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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – March 16, 2021

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


Kenneth Allen Caswell

1936 – 2021

Kenneth Allen Caswell went to be with the Lord on Friday, March 12, 2021. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend. Ken was born in Carlisle, Kentucky on December 7, 1936 to Goebel Campbell Caswell and Esta Joseph (E.J.) Caswell, the youngest of eleven children. He helped his family sharecrop until he took his high school basketball team to the state finals, which helped him earn a full basketball scholarship to Presbyterian College in South Carolina. This gave him two of the loves of his life: basketball, and his beautiful German tutee and eventual wife Linda Poe.

Ken was an Army veteran, with a stint in the Army Reserves as well. Once he was discharged, Ken worked as a chemist until he heard a calling from God and went back to school to become a minister. He graduated from Emmanuel School of Religion with two Masters Degrees, and started serving the community at Upper Shell Creek Christian Church in Roan Mountain, TN while earning his degrees. Ken ministered at Foscoe Christian Church in Foscoe, NC for 23 years and was a beloved fixture in the community. After “retirement,” he continued to preach as an interim minister for many years, and served as the Seniors Minister at First Christian Church of Mountain City for 15 years. 

Ken was an avid gardener, and he loved growing things. He grew a huge garden every year he could manage it, and passed that love down to his family (and all the goodies to many people in the community). He was extremely passionate about college basketball (GO CATS!), despite Linda’s best attempts to get him into hockey, and that love stayed with him even until his last days.

Above all, Ken Caswell was a child of God. He served God and others with a compassion and love that was visible to everyone who met him. He touched countless lives with his eloquent sermons, with his tireless work in the community, and with his relentless love of the people in and out of his care. A visit with Ken left everyone with something to ponder or wisdom to carry with them. He will be greatly missed.

Ken was preceded in death by his parents Esta Joseph and Goebel Caswell, and siblings Adrain Scott, Estella Marshall, Helen Noe, Edwin “Buddy” Caswell, and Robert “Bobby” Caswell. He is survived by his wife of 60 years Linda Poe Caswell; his son Kenneth Allen Caswell Jr. and wife Olympia Petrila Caswell of Franklin, MA; his daughter Mary “Missy” Caswell Taylor and husband David Taylor of Foscoe, NC; his grandchildren Mary Rachel Taylor of Chicago, IL, Rebecca Caswell Newberg of Minneapolis, MN, and Katherine Caswell of Cumberland, RI; his brothers EJ “Jay” Caswell Jr. and James “Jimmy” Caswell.

Private family graveside services were conducted at Mount Lawn Memorial Park & gardens, officiated by Pastor Christopher Wilson and Mr. Ronnie Hopper. 

A Celebration of Life service will be scheduled and announced at a later date. 

Memorials may be made to Foscoe Christian Church, 8834 NC Highway 105 South, Boone, NC  28607. 

Online condolences may be shared at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com

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


Johnny Ralph Hayes

1940 – 2021

Mr. Johnny Ralph Hayes, age 80, of Vilas, passed away Friday evening, March 12, 2021 at Watauga Medical Center.  Born October 16, 1940 in Watauga County, he was the son of the late William Ralph and Blanche Greene Hayes.  Johnny was a member of Rutherwood Baptist Church where he enjoyed singing in the choir and working around the church.  He was a retired building contractor and served in the National Guard for 22 years.  He was a member of American Legion Post 130.

He is survived by his wife, Sue Hayes, two sons, Doug Hayes of North Wilkesboro and Duane Hayes and wife Cyndie Dyer of Cary, two grandsons, Andrew and Simon Hayes of Cary, two step-children, Jim Parlier and wife Lori of Denver, NC and Michelle Williams and husband Chance of Newton, and two step-grandchildren, Josh Williams of Utah and Justin Harper of Baltimore, MD.

In addition to his parents he was preceded by an infant sister and a sister, Annette Hayes. 

Funeral services for Mr. Johnny Hayes will be conducted Tuesday morning, March 16, 2021 at 11 am at Austin & Barnes Funeral Home Chapel. Those attending the service are requested to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Burial with military honors provided by American Legion Post 130 will follow in the Adams Cemetery.  

Friends may visit Austin & Barnes Funeral Home, Monday, March 15, 2021 from noon until 5 pm to sign the guest register and pay their respects.  

Flowers are accepted or memorials may be made to Adams Cemetery Fund, in care of Jerry Greer, 3549 Old 421 South, Boone, NC 28607 or to Gideons International, Boone Camp, PO Box 3602, Boone, NC 28607.

