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Watauga County Obituaries – Compiled May 27, 2014

Watauga County Obituaries – Compiled May 27, 2014

Edith Parker Johnson, D. May 25, 2014


Edith Parker Johnson, 86, of Lynn Hill Drive in Boone passed away on Sunday, May 25, 2014, at the home of her son in Boone.

She was born on April 27, 1928 in Watauga County, the daughter of Raymond and Margaret (Maggie) Houck Parker. She was the wife of Walter Raleigh Johnson, Jr.

Although she held many positions in her life, Edith was first and foremost a loving wife, mother, and later a grandmother and great-grandmother. Her family was always her first love and primary focus and she delighted in caring for them, giving them things, and talking about them with great pride.

As the wife of a college professor, Edith was heavily involved in the college community at Wingate University. She also held multiple positions at varied business establishments over the years, ending with the role of caregiver for a dear friend in the last few months of their life.

She was an avid gardener and was known for her beautiful gardens and flower arrangements. One of her favorite hobbies was scouting out sales, bargains, and yard sales to find countless treasures for everyone she loved.

Survivors include two sons, Walter Raleigh Johnson, III and wife Leslie of Sugar Grove, and John Roby Johnson and wife Cherry of Boone; one granddaughter, Lydia Coffman and husband Jerrod of Raleigh; four grandsons, Adam Johnson (Ethan Taylor) and wife Jodie Taylor of Boone, Phillip Johnson and friend Ashleigh Bretz of Raleigh, Micah Johnson and wife Jessica of Hickory, and Matthew Johnson of Boone; two step-granddaughters, Loren and Sofia Ward, both of Sugar Grove; five great-grandsons, Cody and Jathan Coffman of Raleigh, Connor and Parker Johnson of Hickory, and Jackson Roper of Boone, and one great-granddaughter, Kara Taylor of Boone; one sister, Jewel Parker Lewis and husband Carl of Boone, and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was tenderly cared for in the last months of her life by five wonderful caregivers, Sheila Triplett, Lillian White, Diane Harmon, Emily Yates, and Valerie Kelley.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Walter Raleigh Johnson, Jr.; three brothers, James Burl Parker, Larry Raymond Parker, and Don Max Parker; and four sisters, Edna Parker Taylor, Vera Parker Brown, and Eula Parker Harmon, and Pauline (Polly) Parker Howell Hildebran.

Memorial services for Edith Parker Johnson will be conducted Friday afternoon, May 30th, at 3:00 pm, at First Baptist Church of Boone. The body will lie in state, at the church, from 1:00 until 3:00 o’clock. Officiating will be Reverend Herbert Hash. Graveside services will follow in Forest Grove Cemetery.

The family will receive friends Friday, May 30th, from 1:00 to 2:30 at First Baptist Church, of Boone.

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

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

Virginia Norris Brown, D. May 23, 2014


Virginia Norris Brown, age 94, of Bub Teems Road, Boone, passed away Friday afternoon, May 23, 2014, at Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care in Lenoir.

Born May 19, 1920 in Watauga County, she was a daughter of Thomas Clingman and Pearl Brooks Norris. Mrs. Brown was a member of Three Forks Baptist Church. She was a homemaker, and for a number of years, was employed in food service for the Watauga County School system. Virginia’s love was her husband, sons, and grandsons, and her favorite pastime was gardening, canning, and watching birds gather and feed around her many bird feeders.

Surviving are her son, Terry Brown of Boone; two grandsons, Garrett McGuire of Charlotte, and Ryan McGuire of Boone; and sister and brother, Brenda Laws and Robert Norris, both of Lenoir. Numerous nieces, nephews and cousins also survive. She was preceded in death by her husband, William Roby Brown; son, Teddy Allen Brown; sister, Ola Brown; and brother, Gene Norris.

As Mrs. Brown requested, services will be private, with Pastor David Ricker and Rev. Lynn Powers officiating. Burial will be at Mount Lawn Memorial Park and Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Three Forks Baptist Church, 1922 US Highway 421 South, Boone, NC 28607, or to Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, 902 Kirkwood Street, Lenoir, NC 28645.

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

Austin and Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Brown family.


Ersal Presnell Coffey, D. May 22, 2014


Mrs. Ersal Presnell Coffey, age 98, of George Wilson Road, Boone, passed away Thursday morning, May 22, 2014, at Life Care Center of Banner Elk.

Mrs. Coffey was born January 22, 1916 in Watauga County, a daughter of the late Willard Grayson Presnell and Louisa Mast Presnell. She was a retired manager for Newton’s Department Store in Boone, and a member of Oak Grove Baptist Church.

Mrs. Coffey is survived by one son, Grayson Coffey and wife Judy of Boone; one grandson, Travis Taylor and wife Nichole of Raleigh; two great-granddaughters, Ruby Taylor and Callie Taylor, both of Raleigh; four step-grandsons, Joey Coffey and wife Amelia of Homosassa, Florida, Drew Hodges and Clint Hodges, both of Boone, and Michael Greene and wife Candy of Brooksville, Florida; one son-in-law, Harry Heavner of Hickory; three sisters, Hazel Cottrell of Lodi, California, Beatrice Presnell of Los Angeles, California, and Marshalea Hemrick of Winston-Salem; one brother, Coolidge Presnell of Virginia, and one step-brother, Willard Presnell of Elizabethton, Tennessee. She is also survived by five step great-granddaughters, two step great-grandsons, and a number of nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Homer Leon Coffey; one daughter, Carolyn Coffey Heavner; three sisters, Epsie Wagoner, Bessie Minton, and Lillie Miller, and three brothers, Carl, Houston, and Jard Presnell.

Funeral services for Ersal Presnell Coffey will be conducted Saturday afternoon, May 24, 2014, at 2:00 o’clock, at Hampton Funeral Home Chapel. The body will lie in state, at the chapel, from 1:00 until 2:00 o’clock. Officiating will be Reverend Scott Courtney. Burial will follow in Mount Lawn Memorial Park and Gardens.

The family will receive friends Saturday afternoon, from 1:00 until 2:00 o’clock, at the funeral home, prior to the service.

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

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

Rupert Pate, D. May 20, 2014

Rupert George Pate, 96, of Burlington, NC, passed away peacefully at Kindred Hospital in Greensboro on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. He was born in Goldsboro, NC and spent most of his adult life in Burlington.


He is survived by Florence “Skip” Pate, his wife of 71 years. He is also survived by his daughter, Shyrlynn Pate, of Burlington; two sons, Rupert “Pete” Pate, Jr. and his wife, Jane, of Burlington, and Carlyle Pate of Boone; one brother, Fletcher Earl Pate of Raleigh; five grandchildren, Shawn Meeks, Kimberly Meeks, Travis Pate, Christopher Pate and Joshua Pate; six great-grandchildren, Leo Pate, Eli Pate, Connor Pate, Macy Pate, Kierstyn Rowe and Levi Meeks and one great-great-grandchild, Zachery Meeks.

Rupert attended Wake Forest College where he excelled in football; he was chosen captain of the team in 1939, made All State and All Southern Conference and played in the 1939 Blue-Gray Football Bowl. He joined the professional Chicago Cardinals team in 1940 and played with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1941-1942. Until his passing, he was one of the oldest surviving professional football players. Rupert was elected to Goldsboro High School’s Hall of Fame in 1989.

He served in World War II from 1943 to 1945, earning a Battle Star in the Battle of the Bulge.

Rupert worked in auto sales for most of his adult life and later retired from Lab Corp.

He loved his church, Hocutt Memorial Baptist Church, serving there for over 55 years as Deacon, Sunday School Teacher and choir member. He had a beautiful bass voice and would sing whenever the occasion arose. He once sang with the Men of Alamance. He was named Deacon for Life by his church. He especially enjoyed visiting those who were homebound.

Rupert played golf with his buddies until he was 92 years old at Indian Valley Golf Course.

A funeral service will be held Friday, May 23, 2014 at 11:00 am in the Rich and Thompson Chapel. Officiating will be the Rev. Jimmy Nickelston. Burial will follow in Pine Hill Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home for one hour prior to the service, from 10:00 to 11:00.

Memorials may be made to Hospice & Palliative Care of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC 27215.

Rich and Thompson Funeral Home, in Burlington, is in charge of the arrangements.

Announcement courtesy of Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service.