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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – March 31, 2020

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

Barbara Ann Whittington
1932 – 2020

Barbara Jackson Whittington of Boone, North Carolina passed on to her eternal home Thursday, March 26, 2020.

A native of Watauga County, she was born on August 24, 1932 to the late Andrew Jackson and Lillie Frances Jackson. Barbara resided in Boone where she worked and raised her family. Her former employers were Watauga County Hospital and IRC. She also worked as a beloved housekeeper before retiring.

Barbara loved school and was the valedictorian of her high school graduating class at Watauga Consolidated School. She shared many stories of her days in school, but the one that stood out was the story of her teacher grooming another student for a chance at winning the Veteran of Foreign War essay contest. Barbara believed she too could write a winning essay and took the challenge. Her hard work and determination paid off. She won the essay contest and was awarded a $ 100 War Bond and a special honorary dinner for she and her classmates. That was probably the beginning of her love for reading and writing poetry. She often wrote poems about her dear Savior and loved ones and shared them with her family.

After the Boone Chapel Methodist Church doors closed, where Barbara had been a long time member, The Boone Mennonite Brethren Church became her church family. She was known to her family as a prayer warrior. She also enjoyed crafting and making jewelry, listening and singing along with gospel music, coloring and word puzzles, and spending time with her great grandchildren. She was a sweet loving mother, grandmother, sister, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and will be dearly missed by all.

In addition to her parents, she was also preceded in death by her beloved husband, Linnie Frederick Whittington.

Those left to cherish and honor her memory include her daughter, Donna Whittington of Boone, two sons; Terry Whittington of Hudson , and Randy Whittington and wife Gina of Surfside Beach, S.C., one brother, Jim Jackson and wife Theresa, and daughter Cecilia of Granite Falls. Three grandchildren; April Learned, Chase Whittington and Jason Barnes. Six great grandchildren also survive.

Proverbs 31:31 NIV Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gates.

Due to the current state of emergency and CDC guidelines and in an effort to exercise an abundance of caution, the family is holding a private service. But the family would like to thank each person who has reached out to offer prayer and condolences during our time of bereavement. Online condolences may be shared with the Whittington family at the website www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com. Austin and Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Whittington family.

Jesse Rex Weaver
1978 – 2020

Jesse Rex Weaver, age 41, of Pottertown Road, Todd, passed away March 27, 2020 at his home. Born July 25, 1978 in Watauga County, he was a son of Evelyn Lewis Weaver and the late Rexford Clyde Weaver. Before his disability, Jesse was employed as a truck driver for the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Jesse loved his family, and especially spending quality time with his children. His favorite hobby was customizing and painting cars, especially re-creating the ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ car logo. He was a member of Elk Knob Baptist Church.

Jesse is survived by his children, Saydie, Memphis and Maverick Weaver, and the mother of his children, Amanda Weaver; his mother, Evelyn Weaver of Todd; and brothers, Terry Weaver and wife, Heather, of Lenoir and Travis Weaver and wife, Melissa, of Boone. Several nieces and nephews also survive.

Graveside services, officiated by Rev. Derick Wilson, is for the immediate family and will be private. In memory of Jesse, a public memorial service will be scheduled and announced at a later date.

Memorials may be made to Austin & Barnes Funeral Home or to the Weaver family to assist with expenses.

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

Edgar Jackson Swift

Edgar Jackson Swift, 87, of Albany, Georgia, died March 28, 2020 at Wynfield Park Health and Rehabilitation Center. A private family graveside service will be held at Floral Memory Gardens Cemetery. Rev. Paul Wilkes will officiate.

Mr. Swift was born in Shouns, Tennessee to James Dewey and Auriola Nicola Swift. He served in the United States Army. He was employed with Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in New Castle, IN and then in Albany, Georgia for thirty years. He was a member of Faith Baptist Church and the Men’s Sunday School Class. He loved to fish and spend time with his family.He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Peggy Swift.

Survivors include his children, Jeff A. (Sherry) Swift of Lee County, GA, Judy S. (Ryan) Dunnagan of Brunswick, GA, Janice S. (John) Eudy of Lee County, GA, grandchildren, Jennifer S. (Blake) Castleberry, of Lee County, GA, Amanda S. (Jerrid) Procter, Jacksonville, NC, Lauren D. (Joseph) Moody of Brunswick, GA, Lindsey D. (Andrew) Fralish of Fountain, CO, Clint (Jordan) Eudy of Lee County, GA, Alana E. (Blake) Bobe of Albany, GA, great-grandchildren, Mathew Land, Sarah Land, Kylee Castleberry, Harper Castleberry, Hailey Procter, Emmalee Procter, Ashley Procter, Lillee Procter, Blakely Bobe, and Lilah Moody.Those desiring may make memorials in memory of Mr. Swift to Faith Baptist Church, 1824 Oakridge Drive, Albany, GA, 31721.