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

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


Ronald Harmon

1947 – 2021

Mr. Ronald Harmon, age 73, of George Wilson Rd., Boone, passed away Saturday, March 13, 2021 at the Watauga Medical Center.  Born April 28, 1947 in Avery County, he was a son of Jacob and Pearl Brown Harmon.  Ron was a member of Beech Valley Baptist Church where he served as a Deacon and Choir Director.  After love of family, Ron enjoyed growing tobacco and raising the family vegetable gardens, and often could be heard quietly singing hymns and gospel music.  He retired from IRC-TRW in Boone.

Ron is survived by his daughter, Amanda Williams of Jefferson and his son, Myran Harmon of Boone; four grandchildren, Iain, Olivia, Aiden and Dylan Williams; sisters, Pansy Blevins and husband, Wilson, of Elk Park and Mary Presnell of Vilas; and brothers, Willard Harmon of Boone, and Clint Harmon, Clyde Harmon and wife, Virginia, and Ira Harmon and wife, Frances, all of Lenoir, and Lewis Harmon of Elk Park.   A number of nieces and nephews also survive.  He was preceded in death by his wife, Roetta ‘Roe’ Potter Harmon.

Graveside services for Ron Harmon will be conducted Wednesday morning, March 17, 2021, at 11 o’clock at the Sugar Grove Baptist Church Cemetery in Butler, Tennessee, officiated by Rev. Ray Greene.  

The family suggests memorials to Caldwell Hospice & Palliative Care, 902 Kirkwood Street SW, Lenoir, NC 28645.

Online condolences may be shared at austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com

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


Johnny Lee “John” Moore

January 22, 1946 – March 07, 2021

John Moore, age 75, of Stone Mountain Road, Vilas, passed away Sunday, March 7, 2021 at his residence.

Johnny Lee Moore was born January 22, 1946 to the late Ulysses and Addie Moore in Vilas, North Carolina.

He was baptized at an early age and became a member of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Vilas, NC. Johnny Lee went to Watauga Consolidated School, but finished high school at Appalachian High School, in Boone, North Carolina. He then continued his education at A&T College in
Greensboro, NC. Later he Johnny Lee was drafted in the army for 3 years. He then moved to Detroit, Michigan where he worked a short time at Ford & Chrysler. He returned home to work with Skyline Telephone Company where retired after 28 years of service.

Johnny Lee was preceded in death by his Father and Mother, Ulysses and Addie McQueen Moore; four sisters, Nancy Burkett Moore, Carolyn Moore, Lillian Moore, and Joyce Mae Moore; and six brothers, William Franklin, Clarence Moore, Eddie Moore, Grady Moore, Robert Moore
and Joe Moore.

He was survived by his sister, Joann Moore of Vilas, NC; one Sister-In-Law, Mickie (Edwin) Moore of Shelbyville, TN; one brother, Landon Moore of Detroit, MI. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services for John Moore will be conducted Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 3:00 o’clock at Hampton Funeral Home Chapel. The body will lie in state from 2:00 until 3:00. Interment will follow in the Moore Family Cemetery. Military honors will be provided by the American Legion, Post 130 and DAV, Chapter 90. 

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

The service will be live streamed at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8395689983?pwd=c2NYYm9qNjYxaUhSQWxqdlRWcW1LZz09

Flowers are appreciated or memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 1300 Baxter Street, Suite 150, Charlotte, North Carolina 28204.

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

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


Mary Miller Setzer

April 05, 1952 – March 08, 2021

Mary Miller Setzer, age 68, of Zionville, passed away Monday, March 8, 2021 at her residence.

She was born April 5, 1952 in Mitchell County, the daughter of the late Francy Miller and Bell Styles Miller.

She is survived by two daughters, Daphne Houchins and husband David of Erwin, Tennessee and Susan Mellor and fiancee Emmett Davis of Lawrenceville, Georgia; one granddaughter, Madison Seekins of Bakersville, North Carolina; one brother, Tom Miller and wife Lori of Creston; two sisters, Susan Higdon and husband Bill of Creston and Doris McClain of Jacksonville, Florida. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

In addition to her father and mother she was preceded in death by her husband, Warren Setzer, two granddaughters, Janie Nicole Seekins and Kinsey Elise Mellor, and one brother, Park Miller.

