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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – May 5, 2020

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

Donald Ray Just
1939 – 2020

Donald Ray Just, 80, of Avery County, North Carolina, passed away April 27, 2020 at his winter residence in Boone, NC from complications of atypical Parkinson’s disease. An ordained Lutheran minister for over 50 years, Rev. Just used his many gifts to educate, counsel, console, and shepherd students, seminarians, soldiers and congregations in several states in the USA and abroad.

Don was born November 23, 1939 in rural McIntosh County, North Dakota, the first-born of Julius and Helen (Dockter) Just, both of German-Russian heritage. His childhood was greatly influenced by the values of his hard-working farm family and neighbors in Berlin, ND. Growing up, church, school, sports, and FFA provided formative experiences and opportunities to develop leadership skills. Don came to believe deeply in taking advantage of opportunities for personal development and spiritual servanthood.

Don graduated from high school in LaMoure, ND in 1957. He then attended Concordia Junior College, St. Paul, Minnesota, graduating after two years with an Associate of Arts degree. He continued his studies at Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, graduating in 1961 with a BA degree with majors in Philosophy and History-Political Science. Don went on to earn advanced degrees in theology, guidance, and education at Concordia Seminary, Springfield, Illinois (MDiv. 1965), NC State (M.Ed, 1972), and the School of Theology and Graduate Center at Claremont, California (PhD, 1981).

After ordination at his home church, Trinity of LaMoure, in September, 1965, Don was installed as pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church and Peace Lutheran Church in Victoria and Sydney, British Columbia, where he served for two years.

Rev. Just was commissioned as Captain in the US Army Chaplaincy in June, 1967 and served for five years, including one year of combat in Vietnam. While there, he served with two distinguished and decorated battalions in the Tet Counter Offensive operations and was awarded Bronze Stars for service and valor and the Purple Heart. From 1969-1972 he was assigned to Fort Bragg, NC as Brigade Chaplain with the 82nd Airborne Division.

After separating from the Army, Don became Dean of Student Affairs and assistant professor of psychology at Concordia College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin while simultaneously completing his doctoral work. He then served as interim pastor at three congregations in Wisconsin while anticipating a return to a college setting. He received a call to be campus chaplain at Lenoir Rhyne College in Hickory, NC in 1982 and served there for eleven years, followed by congregational ministry in Texas, serving as deployed staff of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and ultimately a return to Lenoir Rhyne as adjunct faculty with a part-time interim pastorate at St. Mark’s, Lenoir/Blowing Rock, NC. Don also participated in Bethany Lutheran Church’s summer ministry in Ephraim, Wisconsin for forty years.

Don felt honored and privileged to be a Lutheran pastor. He loved God and had a strong personal faith. He had an adventurous spirit, loved to travel, and had a pilot license for many years. He enjoyed working with his hands, building retaining walls at his beloved home, Pastorale, and woodworking/carving. Many friends, family members, students, and congregations were the recipients of wooden Advent wreaths and other functional and decorative objects he created. A devoted listener to classical music and avid reader, Don particularly enjoyed discussing literature, religion, philosophy, politics or the topic of the day.

Rev. Don Just is survived by his wife, Laura Mueller Just, brothers, Myron (Ellen) Just and Walt (Patricia) Just, sisters Marcella (Robert) Ludwig and Carol Just, and many beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins. Over the years Don nurtured and treasured many special “almost family” relationships which endure. He adored and was especially proud of being “Bampa” to Emily, Bryan, and Samuel Sandifer.

Special thanks and acknowledgments are made to Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, which guided and supported Don’s care over the past two years, and to the many fine nurses, nursing assistants, and home health aides who accompanied us on this journey and became friends as well as caregivers.

Memorials, if desired, may be made to Grace Lutheran Church (Boone, NC), Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care (Lenoir, NC), or Bread for the World (Washington, DC).

Funeral services will be held when circumstances allow.

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

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


Helen Gertrude Dotson
1927 – 2020

Helen Dishman Dotson, age 92, passed away on April 28, 2020. She was born in Watauga County on December 11, 1927, to Spencer and Maggie Smitherman Dishman.

She was an employee of IRC/TRW for 32 years.

As a member of Poplar Grove Baptist Church, she served as a Sunday School teacher and assisted with Vacation Bible School. Service, giving, and the word of wisdom were among her spiritual gifts. She was also a member of the Eastern Star.

Helen enjoyed gardening, cooking, canning vegetables, and sewing, but most of all caring for her family, friends, and neighbors. She will be remembered for her quick wit and humor, warm personality, artistic talent, encouragement, patience, great work ethic, gentleness, hospitality, kindness, generosity, and affection. Comments from her friends such as, “She was easy to love,” and “She was like a mama to me,” were evidence of her love for and faith in God.