Shirley Rogers Triplett

January 22, 1937 – March 25, 2020

Shirley Rogers Triplett, age 83, of Rogers Drive, Boone, passed away Wednesday morning, March 25, 2020, at Watauga Medical Center in Boone.

Shirley was born January 22, 1937 in Watauga County, a daughter of the late Henry Turner Rogers, Sr. and Viola Winkler Rogers. She was a retired assembly line employee for Blue Ridge Shoe Company in Boone, and was a member of Greenway Baptist Church.

Shirley is survived by one son, Ronnie Triplett and wife Lynn Ann DeGregoria of Hampton, Virginia; four daughters, Teresa Triplett Schroen of Augusta, Georgia, Karen Sue Triplett, Stephanie Lynn Triplett, Maria Elizabeth Triplett, all of Boone; two grandsons, Steven Nicholas Triplett of Boone, and Jonathan Harley Schroen of Augusta, Georgia, and one brother, H.T. Rogers, Jr.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Harley Lee Triplett, and three sisters, Joyce Rogers, Betty Sue Gamble, and Nettie Lou Hampton.

Memorial services for Shirley Rogers Triplett will be conducted later this Spring at Greenway Baptist Church in Boone.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Triplett family, in care of Hampton Funeral Service, Inc., 683 Blowing Rock Road, Boone, North Carolina, 28607.

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

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


Nell Lowe Edmisten

May 31, 1930 – March 25, 2020

Nell Lowe Edmisten, age 89, of Boone, passed away Wednesday morning, March 25, 2020, at Deerfield Ridge Assisted Living in Boone.

Nell is survived by two daughters, Jenell Yoda and husband David of Independence, Missouri, and Wynne Strickland and husband Ben of Boone; one sister, Rhyne McCumby of Little River, North Carolina; three grandsons, Daniel Yoka of Independence, Missouri, Benjamin Strickland, and Eric Strickland, both of Boone; two great-granddaughters, Scarlett and Sawyer Yoka of Independence, Missouri, one sister-in-law, Ina Edmisten of Charlotte; one nephew, Stephen McCumby of California, and one niece, Mary Baltimore of Virginia.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Elisha Hal Edmisten; her father and mother, Hugh Thomas Lowe and Mary McCulloch Lowe, and one brother, Hugh Lowe.

Memorial services for Nell Lowe Edmisten will be conducted at Hampton Funeral Home Chapel at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church of Boone, 375 West King Street, Boone, North Carolina, 28607, or to the Watauga County Project on Aging, 132 Poplar Grove Connector, Suite A, Boone, North Carolina, 28607.

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

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


Hazel Cable Farthing

December 06, 1924 – March 27, 2020

Hazel Cable Farthing, age 95, of Bethel Road, Vilas, passed away peacefully at her home, with her family by her side, Friday evening, March 27, 2020.

Mrs. Farthing was born December 6, 1924 in Watauga County. The daughter of the late William Lee Cable and Sena Johnson Cable. She was a homemaker and the oldest member of Bethel Baptist Church.

She is survived by one son, Len Farthing and wife Brenda of Vilas; two daughters, Patti Hensley and husband Keith of Vilas and Debbie Farthing of the home; two granddaughters, Amanda Huff and husband Todd of Deep Gap and Cora Jean Hensley of Vilas; two grandsons, Joel Byron Farthing and wife Nicole of Vilas and David Lance Farthing and wife Taylor of Easley, South Carolina; two great-granddaughters, Hattie Mae Farthing of Vilas and Mia Len Huff of Deep Gap and one great grandson, Grady Colt Farthing of Vilas. She is also survived by a number of nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her husband, Edmund Jones Farthing, Jr. two sons, Lance and Byron Farthing, two sisters, Dosha Wilson and Lena Edmisten and five brothers, Dwight, Spencer, Frank, Howard and Hal Cable.

Graveside funeral services for Hazel Cable Farthing will be conducted Monday, March 30, 2020 at 2:00 o’clock at C.S. Farthing Cemetery in Bethel. Pastor Charlie Martin and Pastor Ethan Greene will officiate.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the C.S. Farthing Cemetery Fund, in care of Clifford Farthing, 217 Branch Crossing, Sugar Grove, North Carolina 28679 or to Medi Home Hospice, 400 Shadowline Drive, Boone, North Carolina 28607.

The family would like to express their sincere gratitude to the staff and nurses of Medi Home Hospice for their loving care of Mrs. Farthing.