Graveside service and burial will be conducted Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 2:00 o’clock, at Proffitt’s Grove Baptist Church Cemetery. Pastor Delmar James will officiate.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care of the High Country, 902 Kirkwood Street, Lenoir, North Carolina 28645. 

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

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


Ross Anthony Garulski

July 14, 1941 – March 10, 2021

Ross Garulski died on the morning of Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Ross passed peacefully at home surrounded by family in the place he loved best. He was born in Saranac Lake, NY and over the course of his life he lived in Florida, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

After serving as a United States Marine, Ross entered the Postal Service in 1964, starting at loading mail trucks and rising through the ranks until he retired as a senior executive in 1998. Over a long career, he held many positions, most notably as Plant Manager at the Philadelphia Processing & Distribution Center, serving as the Postmaster of Raleigh, NC, and as the Postmaster of Boone, NC. He received numerous achievements and acknowledgements, but his proudest accomplishments were always for the people he mentored and advised who went on to achieve distinctions of their own.

Ross was a voracious reader who filled his home and his life with books. He was incomparably knowledgeable about the rock ‘n roll music and cars of the 1950s. He loved his Harley. Ross always loved food and the fellowship of meals with others, so cooking became a great passion for him after retirement. Ross placed the greatest importance on people. He treasured his close friends and neighbors, and, above all, Ross was completely devoted to his family. He was an extraordinary person dedicated to reason, fair play, and directness. His wisdom and formidable intellect, his advice and his brilliant humor will be forever missed.

Ross was preceded in death by his father Elmer Garulski and his mother Brickey Garulski. Ross is survived by his beloved wife of nearly sixty years, Donna Garulski of Boone, NC, his son Jim Garulski and his wife Liza of Vienna, VA, his daughter Jennifer Garulski Stas and her husband Steve of Wake Forest, NC, his sister Beverly Quigley of Manchester, NY, and many nieces and nephews.

 Funeral services will be held on Saturday, March 20 at 11 am at St. Elizabeth of the Hill Country Catholic Church in Boone, NC. Burial will occur this spring in Saranac Lake, NY.

The family will receive visitors at the Hampton Funeral Home in Boone, NC on Friday, March 19 from 6 pm to 8 pm.

The Garulski family is forever grateful to the superb support of the Caldwell Hospice. Any charitable donations in Ross’s name could be directed either there (caldwellhospice.org) or to the Watauga Humane Society (wataugahumane.org). 

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

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


Charlie Cline Coffey

April 27, 1934 – March 13, 2021

Charlie Cline Coffey, age 86, of Flat Springs Road, Elk Park, passed away, Saturday, March 13, 2021 at Watauga Medical Center.

He is survived by one daughter, Brenda Coffey Isaacs of Sugar Grove; two sons, Richard Cline Coffey and Randall Wayne Coffey both of Elk Park; two grandsons, Josiah David Isaacs of Boone and Andrew Joshua Isaacs of Sugar Grove; one sister, Mallie Christine Coffey Clark of Raleigh.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Joannne Phillips Coffey. His father and mother, William McKinley Coffey and Annie Lee Crump Coffey; step-father, Wheeler Eden Coffey; one granddaughter, Faith Elizabeth Isaacs; six sisters, Willie Coffey, Wilma Coffey, Dorothy Coffey, Pauline Coffey Sprouse, Shirley Coffey Burse and Lorene Coffey Goodwin; and, two brothers, Roy Coffey and Paul Coffey.

Charlie was known for his big heart and his love and care for others. He had many responsibilities early on in life and took on the role of “father and provider” to his younger siblings when his father, McKinley, died unexpectedly from cancer. Later, at the age of 36 as Charlie was providing for his own wife and children while working at a carbon manufacturing facility in Morganton NC, he slipped and fell into a pit of carbon. A dear friend, David Dale, Sr. rescued him from that pit but Charlie was left with brain and mental impairment along with severe lung issues. These impairments would span the remainder of his life — nearly 51 more years. 

This “gift” of adversity was a difficult adjustment for Charlie as well as his young wife and very young children. He was no longer able to work on a public job (carpentry, landscaping or manufacturing). This gift of adversity taught he and his family about: perseverance, overcoming obstacles, the depth of God’s love, and the blessings and riches of obedience. They not only learned to care for him and each other but his neighbors as well. Some were hardened and embittered by this life challenge. Others  were broken and softened in the Master Potter’s hands. ( Romans 8:28)

It was nearly 20 years from the time of the industrial accident before a new trial medication was found that brought back the joy of life, both to him and the family home. In the meantime, he never met a stranger, and in spite of his own challenges remained a hard worker in his family’s vegetable gardens and other work on the family farm. His generosity saw that visitors of family and friends alike never left empty handed. Whether it was potatoes, fresh green onions or even jams and jellies, his hands remained open and generous to all.

