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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – March 22, 2022

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



Bill F. Hensley

January 23, 1926 – March 11, 2022

Bill F. Hensley of Charlotte died March 11, 2022, at the age of 96. He was a well-known public relations executive noted for his many talents as a writer, lecturer, and promoter. His byline appeared in countless newspapers and magazines for over 70 years.           

A mountain man, he was born January 23, 1926, in Asheville, a son of Ida and Willard Hensley. He was graduated from Lee H. Edwards High School in 1943. A Navy Seabee veteran of World War II, he served 18 months in the South Pacific on Tinian and Okinawa.

After the war, he enrolled at Wake Forest University and was graduated in 1950 with a BA degree in English. A campus leader, he was editor of the Old Gold and Black newspaper, president of the publications board, a member of Alpha Sigma Phi, and was cited as one of ten outstanding seniors. He was elected to membership in Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership fraternity.

He began his professional career in 1950 as a sportswriter for the Asheville Citizen before becoming an FBI agent. With the bureau, he served in the New Haven, CT, and Chicago offices and as a rookie agent in Connecticut apprehended two fugitives in one day.

When the Atlantic Coast Conference was formed in 1953, he was named Wake Forest’s first Sports Information Director. After two years, he accepted the same job at NC State — where he handled media relations for the ACC and Dixie Classic tournaments — and was there five years until moving to Charlotte in 1960.

He was director of Travel and Tourism for the state of North Carolina from 1965 to l971 and won numerous national awards for advertising and promotional excellence. He was elected the first chairperson of the National Association of State Travel Directors (all 50 states) as well as the Southern Travel Directors Council (11 states).        

Hensley formed his own public relation firm in 1977 and was known as the dean of the state’s PR practitioners. His accounts included some of the nation’s finest resorts and companies. A talented, creative writer, he specialized in golf, business, and travel and was noted for lively stories that took readers behind the scenes.           

For more than 40 years, he conducted popular seminars on media relations, crisis management, publicity, and public relations and was a mentor to numerous industry newcomers. In 1995, he organized the prestigious NC golf panel to rate the state’s golf courses. He was also noted for giving the North Carolina mountains the promotional name “High Country,” a byword that is now a tradition throughout the mountain area.

He was named to the North Carolina Journalism/Public Relations Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame, and the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame. He won the Charles Kuralt Award in 2001, the Parker Award in 1975, the Winners Circle in 2010, and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for his accomplishments and leadership in tourism. Appalachian State University named him one of North Carolina’s tourism pioneers of the 20th century.

Hensley was chairperson of Charlotte’s successful campaign for mixed beverages in 1978 and was a founder and the first chairperson of the Charlotte Convention and Visitors Bureau, now the CRVA. He was also a founder of the Sportsman’s Club of Charlotte.

He was a member of several professional organizations, including the Golf Writers Association of America and the Society of American Travel Writers, where he was a former chairperson of the Eastern chapter and national secretary-treasurer. He earned that group’s highest honor, the Marco Polo distinction.

An active civic leader, Hensley served as president of the Piedmont Club, Charlotte Skål Club, Travel Council of North Carolina, NC Sports Hall of Fame, Sportsman’s Club of Charlotte, NC Ex-FBI Agents Association., and the Charlotte Public Relations Society.

Hensley was a resident of The Cypress and served on the retirement community’s board of directors. He was a longtime member of Myers Park United Methodist Church, Charlotte Country Club, and the Country Club of North Carolina. A veteran traveler, he visited 49 states (missing North Dakota) and more than 60 foreign countries on six continents.

His hobbies were golf, hunting, skiing, and listening to Big Band music. He was well-known and admired for his unique sense of humor and outgoing personality, his deep love of family, friends, the outdoors, and the NC mountains.

Hensley was married for 51 years to the love of his life, the former Carol Moore of Raleigh. The couple had a wonderful life together until her death from lung cancer on November 24, 2006. He is survived by sons Bruce (Jill), Steven (Emily), and David; and daughter, Karen Rockecharlie, and her husband, Ned; seven grandchildren, Kristen Hensley Claghorn, Logan Hensley, Elizabeth Hensley Ames, Caroline Hensley, Patrick Hensley, Robert Rockecharlie and Tucker Rockecharlie; four great-grandchildren; and a sister, Margaret King of Asheville. He was predeceased by brothers Guy Hensley of Asheville and Charles Hensley of Burlington.

He is also survived by his dear friend and companion Marjorie James of Charlotte.