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

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


Wayne W. Otto

July 16, 1955 – March 31, 2020

Wayne W. Otto, 64, of Wildwood Lane, Boone, passed way Tuesday morning, March 31, 2020, at Watauga Medical Center in Boone.

Funeral arrangements for Wayne W. Otto are incomplete at this time.

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

Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements

Ralph Atlas Baird
June 1, 1930 – March 24, 2020

Ralph Atlas Baird, age 89, joined his beloved “Betsy” in their heavenly home on March 24, 2020. He passed peacefully at home surrounded by his family. Ralph was born on June 1, 1930 to the late Charles (Charlie) Bosler Baird and Virginia (Virgie) Banner Baird. In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by two brothers, Charles (Bill) Baird & Johnny Baird. Two siblings left to share his memories are Jean (Boyte) Lutz of Shelby, NC and Guy (Ingrid) Baird of Pittsboro, NC.

Ralph married the love of his life, Betty Jean Daniels on April 7, 1951. He was a devoted & loving husband, as well as, father to his four children; Peggy Baird of Newland, Jim (Vickie) Baird of Fall Branch, TN; Ben (Bev) Baird of Newland and Patricia (Norm) Potter of Lewisville, NC.

Ralph served in the US Air force for two years beginning in 1950. Upon discharge from service he began his 33 year career with the Newland Post Office, serving as a rural mail carrier. In addition to his postal work, he & Betty worked together both as parents and as caretakers of the Baird farm.

In 1978 Ralph & son, Ben established B &R Nursery where they worked together for many years growing and harvesting Christmas trees. In 2003, Ralph & Ben Baird families were recognized by NC Farm Bureau as the Farm Family of Year.

Ralph was an active member of Avery County Lions Club serving in various capacities for many years including District Governor of District 31-B. In 1973 he was chosen by the Avery Chamber of Commerce as Avery County’s Man of the Year.
Ralph served as a member of the Avery County Board of Education for several years.
He grew up in the Newland Presbyterian Church where he served as an Elder, Sunday School Teacher, & Choir Member for many years. He was a deeply devoted Christian whose life was dedicated to serving others. One of Ralph’s greatest talents was his incredible tenor voice often heard in local choirs, at special events and even while delivering mail or working on the family farm. You could never go to Ralph & Betty’s home without leaving with more than you came, whether it was vegetables from his bountiful garden, fruit from an assortment of trees grown in the backyard or a bouquet of beautiful flowers from his flower garden.

Ralph’s legacy will live on for years through his beloved fourteen grandchildren, Daniel Baird, Sarah (Jeremy) Shipp, David (Tiffany) Baird, Katherine (Joe) Johnson, Jeremiah Baird, Hannah (Shae) Judge, Isaac (Cameron) Baird, Rebekah Baird, Whitney (Blake) Vance, Nicole (Derek) South, Seth (Casey) Baird, Meredith Potter, James Potter, and Stephen (Kasey) Potter; eight great grandchildren, Elizabeth, James, Verity, and Grace Shipp, Lucy Johnson, Elijah Judge, Atlas and Selah J South, Wilder Betsy Baird; and one expectant great grandchild.

The family is so thankful for the wonderful care provided by Barbara Shell and the nursing staff from Blue Ridge Hospice.

A memorial service will be planned and held at a later date in the future.

Memorial donations can be made in honor of Ralph to Newland Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 579, Newland, NC 28657.
Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Baird family by visiting our website www.rsfh.net
The care of Ralph and his family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.

Verleen Gregory
March 18, 1935 – March 27, 2020

Verleen Brooks Gregory, age 85, of Banner Elk, North Carolina passed away on Friday, March 27, 2020 at Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville, NC, following an extended illness.
She was born on March 18, 1935 in Cleveland County, North Carolina, a daughter of the late Lonnie Vonny Brooks and the late Ozelle Hudson Brooks.
Verleen retired from Cannon Memorial Hospital after over 35 years as Registered Nurse and Operating Room Supervisor. She was a member of the Banner Elk Presbyterian Church.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her: Husband, Robert Howard Gregory, Sr.; Son, Johnny Herndon; brother, Clinton Brooks.
Verleen leaves behind to cherish her memory her: Son, Robert H. (Michelle) Gregory, II of Morganton, NC, Son, Jackie E. (Debbie) Herndon of Gastonia, NC, Sister, Coleen Wilson of Kings Mountain, NC, Sister, Pat Carrigan of Ocala, FL, Brother, L. V. Brooks of Banner Elk, NC, Grandson, Robert Dorian Gregory, Granddaughter, Zoe Gregory, Grandson, Greg Herndon, Granddaughter, Karla Herndon, Granddaughter, Rebecca Nelson; great grandchildren, Gabby, Jordan, Peyton, and Parker.
Verleen will be interred in the Banner Elk Presbyterian Church Columbarium with a service to celebrate her life to be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Banner Elk Presbyterian Church.
Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Gregory family by visiting our website www.rsfh.net
The care of Verleen and her family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.