Another avenue that Charlie found which eased his anxieties and helped to soothe his many fears was gospel music. He loved tuning into local radio or tv stations back in the day and letting the words of each song wash over him. It wasn’t long until his toe was tapping and his hands were clapping along with the beat.

Over the past few years, his family used music therapy to ease his anxiousness when he longed to be active with long walks or gardening but was unable to do so because of his poor health. Many nights were spent with Gaither tunes and other gospel music.

Funeral services for Charlie Cline Coffey will be conducted Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 5:30 PM at Flat Springs Baptist Church of the Old Beech Mountain Community. Pastor Bryan Miller, Pastor Tim Green and Pastor Gordon Noble will officiate. Interment will follow in Flat Springs Baptist Church Cemetery. 

The body will lie in state from 4:00 until 5:30 p.m., at the church prior to the service.

The service will be conducted inside the church. The family respectfully request masks be worn at all times and social distancing be practiced. Parking lot radio will be available for those who feel more comfortable in their automobile. The service will be broadcast on 87.9 FM. The service is also being recorded and will be posted later in the week. Please reach out to bacisaacs2@gmail.com for a copy of the link to the service. The link will also be posted in the Coffey Family Prayer Group on FB Messenger.

The body will lie in state at the chapel from 1:00 until 5:00 Tuesday, so friends may pay their respect and sign the guest registry. 

Flowers are appreciated or memorials may be made to Flat Springs Baptist Church Benevolence Fund c/o Elmer Jones, 1212 Highway 321 North. Sugar Grove, North Carolina 28679 or to Medi Home Hospice, 1955 Newland HWY, Newland, NC 28657.

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

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


Lionel Lefty Baron

August 02, 1929 – March 15, 2021

Lionel “Lefty” Baron, 91, passed away on March 15, 2021, at his home in Boone, NC after a brief illness surrounded by his family.

He was born on August 2, 1929, to parents William and Clara Baron of South Berwick, ME. He graduated from Berwick Academy, where he played four years of baseball and basketball. After high school, he played several years of semi-pro baseball for the South Berwick Boys Club and other teams in Dover, Somersworth, and Rochester, NH. In 1949-1950, he was signed to a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers minor league team.

His aspiring baseball career was cut short by the Korean War. Lefty spent two years in the U.S. Army, mostly in Germany and France. After leaving the Army, he met the love of his life, Lorraine St.Pierre, when Lefty’s sister married Lorraine’s cousin; they married in 1953 and settled in Sanford, Maine, raising three children, all girls.

Lefty worked for many years with the youth of Sanford, ME as a pitching instructor, from Babe Ruth through high school baseball, mostly notably assisting the Sanford High School baseball team as the volunteer pitching coach for nine years. He was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987. He was very proud and very appreciative of this honor.

He worked in grocery stores as a department manager all of his working life, first for Roger’s Supa Dalla in Sanford, ME, then at the Wells IGA for the last 13 of his working years before retiring at age 65. 

After retirement, Lefty and his wife moved to Vero Beach, FL and lived there for nine years. He remained active by playing softball and tennis throughout his time in Florida. They moved to Seven Devils, NC in 2002, then moved to Boone a few years later. Lefty played tennis four days a week at Sugar Mountain through his mid-80s. Lefty was a sociable, happy go lucky person. He had a great sense of humor which was often remarked upon by others. He was always eager to start up a conversation or joke around a little with everyone he met. Lefty loved the Boone Chick-Fil-A where he went for lunch almost every day. His family will always be so thankful to Terese and Scott and the entire staff for their many kindnesses to “Lionel” throughout the years.

The family wishes to thank Daniel Chase for his caring assistance to Lefty during the last few years of his life. Daniel’s patience, genuine concern and dedication to Lefty’s wellbeing is deeply appreciated and will be forever remembered by Lefty’s family.

Lefty is pre-deceased by his wife Lorraine, his grandson Christopher Devoe of Cumberland, ME, his brother Adelard Baron of Somersworth, NH, and his sister Lily St.Pierre of Long Island, NY. He is survived by three daughters and their husbands, Linda and David Liddle of Valle Crucis, NC, Anita and Gary Barros of Derry, NH, Janet, and William Devoe of Cumberland, ME, his granddaughter Samantha Barros of Nashville, TN, and his nephew Lenny Baron of South Berwick, ME.