Surviving are her son, Don Dotson and wife Ruth, her daughter, Joan Robinson and husband Lane, her grandson, Adam Lentz and wife Valeree, her great-granddaughter, Victoria Lentz, step grandchildren, Amber Osteen (Lily and Isla), B.T. Robinson, Ian Robinson and wife Katherine (Indiana), several nieces and nephews, and special relatives, Glenn David and Eddie Dishman, Betty Church, and Cathie Farmer.

In addition to her parents Helen was preceded in death by her husband, Warren Dotson, her daughter, Linda Dotson, brothers, Glenn and Mack Dishman, her sisters, Georgia Lawrence, Dora Eggers, and Dare Brown.

The family will conduct a celebration of life at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the local chapter for the National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI High Country, P.O. Box 2343, Boone, NC 28607. Online condolences may be shared with the Dotson family at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com

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


Jerry Wayne Hardy
1967 – 2020

Jerry Wayne Hardy, age 52, of Roby Watson Road, Deep Gap, passed away Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at his home. Born August 19, 1967 in Watauga County, he was a son of Bynum Jack Hardy, Jr. and the late Jean Sharon Miller Hardy. Jerry was a member of Proffit’s Grove Baptist Church. An avid outdoorsman, Jerry enjoyed fishing and searching the woods for ginseng. He held a special place in his heart for all animals. Most days Jerry would be found reading western books, but his favorite book to study was his Bible.

Jerry is survived by his father, B. J. Hardy, Jr. and wife, Barbara of Deep Gap; sister, Debra Mast and fiancé, Gene Blakeman, of Todd; nephews, Brent Presnell and wife, Hannah, and Michael Hardy and fiancé, Becky Norris, all of Todd, Brandon Presnell and wife, Keneitha, of Valle Crucis, and Derek Eggers of Mountain City; great-nephews, Zane Presnell of Todd and Lane Presnell of Valle Crucis; his grandfather, Clayton Miller of Todd step-sister, Dina Rose Carlton of Deep Gap; and step-great-niece, Deovion Norris of Todd.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Jean Miller Hardy and sister, Ruth Hardy Lewis.

Graveside services for Jerry Wayne Hardy will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to Austin & Barnes Funeral Home is assist with expenses.

Online condolences may be shared at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com

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

Jimmy Lee Ward
1947 – 2020

Jimmy Lee Ward, age 73, of Boone, passed away Friday evening, May 1, 2020 at Glenbridge Health & Rehabilitation. Born February 27, 1947 in Watauga County, he was a son of Marcus Arnold and Lula Grace Harmon Ward. Jimmy farmed most of his life.

He is survived by his sister, Martha Presnell and husband, Roy, of Sugar Grove. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers, Wayne and Warren Ward.

Private graveside services for Jimmy Lee Ward will be conducted at the Bethel Cemetery, officiated by Rev. Charlie Martin.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to Austin & Barnes to assist the family with expenses.

Online condolences may be shared at austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com

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


Geneva Stevens Massengill

December 06, 1922 – April 30, 2020

Geneva Stevens Massengill, 97, of Ridge Point Drive, Boone, North Carolina passed away Thursday April 30, 2020 at Glenbridge Health and Rehabilitation Center. 

A daughter of the late Allen Thurman Stevens and Helen G. Hughes Stevens. She was born December 6, 1922 in Horry County, South Carolina.

She is survived by two daughters, Margaret Darnell of McKinney, Texas and Rozanne Sullivan and husband Kerry of Boone; one brother, William Stevens and wife Sue of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina; and one sister, Katherine Ward of Monroe, North Carolina; five grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews. “To all my family, I encourage you to give your hearts to Jesus. He has watched over me all my life and He will watch over you because He loves you very much.”

In addition to her father and mother she was preceded in death by her husband George Wilson Massengill, Jr., two brothers and four sisters.

A memorial service for Geneva Stevens Massengill will be held at a later date.

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

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


Iva Lea Hartley Brewer

March 19, 1932 – April 30, 2020

Iva Lea Hartley Brewer, 88, of Farthing Street Boone passed away Thursday, April 30, 2020 at the Life Care Center in Banner Elk, North Carolina. 

Iva Lea Hartley Brewer was born March 19, 1932 in Blowing Rock, North Carolina to Leona Irene Young Hartley and Ronda Randall Hartley.