The family is grateful for the loving care and attention he received at the Stewart Health Center at The Cypress.

A memorial service will be held at 3:00 PM, Wednesday, March 30, 2022, at Myers Park Methodist Church, 1501 Queens Road, Charlotte, NC 28207. The family will receive visitors in Jubilee Hall at the church after the service. Memorials may be made to Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC 27109), Myers Park Methodist Church, or to the donor’s favorite charity.



Lucia “Noel” Todd McLaughlin

December 5, 1955 – March 18, 2022

Born in LaGrange, IN, she was the daughter of the late Channing Todd and the late Judy and Hugh Edsall. She grew up in Ligonier and South Bend, IN, and in Asheville, NC.

She retired in 2019 after a career in strategic communications, public relations and journalism that spanned more than 40 years. She also worked as a high school English teacher when she graduated from Appalachian State University in 1978.

She most recently served as director of marketing and communications for the North Carolina Community Foundation, a position she held for 10 years.

Her career in corporate communications spanned nearly 20 years. She led the communications department for First Citizens BancShares, the parent company of the largest family-controlled bank in the United States. She also led her own strategic communications company, which served corporate, small business and non-profit clients for five years.

She was co-founder of The Mountain Times, a weekly newspaper that remains in print in North Carolina’s High Country. She has worked as a newspaper editor, reporter and photographer.

Noel’s community leadership over the span of her career included service on the Hussman School Alumni Board at UNC; board member, the William C. Friday Fellowship Program of the Wildacres Leadership Initiative; board and development chair for the NC Center for Nonprofits; board member for the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce; president of Leadership Raleigh Alumni Association; founding board member of Kids Voting Wake County; and board member of the Food Bank of North Carolina, now Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC.

McLaughlin received numerous professional honors and awards over the years for community leadership, writing, corporate broadcast news production and communications, and marketing campaigns – including an international award for annual reports.

She graduated cum laude from Appalachian State University in 1978 and received her master’s degree in journalism in 1986 from the Hussman School of Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In retirement she returned to education as a substitute teacher in Wake County Public Schools, worked for the NC Board of Elections and volunteered at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Of her many accomplishments she was most proud of her children with her husband Michael Ralph McLaughlin, twins John McLaughlin of Raleigh and Claire McLaughlin of Asheville. Her devotion to and love for her children was unparalleled.

In addition to her husband and children, she is survived by her beloved son-in-law, Kevin Proum. She is also survived by siblings John Todd, Terry Langdon, Beth Chamberlain, Margaret Krantz, and Jim Edsall; father-in-law Ralph McLaughlin; siblings-in-law Linda LaRose, Donna Otto, Pat McLaughlin and Beth McLaughlin; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Services will be in Charlotte and Raleigh.

On Wednesday, March 23, a graveside service will be held at noon at Back Creek Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, 1821 Back Creek Church Road, Charlotte. The family will receive friends in the old fellowship hall afterwards.

Sunday, March 27, services will be at 2 p.m. at Church of the Nativity, 8849 Ray Road, Raleigh. The family will receive friends in the parish hall following the service.

Flowers are welcome and donations may be made to the North Carolina Community Foundation, the UNC Hussman School of Journalism, the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC, Transitions LifeCare of Raleigh, or the charity of your choice.



Donna Lois Townsend

1963 – 2022

Donna Lois Hagaman Townsend, 59, of Poplar Grove, Boone, passed away March 15th at Watauga Medical Center. Born February 18, 1963, she was the daughter of Jimmie and Ruby Hagaman.

Donna was a woman who always had a smile on her face and whose kindness, love, and compassion touched every person she knew.

She is survived by her beloved husband, Barry of Boone, her daughter Patricia and husband Christian, of Boone, her dad, Jimmie Hagaman, of Sugar Grove, her brother David and wife Kathy, of Oak Island, and a number of other loved and cherished family members, including her Ingles family. She was preceded in death by her mother, Ruby Presnell Hagaman, and one sister, Patricia Hagaman.

Funeral services for Donna Townsend will be conducted Friday, March 18, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. in the Austin & Barnes Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will follow in the White Cemetery on Shulls Mill Road.
The family will receive friends prior to the service from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Friday in the funeral home.

Memorial donations may be made to the funeral home to help with funeral arrangements.

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

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



Mitchell Archie Pardue


Mitchell Archie Pardue, 69, of Boone, NC, passed away on March 6, 2022, in St. Eustatius, Caribbean Netherlands. Scuba diving was his passion, and we find comfort in knowing that Mitch perished doing what he loved. Mitch became a father late in life, and what JOY his young son brought him.
Mitch was born May 5, 1952, in Durham, NC, to the late Daniel Walker and Kathleen Wilborn Pardue. He was raised in southern Guilford County, where his siblings still reside. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a nephew, Chris Linkous.

Survivors include his wife, Anna Gates, and son, Owen Pardue; brothers Joel Pardue (Barbara), Rocky Pardue (Joyce), and Gary Pardue; sisters Janie Clapp (Ronnie), Marty Thompson (Billy), and Danelle Linkous; special uncle Archie Wilborn (Margaret) of Mebane, NC; in-laws Thomas Gates, Marian Herbert, Virginia Staton, and Wayne Fee, all of Boone, NC; sister-in-law Tracy Fee, of Raleigh, NC; numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins; and countless friends.

Mitch graduated in 1970 from Southeast Guilford High School, where he excelled in academics and athletics, namely baseball. He attended Appalachian State University from 1970 to 1975 on a full athletic scholarship, and majored in Psychology. In addition to being a starting pitcher on the ASU baseball team for four years, he played on the ASU basketball team his freshman year.

After college, Mitch spent time working various jobs, before deciding to pursue a career in scuba diving. He opened Two Worlds Divers in 1990, and spent the next 32 years teaching diving and leading dive trips. At the time of his death, he was a scuba instructor in the ASU physical education department.
A celebration of life will be held Saturday, April 9th, at 1:00 pm, at Faithbridge United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends from 11am – 1pm.

Memorial contributions may be made for the benefit of Owen Pardue, State Employees Credit Union, 410 New Market Blvd Boone, NC 28607; Faithbridge United Methodist Church, 194 Aho Rd Blowing Rock, NC 28605; or an Ocean charity of your choosing.



Tracy Phillip Church

June 6, 1968 – March 19, 2022

Tracy Phillip Church, age 53, of Deep Gap, passed away Saturday, March 19, 2022.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be announced.

Online Condolences may be sent to the Church family at www.hamptonfuneralnc.com

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



Elizabeth Eldreth Isaacs

March 2, 1941 – March 21, 2022

Elizabeth Eldreth Isaacs, age 81, of Boone, passed away Monday, March 21, 2022, at The Foley Center.

She was born March 2, 1941, in Watauga County. A daughter of the late Worth and Marie Eldreth. She was a homemaker and a member of Three Forks Baptist Church.

She is survived by three daughters, Debbie Blake and husband Randy of Vilas; Patricia Ward and husband James of Elk Park and Janet Isaacs of the home; one sister, Shirley Eldreth Hamby of Boone and one brother, Bobby Eldreth of Lenoir; four grandchildren and seven 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, Paul William Isaacs, one son, Bobby Ray Isaacs, one granddaughter, April Eggers, three brothers, James and Junior Eldreth and Lee Roy Calhoun, one sister, Rose Cook.

Funeral services for Elizabeth Eldreth Isaacs will be conducted Friday, March 25, 2022, at 11:00 AM at Three Forks Baptist Church. The body will lie in state at the church from 10:00 until 11:00. Reverend Ben Bolick and Reverend Lynn Powers will officiate. Interment will follow in Mount Lawn Memorial Park and Gardens.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Three Forks Baptist Church, 1922 US Highway 421 S Boone, North Carolina 28607.

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

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



Charles “Chip” Heath

January 2, 1946 – March 20, 2022

Charles “Chip” Heath, age 76, of Banner Elk, North Carolina passed away on Sunday, March 20, 2022 at Deerfield Ridge Assisted Living in Boone, NC.

Chip was born January 2, 1946, in Oakland, California. He was a graduate of the University of Central Florida where he played on the tennis team. He loved his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, his family, friends and the mountains of North Carolina.

Survivors include his son David Heath and wife Michele of Holly Springs, NC and their son Jackson Charles, his only grandchild.

He was preceded in death by his wife Ann Rouzer Heath of Banner Elk, his father Charles Malone Heath and his mother Erma Black Heath.

A time to come together and visit with the family will be on Saturday, March 26, 2022 from 3:30 pm until 4:30 pm at Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home in Newland.

In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to Alzheimer’s Association or the charity of your choice.
A special thank you to Arbor Dale Presbyterian Church, Deerfield Ridge Assisted Living Memory Care and Medi Home Health and Hospice for the prayers, hospitality, care and family support shared during the last few years.

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

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