There will be no service at this time; a celebration of his life will be scheduled at a later date.

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

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

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


Raylend Lee Gordon

January 9, 2020 – March 11, 2021

Raylend Lee Gordon, 1, of Newland, passed away on Thursday, March 11, 2021 in Avery County, North Carolina. He was born on January 9, 2020 to Jeremy Gordon and Vanessa Crites in Watauga County. He was preceded in death by his Great Grandmother’s, Janet Stewart and Billie Joe Crites.

In addition to his parents, those left to cherish his memory are his Brother, Delain Boggs of Elk Park; Grandparents, Jennifer and Michael Ebling of Ocklawaha, FL; Grandmother, Linda Everts; Grandfather, Chris Edwards Crites; Great Grandfather, Frank Crites; Uncle, Chris Ryan Crites; and four

Aunts, Kaitlin and Ashley Ebling, Diana Crites and Tiffany Gibson.

Memorial services will be held on Thursday, March 18, 2021 in the Grandfather Chapel at Reins Sturdivant Funeral Home in Newland starting at 5:30 PM.

The family will receive friends prior to the service from 4:30 to 5:30 at the Funeral Home.

These are my footprints,

so perfect and so small.

These tiny footprints

never touched the ground at all.

Not one tiny footprint,

for now I have wings.

These tiny footprints were meant

for other things.

You will hear my tiny footprints,

in the patter of the rain.

Gentle drops like angel’s tears,

of joy and not from pain.

You will see my tiny footprints,

in each butterflies lazy dance.

I’ll let you know I’m with you,

if you just give me a chance.

You will see my tiny footprints,

in the rustle of the leaves.

I will whisper names into the wind,

and call each one that grieves.

Most of all, these tiny footprints,

Are found on Mommy and Daddy’s hearts.

Cause even though I’m gone now,

We’ll never truly part.

-Author Unknown-

Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the family by visiting our website www.rsfh.net The care of Raylend and family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.


Wade Edward King

September 18, 1954 – March 11, 2021

Wade Edward King, 66 of Newland, NC passed on to his eternal home Thursday, March 11, 2021 at his residence. Wade was preceded in death by his parents Charles Earnest and Olivia Brewer King, two brothers Wayne and Terry and a special nephew Mark. Surviving are siblings Wanda and Jerry along with many nieces and nephews. An Avery County native, he loved these mountains and the little hollar where he was raised and lived out his life. A shrubbery man and landscaper by trade, the outdoors and his love for God’s handiwork brought him much joy and a good living. He took great pleasure in making sure his yard was impeccable, that bushes were trimmed and pruned properly and if you were his friend, he made sure your yard was full of beautiful flowering shrubs, perennials and boxwoods as well. He had a lifelong love affair with music, his guitar, a banjo, English boxwoods and chocolate. Music ran through his veins. He not only passed on talent to his son and grandsons but also many instruments along the way. He enjoyed collecting antiques, coins and good junk. He was quick witted and always had a classic cliché or a clever one you’d never heard. His humor always lit the room. His handwriting was eloquent and admired by all who were lucky enough to receive cards and letters from him. He was an outstanding storyteller and loved sharing tales and life experiences with his children and grandchildren. He wore cut offs and Birkenstocks and made anything look cool. He had a couple four legged friends, Sam and Hankie Jo who were his constant companions. There was much to be learned from him, how to make something out of nothing, how to love your land, beautify and protect it, how to work hard and never give up on things or people you believe in and most importantly how to fear the Lord and share His love. He held a special place in his heart for the homeless and hurting and those who were less fortunate. He loved God and studied His Word, hiding it in his heart and mind. His life here wasn’t always an easy one, he said many times, ‘it was God who brought me through that’. He had a raging perseverance in his bones and always came out on top. Wade was remarkably proud of his wife of 42 years and the love of his life Ann, his children Michele and Josh, his son in law Charley, and grandchildren Spencer, Carter, Lily Grace and Silas Dearmin, all of whom he loved fiercely and unconditionally. The family celebrated his life with a private service in a beautiful spot he called his Little Piece of Heaven. The family would like to thank Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, Carol Smith, Abby Greene and Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home for their care of Wade and his family. In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care.

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

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