

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



Joyce Storey Barrier
May 1, 1935 – June 7, 2022

Joyce Storey Barrier, age 87, of Newland, NC, went to be with her Heavenly Father Tuesday, June 7, 2022.

Joyce was born May 1st. 1935 in Norfolk, VA. She moved to Newland with her family at a very young age and never left making Newland her forever home.

She was preceded in death by her children’s father, Paul C. Johnson and a second husband, Ernest” Red” Barrier; her parents Will & Texie Storey; brothers James, Forest, Doug, Storey ; Sisters, Jean Shook and Lorena Townsend; Joyce was a wonderful Mother who loved her family dearly. She is survived by sons; Paul (Susan); Tim (Dawn) and Jamey (Melodie); Grandsons; Cody (Megan), Lucas and Devron. Granddaughters; Kaitlyn (Alex) Sabrowsky and Shelby. Sister-In- Laws, Elizabeth Storey and Harriet Storey. She also had one great-granddaughter; Scarlett Rae Johnson and many nieces and nephews whom she thought so much of.

The family will receive friends beginning at 3:00 on Thursday, June 9th, at First Baptist Church Newland.

Services for Joyce Barrier will be held on Thursday, June 9th, following the visitation at beginning at 4:00 with Dr. Bill Jones officiating.

Interment will be in the Johnson Cemetery.

The family would like to extend their sincere thanks and appreciation to LifeCare Center of Banner Elk and Medi-Home Hospice.

Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Barrier family by visiting the website www.rsfh.net

The care of Joyce and her family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.
(828) 733-2121



Joseph Ray Sturgill
April 21, 1945 – June 11, 2022

Joseph Ray Sturgill, age 77, of Newland, North Carolina passed away on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at his residence.

Joe was born on April 21, 1945 in Avery County, North Carolina, a son of the late Earl Sturgill and the late Mildred Cox Sturgill.

Joe graduated from Newland High School and then joined the United States Army. After serving his country, he attended Mayland Community College. He worked for many years as a Real Estate Broker for Grandfather Golf and Country Club. After leaving Grandfather, Joe joined the team at Institutional Food House, where he worked as a Sales Representative until his retirement. His true passion was playing golf, he had the opportunity to play many renowned Golf Courses over his life, but playing Augusta National was one of his favorites; he was a member of Mountain Glen Golf Course and loved “Teeing it up” with his son’s. Joe was a member of Fletcher Presbyterian Church.
He was preceded in death by his Father, Earl Sturgill; Mother, Mildred Cox Sturgill; Son, Joseph Earl (Little Joe) Sturgill.

Joe leaves behind to cherish his memory Wife of 54 years, Alcie Pritchard Sturgill; Son, Charlie (Meghan) Sturgill of Newland, NC; Two Brothers, John (Ramona) Sturgill of Linville, NC, Tom (Linda) Sturgill of Winston-Salem, NC; Little Joe’s Fiancé, Robbin Trice of Newland, NC; Surrogate Grandkids, Seveta, Alosha, Sawyer and Skylar Eastman; Sister In Law, Mariam Owens of Newland, NC; Very Special Friends, Sabo and Bobby Franklin, and their girls, of Newland, NC; a host of nieces and nephews and of course, all his many friends and golfing buddies.

Services for Joseph Sturgill will be held on Thursday, June 16, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. at the Mountain Glen Golf Club with Rev. Roger Wise officiating. The family will receive friends from 1:00 pm until the service hour Thursday at the golf course.

Interment will follow in the Tanglewood Cemetery with military honors provided by the Pat Ray Post of the VFW.

The family would like to extend their sincere thanks and appreciation to the staff and nurses of Cannon Memorial Hospital, the Waters at Roan Highlands, Avalon Hospice in Roan Mountain and Amorem Hospice in Newland.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Fletcher Presbyterian Church PO Box 493 Newland, NC 28657

Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Sturgill family by visiting the website www.rsfh.net

The care of Joe and his family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.
(828) 733-2121



Dale Burleson
November 9, 1955 – June 15, 2022

Dale Burleson, age 66, of Newland, North Carolina passed away on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 at Residence.

Dale was born on November 9, 1955 in Avery County, North Carolina, a son of the late Grover Olin Burleson and the late Sylvia Phillips Burleson. He was known for dressing up as Santa every Christmas for the children. Dale loved spending time with his family, being outside, and his flowers. He also loved listening to his Classic Rock music and John Boy and Billy in the morning.

He was preceded in death by his Father, Grover Olin Burleson; Mother, Sylvia Phillips Burleson; Three Brothers, Gene Burleson, Hobert Burleson, Jewel Burleson; Five Sisters, Betty Lingerfelt, Loretta Cate, Lois Johnson, Charlotte Burleson, Gwendola Burleson; .

Dale leaves behind to cherish his memory Two Daughters, Sylvia (Marc Causby) Burleson of Newland, NC, Stephanie (Stetson McKinney) Burleson; Brother, Danny Burleson; Sister, Lena Sue Andrews; Grandson, Oliver Causby. Several nieces and nephews also survive.

Services for Dale Burleson will be announced by the family at a later date.

The family would like to extend their sincere thanks and appreciation to Amorem Hospice Care.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Fund, 2011 Spanish Oak Road, Newland, 28657

Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Burleson family by visiting the website www.rsfh.net

The care of Dale and his family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.
(828) 733-2121