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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – March 15, 2022

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



Lawrence Matthew Ekron

1935 – 2022

Lawrence Matthew Ekron, 87, died suddenly on March 6, 2022 at Watauga Medical Center, in Boone North Carolina. He was born on February 13, 1935 in Elliot, Cape Province, South Africa.  The son of Thomas John Matthew and Nellie Jane (nee Scarneck) Ekron.  

Lawrence graduated from Indwe High School in the Eastern Cape and served in the Command of the South African Army, based in East London.  Following his service, Lawrence began his 40 year career in the Post Office serving first as Postmaster in Elliotdale and retiring as Assistant Director of Telkom Telecommunications in 1992, in Durban, South Africa.

Lawrence married the love of his life, Augusta Thomisine Ada McLuckie on October 8, 1960.  Their journey together spanned 61.5 years which included four children namely, Cheryl, Leonie, Keith and Quinton. Lawrence was an avid sportsman and a passionate fisherman who spent countless hours fishing amongst the hippos and crocodiles in the estuaries of St. Lucia aboard his little boat, Sela-Sela.   Lawrence and Augusta loved camping, together they travelled South Africa fishing and visiting with family with their caravan.  Lawrence was a man of faith who served 14 years as a Society Steward and longtime member of the Bluff Methodist Church.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by sister, Katherine Moriarty (nee’ Ekron); brother, Harry Ekron and brother, Eric Ekron. His daughter, Cheryl Venter (nee Ekron); and son, Quinton Ekron.

Surviving in addition to his wife, August Thomisine Ada (McLuckie), is his daughter, Leonie Kruger (nee Ekron) and husband, Darrell Kruger currently residing in Boone, North Carolina but originally from South Africa and their children; Blake and wife Cody (nee Leegwater), Casey and Sarah Kruger. His son, Keith Ekron and wife, Debbie Ekron (nee Smith), currently residing in Mississauga, Canada and their children; Candice and husband Charl Louw, Beth Ekron.  Bernard Venter, surviving spouse of Cheryl, and their children Nicholas and Joshua Venter. His brother Cyril Ekron, East London, South Africa and his sister Monica Wendling (nee Ekron), Vancouver, British Columbia.

A virtual Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Online condolences may be shared with the Ekron family at the website www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.

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



Tambra “Tammy” Hicks

1959 – 2022

Tambra Triplett Hicks “Tammy”, age 62, of Sugar Grove, passed away peacefully Wednesday evening, March 9, 2022 at her home surrounded by her family.  Born July 17, 1959 at Camp Lejeune, NC, she was a daughter of the late Ernie and Jean Thompson Triplett.  

Being born into a Navy family Tammy learned to travel at an early age.  Her love for travel came later after moving back to her family’s home in Matney NC and meeting the love of her life. John and Tammy began dating in high school and were married shortly after. They traveled the country together for both work and pleasure before settling down in the mountains of Watauga County. Tammy worked alongside John building numerous successful businesses, but nothing was more important than providing for her growing family. She strived to teach her children to be kind, whether they were climbing mountains a world away, or sitting beside her on the beaches of Aruba. The only thing she loved more than being a parent, was being a grandparent.  While her immediate family took priority; you certainly didn’t have to be blood to be loved by Tammy.  She never met a stranger and welcomed anyone and everyone with open arms.  She selflessly loved everyone around her with everything she had and her smile could brighten the darkest of rooms.  She was a strong, faithful, follower of Christ, who yearned to share God’s love. 

She is survived by her husband of 44 years, John Benjamin Hicks, Jr., their three children, Garrett Hicks and wife Sally of Vilas, and their children, Gunnar, Raylan, Archer, Creston and one on the way, Kyle Hicks and wife Keisha of Banner Elk, and their children, Samuel, John Benjamin, Abel, Libby Tambra, and Thelma and Skylar Wilcox and husband Charlie of Vilas, expecting one on the way. Two brothers, Jim Triplett and wife Robin and David Triplett. One sister, Leilani Kunst and husband Bryan, and one sister-in-law, Susan Bunton. She is also survived by her mother-in-law Marie Hicks, a number of nieces and nephews who she loved as her own, and her loving dog for the last 11 years, Jaci.

Funeral services for Tammy Hicks will be conducted Monday, March 14, 2022 at 12 noon at Boone United Methodist Church.  Officiating will be Rev. Vern Collins, Rev. David Ward and Rev. Ben Bolick.  Graveside services and burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Hospital, Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Relations, PO Box 571021, Winston-Salem, NC 27157.

Online condolences may be shared with the Hicks family at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.

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



Larry Finley Story

1941 – 2022

Larry Finley Story, age 80, of Peoria Road, Sugar Grove, passed away Saturday, March 12, 2022.  Born December l, 1941 in Blowing Rock, he was a son of Odell and Ona Greene Story.  Mr. Story attended Timbered Ridge Baptist Church.  He loved his Lord and Savior and family very much.  During his career as a master carpenter, he has constructed many homes in our area.  In his spare time, he enjoyed woodcarving and making furniture for his family and friends.