She is survived by one daughter, Debra Jane Brewer Clark and husband Richard of Boone; one grandson, Daniel Clark and fiancee, Stacey Eanes of Charlotte, North Carolina; two brothers, Rudy Hartley and wife Magaret  of Boone; and Gwyn Hartley of Blowing Rock. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

In addition to her father and mother she was preceded in death by her husband, Floyd M. Brewer, seven sisters, Irene Ford, Daisy Aiken, Dorothy Cody, Agnes Hartley, Catherine Hartley, Clara Phillips and Carolyn Bolick, three brothers, Edgar Hartley, Ron K. Hartley and Franklin Hartley.

Funeral services for Iva Lea Hartley Brewer will be private.

The family respectfully request no food or flowers.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to, Tracy’s Kids, 5509 Devon Road, Bethesda, Maryland 20814 or to Perkinsville Baptist Church Beyond Fund, 274 Jefferson Road, Boone, North Carolina 28607.

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

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


Lewie Michael Blalock

October 09, 1945 – April 30, 2020

Lewie Blalock, age 74, of Linville North Carolina, passed away on Thursday, April 30, 2020, at his residence surrounded by his family.

Lewie was born on October 9, 1945, in Leonardtown, Maryland, the son of the late Aaron Paul Blalock and the late Rhona Gragg Blalock of Montezuma, NC. He was a graduate of Newland High School and served in the United States Army where he was stationed at Schofield Barracks; Oahu, Hawaii.

Lewie loved golf and developed a passion for it starting at age 11, caddying at the Linville Golf Club of Eseeola. He was a long-standing member of Mountain Glen Golf Course.

He was the founder and owner of Blalock Electric for 42 years. He served many throughout the High Country both businesses and residential. He had great loyalty to the Eseeola Lodge and the surrounding residents who he considered his friends.

On July 5, 1956, Lewie was baptized in the Linville River and was a member of his family church Aaron Baptist of Montezuma. He later became a member of Oak Grove Baptist Church where he was a faithful member. Lewie was known for his infectious smile and kind spirit. He had a gift of loving others and putting them at ease. He could converse with anyone.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister Pauline Sudderth of Montezuma; two brothers, Charles Blalock of Montezuma, NC and Jerry Blalock of Myrtle Beach, SC. Lewie leaves behind to cherish his memory his: wife of 30 years, Tonja Maliniak Blalock of Linville NC.; daughter: Kelli and husband Art Williamson of Boone, son, Lance and Jesse Blalock of Boone, and son, Tyler and girlfriend Danielle Avera of Banner Elk NC. He has six grandchildren Olivia, Ava and Wit Williamson, Lincoln, Chapman and Bowman Blalock. He is also survived by a sister Margaret Sudderth of Montezuma, NC and a brother Bruce Blalock of Rome, GA and many other loved family members.

Lewie was a dedicated member of the Williams YMCA in Linville. He was a charter member and the first participant in the Parkinson’s Program (Delay the Disease). He persevered for many years and was an inspiration to others who shared the same disease.

A celebration of life will be held for Lewie once the state mandated ordinance is lifted and will be officiated by Reverend Ron Greene. A special thank you to Williams YMCA, Hospice of the Blue Ridge, Maxim Healthcare and so many others who loved and supported him along the way.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in honor of Lewie to
The Williams YMCA of Avery County
The Parkinson’s Program (Delay the Disease)
P.O. BOX 707
Linville, NC 28646

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

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


Kendra Dawn Bingham

February 23, 1987 – May 05, 2020

Kendra Dawn Bingham, age 33, of Meat Camp Road, Boone, passed away Tuesday afternoon, May 5, 2020, at Watauga Medical Center in Boone.

Funeral arrangements for Kendra Dawn Bingham are incomplete at this time.

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

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

Edith Brotherton Shomaker
February 29, 1932 – May 2, 2020

Mrs. Edith Brotherton Shomaker, age 88, of Banner Elk went to her heavenly home on Saturday, May 2, 20120. She was a fine Christian lady who loved and served her Lord every day of her life. We rejoice that today she is reunited in heaven with her parents, Dewitt and Lennis Brotherton, her husband , Lester Shomaker, and her brother Tom. She is survived by her special friends, Grace Clark, David and Kathy Ellis, and by several nieces and nephews.
Edith was a member of Heaton Christian Church where she often shared her special talents of singing, playing the autoharp, and offering words of encouragement to all. She and her husband, Lester, brought much joy to many people through their Christian ministry as “Jingles” the clown. She was a true servant of Christ and loved to share her testimony with everyone she met.
A private graveside service for Miss Edith will be held on Monday evening at 6 pm prior to her burial next to her husband Lester.
A special “thank-you” and recognition is given to Dr. Kimmel and the staff and caregivers at Life Care in Banner Elk who took such great care of Miss Edith.
Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Shomaker family by visiting our website www.rsfh.net
The care of Edith and her family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland.