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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – September 21, 2021

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



Dewey Thomas

1914 – 2021

Dewey Jasper Thomas passed away peacefully on September 5, 2021, at the age of 106. He was born on November 4, 1914, in Mabel, North Carolina to Alfred & Eliza Thomas, joining five siblings: Cora, Nora, Arthur, Lillian, and Clay.

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, near the Tennessee line, his family’s home was the hub of Sunday afternoon hospitality for their Baptist community. Here he learned about family ties, about being a good neighbor – here he fought off polio with the dedication of a loving mother. At the age of 22, Dewey decided to “go West” where he lived and worked in the logging industry of Idaho and Washington and in the grain fields of Sherman County. Thomas was drafted in August, 1941, four months prior to Pearl Harbor, for what he thought was one year of duty. He served over four years with 39 months in a combat zone with the 808th Engineers Aviation Battalion, Fifth Air Corps in Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines. He attained the rank of Sergeant and earned five bronze stars. He was discharged from the service in October 1945, returned to Wasco, Oregon, and married Catherine Fridley November 10, 1945.

While raising a family, farming and running a herd of Angus cattle, Dewey served as Commander of the American Legion Post and was on the farm cooperative board. He became a church board member, 4-H leader and fair board member. At the age of 61, Dewey served as a Sherman County Commissioner and then as county judge for nearly a decade. After retiring from farming, Dewey and Catherine decided to see some of the world for themselves traveling to China, Russia, Europe, and the South Pacific and enjoyed becoming grandparents of five between 1976 and 1981. Catherine passed away in December 1999 and Dewey began a new chapter in his life, writing of his military years, volunteering at the Veterans Home and the Sherman County Historical Museum, and serving on the budget committee of NORCOR for several years. In 2011 he flew to Washington, D.C. with an Honor Flight contingent to visit the World War II

Memorial. Following recovery from a broken hip, Dewey moved into The Springs at Mill Creek in February of 2019. Representative Greg Walden met with him on Armed Forces Day, May 18, 2019, when an interview with Thomas was recorded for the Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center. The video along with a memoir written by Thomas with his

daughter, the late Reine Thomas, were submitted to become a part of the Library of Congress collection.

Dewey was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Arthur & Clay Thomas; sisters Cora Moretz, Nora Warren and Lillian

Younce; wife Catherine Thomas; and daughter Reine M. Thomas.

He is survived by his son Kent Thomas (Melva), Wasco, OR; Grandchildren: Jamie King (Dave) Idaho Falls, ID; Casey Hayes

(Kristi) San Diego, CA; Jesse Thomas (Sara), Lincoln, NE; Abby Kraayeveld (Jefferey) Ridgefield, WA; Joshua Thomas (Britney) Queen Creek, AZ; Great Grandchildren: Carson Thomas, Lincoln, NE; Nolan & Piper Hayes, San Diego, CA; Ava & Haddie Kraayeveld, Ridgefield, WA; Brady & Brooks Thomas, Queen Creek, AZ; Jack & Emma King, Idaho Falls, ID.

Graveside services will be held at the Sunrise Cemetery in Wasco, OR, September 18 at 1:00 p.m. Spencer, Libby & Powell

Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Memorial donations may be made to the Sherman County Historical Society, PO Box 173, Moro, OR 97039 or Wasco

United Methodist Church, PO Box 43, Wasco, OR 97065.

Announcement is courtesy of Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory, Boone NC.



Johnny Lee Bunton

1975 – 2021

Johnny Lee Bunton was born on March 26, 1975 in Watauga County.  He went home to be with the Lord on September 15, 2021 at the Watauga Medical Center. 

Johnny was employed at Appalachian State University for more than 18 years in building services and was a member of Green Valley Baptist Church.  His greatest love in life was his family and closest to his heart was his daughter, Paige.

All who knew Johnny will remember him for his love of racing.  

He is survived by his mother, Linda Farthing Bunton of Flat Springs; daughter, Paige Bunton of Boone, and his fiancé, Lindsey Taylor also of Boone.  He is also survived by many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, who will miss him.

He was preceded in death by his father, George Bunton; grand-parents, Genivee and Edgar Farthing and Rose and Dallas Bunton. 

Graveside services for Johnny will be conducted Saturday morning, September 18, 2021, at 11 o’clock at Mt Gilead Baptist Church Cemetery in the Flat Springs community, officiated by Rev. Tim Bunton. 

The family respectfully requests those attending to please wear a mask and observe social distancing. 

Memorial donations may be made to the Mt. Gilead Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, in care of Darryel Reece, 3041 Flat Springs Road, Elk Park, NC 28622.

Online condolences may be shared at austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com

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



Ruth Robinson

1938 – 2021

Ruth Dover Elliott Robinson entered into the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ in the early hours of Thursday morning, September 16, 2021.  She was a native of Charlotte, NC, and leaves behind her husband, Ed Robinson, children Debbie McCord (Phillip), Michael Elliott, Tommy Robinson (Tammy), and Teresa Greene, along with, eight grandchildren, three great grandchildren, her sister Tommie (Ken) Plummer and a multitude of family and friends. She is preceded in death by her husband Grover Elliott, parents Charlie and Johnsie Dover, her brothers Pat and Buddy Dover, and sisters, Mabel Locke, Charlotte Tyson, Anna Holder, and her great-granddaughter Lily McCord.  

Ruth was a true southern bell who wanted to take care of everyone, especially by cooking for them. She loved cooking and baking, collecting cookbooks, shopping and spreading joy wherever she was.

As she and Ed resided in both Vilas and Charlotte, NC, her funeral services will be held at Bethel Baptist Church 123 Mountaindale Rd, Vilas, NC 28692 Friday, September 24 @ 11:00 AM (Family will receive friends from 10-11 am at the church) followed-by a graveside service and burial at Paw Creek Presbyterian Church 7400 Mt. Holly Rd, Charlotte, NC 28214 later that same day @ 5:00 PM.  An additional memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 25 @ 1:00 PM at Sunset Road Baptist Church 2317 Sunset Rd, Charlotte, NC 28216. The family will receive friends after the graveside and memorial services.  All family and friends are invited to attend. 

Ministers officiating are Rev. Charlie Martin and Rev. Steve Bass.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Bethel Baptist Church Building Fund.  

Online condolences may be shared at www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com

Austin and Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory, Boone, NC, will be serving the Robinson family.



Tamberlyn Alderson

1958 – 2021

Tamberlyn (Tammy) Ward Alderson, age 62, of Valle Crucis, NC, passed away peacefully on Thursday, September 16, 2021 at Watauga Medical Center in Boone, NC.

Tammy was born in Blowing Rock, NC on November 17, 1958 to Robert Howard Ward and Geraldene Trivett Ward. She attended Valle Crucis Elementary and Watauga High School.  Tammy loved her family and opened her heart and home to many others over the years.  She had a special relationship with God and loved to share her life stories in hopes that she could be a blessing to others. Tammy loved BIG and all who knew her felt that love.

Left to cherish her memory are her parents, Bob and Gerry Ward of Valle Crucis, NC; son, Jason Greene and Casie Leonard;  sister, Terry Ward of Valle Crucis, NC; sister, Robin Ward Miller and husband, Curt, of Raleigh, NC; nephews, Tucker Isaacs, Carson Isaacs, and Ryan Miller; nieces, Lea Miller and Kaylee Miller; step-daughters, Ashley Pendolina and husband, Donald, and Kinsley Knighten and husband, Dustin; grandchildren, Zachary, Cory, Olivia, Scarlet, and Brandon; great-granddaughter, Myla;  father and mother-in-law, Jim and Carol Alderson of Todd; and her dearest friend, Christy Aldridge.

Tammy was preceded in death by her husband, Fred Alderson.

A memorial service for Tammy Alderson will be scheduled at a later date.

In lieu of food and flowers, memorial donations may be made to assist with expenses. Memorial donations may be sent to Valle Crucis United Methodist Church, c/o Gay Isaacs, 404 Dillard Greene Rd., Vilas, NC 28692.

Online condolences may be shared at austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.

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



Dell Elizabeth Graham

1947 – 2021

Dell Elizabeth Graham born May 28, 1947 – passed September 17, 2021

Dell Elizabeth Graham was born in the small town of Todd in Ashe County North Carolina. She has always affectionately been known as Betsy. Her parents were William Reece Graham Jr. and Laura Louise Oliver Graham. Betsy is survived by two brothers, Charles Graham (& wife Elaine) & Reece Graham (& wife Judy) both of West Jefferson North Carolina. 

Betsy is also survived by her three sons Christian Graham Covington (&wife Angi) of Todd North Carolina, Matthew Patterson Covington (& wife Stacey) of Concord North Carolina and Charles William Reece Graham of Concord North Carolina. She took great joy in her nine grand children & one Great grandchild, Sunshine (& husband Kyle), Christian (& wife Kerstin), Forrest, Summer, Honor, Hunter, Promise, Merritt, Jade & Violette.