Mr. Story is survived by his wife, Ruth Smitherman of the home; daughters, Sharon Crump and husband, Frank, of Vilas, Holly Andrews and husband, Terry, of Blowing Rock, Janie Dancy and husband, Ted, of Zionville, Gail Robinson and husband, Harold, of Vilas and son, Lee Story of Vilas; thirteen grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren; sisters, Verlean Younce and husband, Worth, Cathy Hollars and husband, Henry, and Edith Arnette and husband, O.J. all of Lenoir;  and brother, Harvey Story and wife, Dora Lee, of Lenoir. 

In addition to his parents, he was preceded by his first wife and mother of his children, Minnie Arnette Story; great-granddaughter, Alijandra Mejia; brothers, Lester, Wayne, and Wade Story; sister, Lafern Cook; his father and mother-in-law, Ralph and Grace Hayes Arnette; and brothers-in-law, Junior and George Arnette. 

Funeral services for Larry Finley Story will be conducted Tuesday afternoon, March l5th at 2 o’clock at Timbered Ridge Baptist Church, officiated by Pastor Derick Wilson.  The family will receive friends from 12:30 until 2 o’clock, prior to services, at the church.  Graveside services will follow in the Arnette Family Cemetery. The family suggests memorials to the Arnette Family Cemetery Fund, in care of Kathy Simmons, 262 Drift Lane, Vilas, NC 28692.

Online condolences may be shared at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com

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



Thomas Edward “Tommy” Hodges

1961 – 2022

Thomas Edward ‘Tommy’ Hodges, age 60, of Arnett Hollow Road, Vilas, passed away Sunday evening, March 13, 2022 at Watauga Medical Center.  Born March 20, 1961 in Avery County, he was a son of Oscar and Wava Yarber Hodges.  Tommy was a man who loved the simple things in life, always joking, never met a stranger, and was willing to give the shirt off his back to anyone in need.  He was an avid bear hunter. 

Mr. Hodges is survived by his sons, Edward Hodges and wife, Mary of Vilas and Christopher Hodges and wife, Amy, of Beech Creek; his mother, Wava Hodges of Vilas; grandchildren, Finley, Blake, Alexis, Kendra and Taylor Hodges; brothers and sister, Blaine Hodges, and Aaron Hodges, both of Vilas, and Beverly Broschinski and husband, Rudy, of Sugar Grove; and his special friend, Ellen ‘Squeak’ Dotson. A number of nieces and nephews also survive. 

He was preceded by his father, Oscar Finley Hodges. 

Graveside services for Tommy Hodges will be conducted Thursday afternoon, March 17th at 1 o’clock at the Danner Cemetery, officiated by Rev. Jason Cornett.  

The family will receive friends Wednesday evening, March 16th, from 5 until 7 o’clock at the Austin & Barnes Funeral Home. 

The family suggests memorials may be made to the Danner Cemetery Fund, in care of David Hodges, 1075 Laurel Fork Road, Vilas, NC 28692.

Online condolences may be shared at the website www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com

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



William Mark Robinson

June 19, 1958 – January 25, 2022

William Mark Robinson, age 63, died on January 25, 2022, at Ashe Memorial Hospital. 

Mark was born June 19, 1958, in Boone to the late John and Bertha Robinson.  

Surviving to cherish his memory are Mark’s siblings: Patty Blanton and husband Chuck of Boone, Melinda Chambers and husband Rick of Roxboro, Danny Robinson and wife Lisa of Myrtle Beach SC, Susie Robinson of Boone, and Cindy King and husband Jeremy of Broadway VA; also, nieces and nephews: Christy Blanton, Casey Blanton, Blair DeLoatche (Dee), Brook Carrigan (Chris), Lindsey Tester (Brian), Jordan Robinson, Emily Greer (Josh), Derek Robinson, Nikki King, and Phillip King. In addition, Mark is survived by a number of great nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, and cousins. 

In addition to his parents, Mark was preceded in death by beloved niece Jackie Godwin and nephew Ian King. 

Mark was a beautiful gift from God to our family. We are forever grateful for his love, light, and lasting impact on our lives and hearts.

Our family expresses deepest appreciation to all who loved Mark throughout his life. To you who caringly taught, encouraged, befriended and nurtured Mark over the years, you blessed and enriched his life. To Mark’s caregivers during his later years, words are insufficient to thank you. You were his people, his cheerleaders, and you were there for him during his most difficult times. You loved Mark so well, serving as the hands and feet of Jesus, and we praise God for you. 

A celebration of Mark’s life will be held on Friday, March 18, 2022, at First Baptist Church of Blowing Rock. The family will receive friends from 1:00-2:00pm, and the service will begin at 2:00.

Memorial donations may be made to, Special Olympics Watauga County 231 Complex Drive, Boone, NC 28607.

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

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



Hattie Hazel Jordan

March 20, 1932 – March 10, 2022

Mrs. Hattie Jordan, age 89, of 673 Flowers Branch Road Deep Gap, passed peacefully at her home on Thursday March 10th, 2022.

She was born March 20, 1932, in the Stony Fork community of Watauga County to the late Noah Jack and Dollie Belle Church. Mrs. Jordan worked as a homemaker for her husband and five children. She enjoyed canning produce and vegetables from her multiple gardens and raising poultry. Many would say she was the hardest working person they have ever met. She was very knowledgeable about her family genealogy, and she could trace back through generations. She was a dedicated Christian, member of Stony Fork Baptist Church, and member of the Women’s Circle at Stony Fork.

Survivors include one daughter Sharon Eller and husband, Maurice Eller of Hays; four sons, Jerry L. Jordan and wife, Debra; Richard D. Jordan and wife, Sheila and James J. Jordan, all of Deep Gap and Charles D. Jordan and wife Marta Susanne, of Statesville, five granddaughters, April Locklear and husband, Kelvin Locklear of Mooresville, Estrella Jordan of Deep Gap, Tasha Chrisawn and husband, Travis Chrisawn of West Jefferson, Sara Caudill and husband, Jake Caudill of North Wilkesboro, Rachel Byrd and husband, Lance Byrd of Hays; three grandsons, Chris Jordan and wife Billie Jo Jordan, Greg Jordan, and John Jordan all of Deep Gap. Along with nine great grandchildren, Jordan Locklear, Charlie Locklear, and Kameron Locklear of Mooresville, Jacob Chrisawn and Hadley Chrisawn of West Jefferson, Jaylee Caudill and Lilly Caudill of North Wilkesboro, Eli Jordan and Noah Jordan of Deep Gap, and one sister Holly Greene and late husband Creed Greene of Deep Gap. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, Mrs. Jordan was preceded in death by her husband Mr. Jay Jordan. Also, by her sister Helen Bare and husband Burrell, brother Carl Church and wife Goldie, and grandson Larry Jordan.

A funeral service will be held Sunday, March 13th, 2022, at Stony Fork Baptist Church at 3:00 o’clock. Body will lie in state in from 2 to 3 at the church. Officiating will be Reverend Vernon Eller. Burial will be in the Stony Fork Baptist Church Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 2:00 until 3:00, prior to the service.

Memorials may be made to Stony Fork Baptist Church Cemetery.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to Medi Home Health Care Hospice.

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

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



Dwight G. Thomas

May 3, 1955 – March 12, 2022

Dwight Garrett Thomas, age 66, born on May 3, 1955, in Watauga County passed away after a long battle with diabetes and heart disease. Dwight walked into the arms of his Heavenly Father surrounded by his family.

Dwight was a loving father and husband. His family was the light of his life. He was a Christian and quietly worshipped His Lord. He had strong values and was a good neighbor and friend to all. He was always willing to offer a helping hand.

He was an avid outdoorsman and loved to hunt. One of his favorite activities was to get out in the woods with his sons to hunt. He wanted to teach his grandchildren, Aubrie and Jasper that joy, but God had other plans.

He was a hard worker and was the “Jack of all trades and master of none”. His favorite job was working as janitor and bus driver at Mabel School. He loved the children and teachers and they respected him. He especially loved to play pranks on the cafeteria workers and Mrs. Ruby Reese who worked in the office.

He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Ann Cook Thomas, two sons, Garrett Thomas and wife Della; and Spencer Thomas and wife Julia, two grandchildren; Aubrie Thomas and Jasper Thomas all of Zionville. He is also survived by his mother, Catherine Thomas, one sister Sue Thomas and one brother David Thomas, all of Zionville and his mother-in-law, Wilma Cook of Zionville. He is survived by four nieces and one great nephew.

He was preceded in death by his father, Floyd Thomas, his paternal grandparents; Spencer and Mae Thomas and maternal grandparents Oscar and Hazel Phillips, two sisters-in-law; Patty Thomas and Wanda Fox, and his father-in-law Tommy Cook.

Funeral services for Dwight G. Thomas will be conducted Thursday, March 17, 2022, at 2:00 PM, at Union Baptist Church. Reverend Bradley Swift and Preacher Derick Wilson will officiate. Interment will follow in Union Baptist Church Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 12:30 until 2:00, prior to the service.

We respectfully request no food. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Medi-Home Health and Hospice or West View Baptist Church Building Fund.

Online condolences nay be sent to the Thomas family at www.hamptonfuneralnc.com

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



Bonnie Turbyfill

February 27, 1934 – March 11, 2022

Bonnie Turbyfill, age 88, of Elk Park, North Carolina passed away on Friday, March 11, 2022 at the Cranberry House. Bonnie was born on February 27, 1934 in Avery County, North Carolina, a daughter of the late Elmore and Stella Aldridge Vance.

Bonnie worked as a supervisor for the Johnson City Telephone Company.

She enjoyed quilting and making music. She played several instruments including guitar, harmonica and piano. Along with her parents she was preceded in death by her Husband, Rhonda Lee Turbyfill; Son, Bobby Turbyfill. Bonnie leaves behind to cherish her memory Granddaughters, April Banks and Kelley Quillen; Sister; Polly Daniels; Great grandchildren Abigail Banks and Amari Banks.

Bonnie will be buried with her husband Ron in the Mountain Home National Cemetery in Mountain Home, TN on Thursday, March 17, 2022 at 2:00 p.m.

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

The care of Bonnie and her family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.