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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – July 14, 2021

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

Robert Taylor Greer

1990 – 2021

Robert Taylor Greer (“Tater”, “T-bug”), age 30, our most beloved daddy, son, brother, family member and friend passed suddenly on Sunday, July 4th, 2021.

Owner of Greer’s Property Services, Taylor was a fine young man with a deep commitment to providing for his family evidenced by his work ethic and entrepreneurship. An avid outdoors enthusiast, Taylor was a talented fisherman and deer hunter.  Those who knew Taylor, even just a little, lost a true and loyal friend in their lives.  Taylor never met a stranger who wasn’t a potential friend, a mountain he couldn’t ski, a sport he couldn’t play, or a job he couldn’t do.  Taylor was a big man with a big laugh and an even bigger heart.

He is survived by Vanessa Pope Greer and their children, Hayden (age 5) and Tyler (age 3), his father Rick Greer, his mother Beverly Baker and stepfather Rick Blackburn, his grandparents Bob and Marvella Baker, grandmother Jewel Greer, brother Justin Greer and wife Alexsa Greer, his beloved girlfriend Susan Young, his aunts, uncles, cousins and many, many great friends. 

We know Taylor is now with his Nannybug and Poppy, his Papaw Greer and great grandfather Preacher Arnt Geer.

When you think of Taylor, celebrate the good memories that you have of him, hug your babies, tell your mama that you love her, catch a fish (and let it go) and remember that life is fragile and short. 

Memorial services for Taylor Greer will be conducted Friday, July 9, 2021 at 2 PM at Austin & Barnes Funeral Home.  Officiating will be Rev. Gordon Noble.  

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a college fund for Hayden and Tyler at the following link, http://gf.me/u/zzmamu, or at any State Employees Credit Union.

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

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

Michael Earl Steele

1957 – 2021

Mr. Michael Earl Steele, age 63, of Blowing Rock, passed away Tuesday, July 6, 2021.  Born October 12, 1957 in Bluefield, West Virginia, he was a son of the late Earl B. Steele and Mavis Lovelee Whited Steele. Mike grew up in Charlotte and was a graduate of West Charlotte High School and Appalachian State University. 

Mike was a member of Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church where he was a faithful servant and a devoted volunteer. Throughout the years, he served as a regular usher, as a Sunday School teacher, as a member of many different committees, and as a church Elder. He was a retired volunteer firefighter for the Blowing Rock Fire Department, served as director of Blowing Rock’s Parks & Recreation Department in the early to mid ’80’s, and spent the rest of his career as a Certified Financial Planner. He spent many years enthusiastically coaching youth sports, especially softball and basketball. He was a high school volleyball official for 30+ years, officiated at state tournaments, and in 2006 was awarded a Distinguished Service Award from the Western Piedmont Volleyball Officials Assoc. In 1987, Mike was awarded the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service.  He was a truly selfless individual who gave of himself to everyone he knew. 

He is survived by his wife, Rebecca Wright Steele, one daughter, Ashlyn Steele Yates and husband Dusty, one son, Thomas Michael Steele, four grandchildren: Brenna Yates, Emory Yates, Cecily Yates, and Flint Yates, his mother, Lovelee Steele, one brother, Randy Steele and wife Rhonda, and one sister, Jeannie Bush and husband Bill, and a number of nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father, Earl B. Steele.

Memorial services for Michael Steele will be conducted Sunday, July 11, 2021 at 3 PM at Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church.  Officiating will be Rev. Kathy Beach.

A reception will follow the memorial service at the Blowing Rock American Legion, 333 Wallingford Street, Blowing Rock, NC 28605. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church, PO Box 393, Blowing Rock, NC 28605.

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

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

Helen Ragan Brown

1927 – 2020

Mrs. Helen Ragan Brown, age 93, of the Hwy. 194/Sands Community in Boone, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at The Foley Center in Blowing Rock.  

Helen was born in Watauga County on July 25, 1927 to Carter and Maude Grogan Ragan.  She was retired from TRW/IRC and was a member of Howard’s Creek Baptist Church.  Over the years, Helen was involved in numerous ministries within the church.  She loved her Sunday School Class – the JOY (“Just Old Youth”) group and the many activities and mission projects they did.  She enjoyed delivering flowers to shut-ins in the community in her “little gray Pontiac VIBE” with her sister-in laws, Faye Greene and Pearl Norris.  She enjoyed quilting – every family member received at least one handmade quilt from her and she donated many quilts over the years for the church bazaar.  She also had a love for gardening, canning, jigsaw puzzles, search-a-words, gospel hymns, and watching game-shows and westerns on TV.  She loved the holidays, especially Christmas…and was like a kid opening gifts.  But she loved nothing more than spending time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren – she cherished and had a special bond with each of them.  No matter the occasion she was always the life of the party…bringing so much joy and laughter to all!

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband Roby Brown, two sisters Paris Winebarger and Mary Dee Cooke, a brother George Ragan, son-in-law Roland Jones, as well as several brother-in-laws and sister-in-laws.  

Those left to cherish her memory include her children, Sandy Jones, Randy Brown and wife Lisa, and Debbie Greer and husband Tony; her grandchildren Tammy McClannon and husband Terry, Amy Shook and husband Mark, Jennifer Kemp and husband Joe, Derek Brown and wife Leslie, Brittany Story and husband Austin, and Erik Greer and wife Rachel; her great-grandchildren, Jeffrey Shook, Kiersten and Jonathan McClannon, Bryce Kemp, Ryland and Hadley Brown, and Thomas, Allie, Ben and Anna Greer; a brother Robert (Bob) Ragan, sister-in-law Wilma Ragan Simpson, brother-in-law Kenneth Wilcox; along with many loving nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins and friends.

A Celebration of Life Service for Helen Brown will be conducted Saturday, July 17, 2021 at 3 PM at Howard’s Creek Church Fellowship Hall.    

The family would like to thank The Foley Center and Hospice for their care during her short stay there.  Memorial contributions can be made to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN  38105 or to the Sand’s Cemetery Fund, c/o Debbie Greer, PO Box 2651, Boone, NC  28607.  

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

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

Tommy Fred Cooke

1937 – 2021

Tommy Fred Cooke, 83, formerly of Shull’s Mill Road, Boone, passed away July 6, 2021 at The Foley Center in Blowing Rock.  Born October 18, 1937 in Watauga County, Tommy was a son of Clarence Calvin and Nina Mae White Cooke.  He was a member of the Central Assembly of God Church in Boone. Tommy retired from the NC Department of Transportation.  “He was loved by all.  A friend to all.  He was a gift to all.  He helped and served all.  He had a passion for his God, the Church and Church Family as well as his own family.  He has been called “the animal whisperer” because he had a passion for not only tame, but wild animals, especially deer.  He was best known for his generosity and kind compassionate spirit”.

He is survived by his brothers, Arthur Calvin ‘A.C.’ Cooke and Elisa, of Abbeville, SC, and Wylie Ray Cooke and wife, Robin of Mooresville;  sisters, Nancy Joanne Ledbetter and Husband, Howard, of Tulsa, OK and Terry Carolyn Lloyd and husband, Richard of Charlotte; and 5 nephews and 4 nieces.   In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Jean Dotson Cooke. 

Memorial services will be conducted Tuesday afternoon, July 13th at 12:30 at the Central Assembly of God Church in Boone, officiated by Pastor Charles Bristle.  The family will remain after services outside the church for social distancing greeting. At the family’s request, please observe Covid protocol.  Burial will be private. 

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to the White Cemetery Fund, in care of Hazel Townsend, Treasurer. 1346 Poplar Grove Rd, South, Boone, NC 28607.

                                “I slept and dreamt that life was joy,

                                 I awoke and saw that life was service.

                                 I acted and behold, service was joy.”  

                                                           Rabindranath Tagore           

 Online condolences may be shared at austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com

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

Justin Isaac Mullett

October 08, 1985 – July 05, 2021

Justin Isaac Mullett, age 35 of Vilas, passed away Monday, July 5, 2021 at his residence.

He is survived by his wife, Andrea Harmon Mullett of Vilas; his mother, Brenda Ragan Mullett of Zionville; one sister, Kelly Moyer of Zionville; paternal-grandmother, Essie Mullett of Lenoir; mother-in-law, Debbie Harmon of Sugar Grove; father-in-law, Gary Harmon of Sugar Grove; brother-in-law, Kevin Harmon and wife Kara of Sugar Grove; one niece, Summer Moyer, two nephews, Kevin Moyer and Carter Shoemake,  brother, Corey Parker, Pops, Ronnie Parker, Best Friends, Carl Norris, Brandon Yates, his beloved cat, Oreo and a number of aunts and uncles.

He was preceded in death by his father, Douglas Allan Mullett, maternal-grandparents, Fred and Louise Ragan, paternal-grandfather, Bob Mullett and one aunt, Mary Ragan.

Funeral service for Justin Isaac Mullet will be conducted Saturday, July 10, 2021 at 1:00 o’clock at Hampton Funeral Home Chapel. Reverend Delmar James and Reverend David Ward will officiate.

The family will receive friends from 12:00 until 1:00, at the chapel, prior to the service.

The family respectfully requests no food.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the family for expenses. 

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

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

Wanda Joyce Gasperson

August 24, 1951 – July 05, 2021

Wanda Joyce Gasperson, age 69, of Boone, North Carolina, passed away on Monday, July 5, 2021 at Glenbridge Health & Rehabilitation in Boone. She was a loving daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, aunt and friend. Her successful journey in the world ended while surrounded by people lucky enough to be known as her family.

She was born in Asheville, North Carolina, and spent most of her life in Naples, Florida. She was a proud graduate of Naples High School in 1969.  She had many occupations before finding her calling as a Manicurist. As a natural storyteller, she was in her element when interacting with clients.

Her sons, Keith and Daniel, were her proudest achievement; their development into scholars, good citizens, and dedicated family men is proof of a life well lived. The greatest joy in her life came from being a MeMe to her granddaughter Harper.

She is survived by, two sons, Keith O’Neal Griffin and wife Stacey of Vilas, North Carolina and Daniel Wagner and wife Riquita of Raeford, North Carolina; one granddaughter, Harper Griffin of Vilas, North Carolina and three sisters, Rita Schuetz and husband Joe of Tallahassee, Florida; Debbie Heffelfinger and husband Jim of Columbus, Ohio and Gloria Gidding of Gainesville, Georgia. She is also survived by a number of nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be scheduled later to allow her family to celebrate her life and lay her to rest with her family in Naples, Florida

. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Army Emergency Relief Fund (AER) online at www.armyemergencyrelief.org . Over the past 21 years, it would not have been possible for her son, Daniel, to visit her during her many illnesses without their assistance.

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

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

Margaret “Margo” Elaine Brink Buchanan

October 08, 1950 – July 09, 2021

Margaret “Margo” Elaine Brink Buchanan of Boone, North Carolina joined her Heavenly Father, and received her ultimate healing from her long battle with cancer on Friday, July 9, 2021.

Margo was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1950, the first-born daughter of Ervin and Laura Brink. She was a graduate of Helene Fuld Nursing School in Camden, New Jersey and served in the armed forces as a First Lieutenant on active duty, and later as a reservist. Margo was working as an Army nurse at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, when she met and married James “Bucky” Buchanan. The Buchanan’s’ military careers took them to posts from Arizona to Alabama to Germany.

While living in Alabama, their daughter Laura was born. Their son Jonathan was born 15 years later in Jacksonville, Florida. The Buchanan’s moved to Boone, North Carolina in 2003.

In Boone, Margo was an active member of Foscoe Christian Church. She enjoyed serving in various church capacities including teaching the Ladies’ Sunday School and Bible Studies for many years, singing in the choir, and playing organ for worship services. She was also devoted to her Monday afternoon Women’s Bible Study

Margo was very active in Boone’s Twelve Steps Community, where she referred to herself as “Margo, a Child of the King.” She especially loved serving as an ACA sponsor.

For the last 23 years, Margo valiantly battled breast cancer, surprising her doctors and inspiring her friends with her victories and longevity. Overcoming the cancer’s return and ensuing challenges, she wanted everyone to celebrate her “going home”. Margo lived her life faithfully loving God, family, friends, to the end, firmly believing God’s promises of eternal life.

Margo is survived by her husband, Bucky Buchanan, of Jacksonville, Florida, and her son Jonathan, of Boone, North Carolina. She is also survived by son-in-law G.T. Balance and grandson G.T. Balance, Jr. of Erwin, Tennessee; sister Colleen Brink Bell of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania; sister Karen Carson (Bryce) of Daytona Beach, Florida; brother Keith Brink (Sam) of Washington D.C. and multiple nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.

She was preceded in death by her daughter Laura Buchanan.

Her family wants to thank all of her dear friends who visited, sent cards, brought meals, and loved her through her recent battle, as well as Medi Home Hospice and her caregivers.

A celebration of life for will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Foscoe Christian Church, 8834 NC Highway 105 S, Boone, North Carolina 28607 or to Oasis Women’s Shelter, 225 Birch St. Boone, NC 28607.

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

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

Evelyn Ruth Bowman

April 19, 1935 – July 12, 2021

Evelyn Ruth Bowman, age 86, of Newland, passed away Monday, July 12, 2021 at the Cranbery House.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be announced.

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

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

Clinton Ira Phillips

December 23, 1935 – July 6, 2021

CLINTON IRA PHILLIPS December 23, 1935 – July 6, 2021 Clinton Ira Phillips, 85, passed away peacefully at his home on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 surrounded by the abiding love of his family. Struggling the last several years with declining health, Clinton’s resolve to live each day to the fullest was a blessing to his loved ones as was his determination to celebrate the traditional Phillips 4th of July with his wife, sons, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and the multitude of other family members who gathered each year in the field in front of his house.

Clinton, son of the late Ethel Pritchard Phillips and Samuel Charles Phillips, was born in Avery County on December 23, 1935. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by two sisters, Patsy Phillips Thompson and Carol Lou Phillips Yancey. Clinton is survived by his devoted and loving wife of 67 years, Sandra Kay Hughes Phillips and his four sons and their spouses: David Phillips and wife Donna, Danny Phillips and wife Kella, Tim Phillips and wife Marilynne, and Mark Phillips and wife Andrea. He cherished his 8 grandchildren; Tyne Franklin (Jeremy), Tyler Phillips (Brian), Dane Phillips (Paige), Jena Vance (Garren), Lauren Phillips, Samuel Phillips (Allison), Seth Phillips (Brittany), Ridge Phillips (Megan) and his four step-grandchildren: Sarah Stines (Tyler), Alyssa Carter, Madison Carter and Bailey Cole Allen. Of special delight to Clinton were his twelve great- grandchildren; Irelyn, Addison, Ayleigh, Jase, Tatum, Jude, Maddox, Lennox, Tripp, Tenley, Tate, and Banks. He was eagerly awaiting the soon to be arrival of his thirteenth great-grandchild, Teagan. Clinton is also survived by a host of brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews who loved him dearly.

Clinton and Sandra spent the early years of their marriage in Charlotte, N. C. where they and their boys made many friends in the Thomasboro neighborhood and where Clinton worked for Youngblood Trucking Company. He became highly involved in the Enderly Park Little League Baseball Association and really enjoyed coaching the teams on which his sons played. In 1969 Clinton and Sandra decided to leave Charlotte and return to their beloved mountains in Avery County where they settled into their new home on Whitaker Branch and remained involved in their sons’ many activities.

A special period of time in Clinton’s life were the eight years he spent as the Sheriff of Avery County where he made many friends all over North Carolina in law enforcement and felt honored to serve the people of Avery County in such a responsible position. In 2002 Clinton retired from the Avery County Public Schools.

At an early age Clinton accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior when he was attending Crossnore Presbyterian Church. For many years, until the decline in his health, he regularly attended services at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. An unassuming and humble man, Clinton was known for his kind heart, his positive, happy nature, his respect for others and his desire to see the best in everyone he met. He possessed a deep love for his family and enjoyed nothing better than cooking for his large family that would gather at his house each Sunday for lunch. He never turned down a friendly, competitive card game with his brothers-in-law and became a much loved member of the Viola and David Hughes family.

Services will be held on Thursday, July 8th at 3:00 p.m. at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Frank. Visitation with the family will be prior to the service from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Interment in the Whitaker Branch Cemetery will follow the service. Dr. Bill Jones, pastor of Newland First Baptist Church will conduct the service assisted by Cameron Dula, pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Pallbearers will be grandsons; Tyler Phillips, Dane Phillips, Sam Phillips, Seth Phillips and Ridge Phillips and nephew; Curtis Thompson. Honorary Pallbearers will be D.J. Hughes, John Wayne Hughes, Pete Henley, Doran Robbins, Pat Hodges, Chris Pappas, Cory Hughes, Jeremy Franklin, and Garren Vance.

In recognition of Clinton’s years of service as Sheriff, Enforcement Honors will be provided by the Avery County Sheriff’s Department.

The family would like to thank their special friend, Dr. Alfred Earwood, for his many years of excellent, compassionate care for Clinton and to Caldwell Palliative and Hospice Care for their compassionate service during the past several days.

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

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

Kenneth David Vance

January 1, 1961 – July 8, 2021

Kenneth David Vance, age 60, of Newland, North Carolina passed away on Thursday, July 8, 2021 at the Watauga Medical Center.

David was born on January 1, 1961 in Avery County, North Carolina, a son of the late Ernest A Vance and the late Cora Carpenter Vance, he loved being in the outdoors, hiking, and going to the lake.

He was preceded in death by his Brother, Hayden Luther Vance.

Left to cherish his memory are his longtime companion, Carolyn Brown and granddaughter, Elizabeth, whom he cherished; sisters Emma Lee (Allen) Clawson, Mary (Billy Joe) McGuire, Louise (Jim) Clawson all of Newland, Martha Ann Vance of Roan Mtn. Tn, Susie (Elwood) Clawson of TN. Brother Roy (Joann) Vance and a host of nieces & nephews whom he loved very much.

Interment was in the in the Vance Family Cemetery on Saturday, July 10, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. with Pastor Billy Joe McGuire and Pastor Tommy Carver officiating. Pallbearers will be: Joe Clawson, Jason Taylor, Tommy Vance, James Horney, Ernie Vance, Mark Goode. Honorary pallbearers are Kenny Melton and Dan Woodie.

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

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

Marietta “Bud” Pittman Hughes

February 2, 1930 – July 11, 2021

Marietta “Bud” Pittman Hughes, age 91, of Linville, North Carolina passed away on Sunday, July 11, 2021 at her residence surrounded by three generations of her family.

Marietta was born on February 2, 1930 in Avery County, NC, a daughter of the late Claude Pittman and the late Eula Clark Pittman.

She, along with her husband, Jim, owned and operated the Pixie Motel in Linville for many years, she loved cooking and baking and above all being a homemaker, providing a loving and caring home for her family. She was a member of the Eastern Star and a life long Republican.

In addition to her parents, Bud was preceded in death by her husband of 72 years, James Frank Hughes, Sr.; brother, Charles Pittman, and a grandson, David Lee Hughes.

Bud leaves behind to cherish her memory, Daughters, Kaye (Fred) Hughes of Linville, NC, Sharon “Shad” Peters of Linville, NC, Son, James F. (Michelle) Hughes, Jr. of Linville, NC, Sisters, Jeanne Jennings of Banner Elk, NC, Patsy (John) Woodcock of Black Mountain, NC; Grandchildren, Sanford Hughes Greene, Hannah Greene, Lindsey (Robert) Kissell, Charlie (Summer) Peters, Lauren (Shane) Cox, James F. “Trey” Hughes, III; Great Grandchildren, Ayla Greene, Gavin Peters, Finch Coffman, Michael Peters, Levi Kissell and Bella Blake Kissell; and a host of nieces and nephews.

Services for Marietta Hughes will be held on Sunday, July 18, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. in the Grandfather Chapel of the Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home with the Rev. David Hopson officiating. Interment will follow in the Tanglewood Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial should be made to the Florence Boyd Home, PO Box 277 Linville, NC 28646.

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

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