John Calhoun
March 12, 1936 – March 29, 2020

John W. Calhoun, age 84, of Crossnore, North Carolina passed away on Sunday, March 29, 2020 at the Life Care Center of Banner Elk.
He was born on March 12, 1936 in Avery County, North Carolina, a son of the late Jess Calhoun and the late Bessie Garland Calhoun.
John was a lifetime member of the Crossnore First Baptist Church and served as a Volunteer Fireman for the Crossnore Volunteer Fire Department. He was a gentle man who always had a smile for those he met.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Margie Johnson Calhoun; a son, John Calhoun; sister, Florence Dover; brothers, Tom, Jess Richard, and Toney Calhoun.
John leaves behind to cherish his memory his, Daughter, Susie Smith of Crossnore, NC, Daughter, Donna (Juan) Suazo, of Virginia, Son, Jim (Donna) Calhoun of Oneonta, NY, Sister, Marie Autrey of Burnsville, NC, Brother, Zack “Sonny” Calhoun of Hickory, NC; six grandchildren; six great grandchildren; and host of nieces and nephews.
John will be interred next to his wife, Margie, in the John Johnson Cemetery in Crossnore. A service to celebrate his life will be held at a later date from the Crossnore First Baptist Church.
The family would like to thank the wonderful and loving staffs of Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge and Compassionate Hearts. A very special thank you to the nurses and staff of Life Care Center of Banner Elk for the outpouring of love and support towards John and his family during this difficult time.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: First Baptist Church of Crossnore or to Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge.
Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Calhoun family by visiting our website www.rsfh.net
The care of John and his family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.


Gary Moody Speckmann
September 14, 1933 – March 29, 2020

Gary Speckmann of Boulder and Aspen, Colorado passed away peacefully in his home in Boulder Sunday morning March 29th. He will be remembered fondly as a loving father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend. Gary is survived by his two children John Speckmann (Brenda) and Anne Dale (Chris), his two grandchildren Benjamin Wiley Speckmann and Sophie Byrnne Speckmann, and his sister Sharon Robertson (Dan) and niece Christy Cooke.

A very good man, Gary was content with his life and happy with who his children have grown to be. Practical and matter of fact to the end, he was always capable of good humor. He was loving of nature, the land and it’s animals with whom there is always peace.

Gary was born in Fremont, Nebraska to Benjamin and Opal Speckmann. The family moved to Scotts Bluff, Nebraska and then to La Junta, Colorado where Gary spent his most formative years and graduated from high school in 1950. Gary was a member of the well known Koshare’ Indian Dancers based in La Junta. In 1951 he joined the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii where he was active in combat on a destroyer during the Korean Conflict. Upon his return in 1955, Gary attended the University of Colorado where he earned his BA in Business for accounting in 1958, and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. After graduation, he started as an accountant for a small accounting firm in Glenwood Springs. Within the year, Gary was approached by Klaus Obermeyer, then starting a small ski clothing company in Aspen, Colorado, called ‘Sport Obermeyer’ where Gary became the Vice-President for 11 years. Gary and his wife Nancy raised their family there until 1979 when he returned to Boulder to live, once again.

Upon departing ‘Sport Obermeyer’ in 1970, he began work as a regional sales representative for several ski related companies. He served his clients well and was well known for being fair and just when serving both Company and customer. Gary was also the first sales representative for ‘Spyder Activewear’ for 11 years. He also represented ‘Hot Gear’ children’s winter clothing, ‘Volant Skis’, ‘Arena Swimwear’, ‘New Balance’ shoes, ‘Spademan Bindings’ and several other skiing related companies in his Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico territory during his 40 year career. Once he retired, Gary enjoyed playing golf at Lake Valley Golf Course north of Boulder for many years.

Gary was an avid CU Buffs fan and he enjoyed playing baseball and softball for many years, as well as fly fishing and skiing. He started and coached the Aspen Little League Baseball Program in the mid 1960’s and were State Champions several times under his leadership.

Due to Covid-19, a ‘Celebration of Life’ service will be held at a later date in the fall. Condolences and memories can be shared at garyspeckmann2020@gmail.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to: Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, P.O. Box 18987, Boulder, Colorado, 80308
Phone: (303) 823-8455