  Growing up in the mountains of western North Carolina, Betsy was exposed to beautiful authentic mountain ballads and spiritual music which she loved to sing. Later, she would also learn classical music at nearby Appalachian State University. Betsy was considered a very fine mezzo soprano and many people who heard her Golden voice would be brought to tears. She would often sing at religious services, on the performing stage and in her later years treasured opportunities to sing at nursing facilities and other venues where her songs brought hope and comfort for those in need. Miss Betsy was an expert in family genealogy and history and was very proud of the fact that her grandfather Graham was the first medical doctor with a full medical degree in Ashe County and her grandmother Della Oliver was renowned for her supreme alto voice.  Her first jobs were working at the old townhouse restaurant and Tweetsie railroad. At Tweetsie she sang and danced, she often sang with Fred Kirby who was a country and western recording and performance artist. Betsy also recorded several albums of much loved Christian music. 

 Betsy attended Appalachian State University and graduated in 1969 cum laude with a degree in primary education. In 1972 she graduated magna cum laude from Appalachian earning her masters degree in reading. Miss Graham taught third grade at Hildebran North Carolina. In Concord/ Cabarrus county she taught fifth grade at Beverly Hills elementary and later taught kindergarten, first grade and remedial reading at Wolf Meadow Elementary school. Betsy was also involved in the creative and performing arts in Cabarrus County. She and her husband founded the Concord children’s theater which later became the Cabarrus youth theater under auspices of both the Concord recreation department as well as the Cabarrus county recreation department. 

 Among Betsy’s accomplishments she was crowned Miss Ashe County in 1965. In 1974 she was selected as the young woman of the year from the business and professional women’s association of Concord/Cabarrus County. However Betsy always considered her greatest pleasure to be sharing God’s love and grace with all she knew. She was a Godly, loving, impulsively generous songbird who always tried in her own way to do the right thing. She is already greatly missed. 

Funeral services for Betsy will be conducted Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. on the family farm located at 9260 Three Top Road, Todd, NC 28648. Burial will follow in the Graham Family Cemetery, Todd.

Friends may visit and sign the register book in the Austin & Barnes Funeral Home Friday, September 24, 2021 from 12:00 noon until 5:00 p.m.

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

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Graham family



Herring, Joyce Annette Tuckwiller

September 26, 1939-September 12, 2021

Joyce Tuckwiller Herring passed away peacefully on September 12, 2021 at Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home in Winston-Salem, NC.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on October 4, 2021 at First Presbyterian Church, 617 North Elm Street, Greensboro, NC.

Joyce was born in Murphy, NC on September 25, 1939 to Lake Ernest and Anne Hensley Tuckwiller. In 1943 the family moved to Boone, NC where she spent her childhood. She attended Appalachian Elementary and Appalachian High School. She is a graduate of Appalachian State University where she earned a BS and MA. She served as a first grade teacher for a number of years at Blowing Rock Elementary where she was loved by the children and fellow teachers. Colleagues described her as a born teacher, understanding the needs of children and appreciating them for the unique little people they were. After earning her MA degree, she worked in mental health in the mountains of NC and Tennessee. She and her devoted husband, Bobby, loved to travel and visited many places over the years including Hawaii where they were married. They lived in Winston-Salem, Boone, and Mesa, Arizona, most recently moving back to Winston-Salem. Each place they lived, life-long friendships were made. Joyce will be remembered for her infectious smile, quick wit, inclusive wink, and interest in friends and family. Affectionately known as “J” by her grandchildren and great grandchildren, her love for children flourished and was evident in each story she shared about them and her interest in their every activity. Throughout her life, and especially at the end of her life, she was so appreciative of their visits, calls, artwork for her, and texts.

She is survived by her husband, Bobby Wayne Herring; son, Joseph Miller, II and wife, Deborah of Boone; step daughter, Lynette Herring Knapp of Cary; granddaughters, Meghann Miller Williams (Terreyl) of Boone, Ashley Miller Sutton (Michael) of Lewisville, and Emma Miller of Chapel Hill; and grandson, Haden Miller of Boone; great grandchildren, Josi and Maeson Sutton of Lewisville and Phoebe and Bryson Williams of Boone. She also is survived by her two sisters, Hilda Broyhill of Wilkesboro and Jane Walker (Garrett) of Greensboro; nephew, Charles Walker, and niece, Elizabeth Walker Illig (Zachery) of Greensboro, as well as, numerous cousins from the Tuckwiller and Hensley families.

Joyce is predeceased by her son, David Miller, an infant daughter, and her parents.

The family would like to thank Gwien Hayes who lovingly cared for Joyce, and the nurses, doctors, and staff at Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home for their care and kindness during the last days of Joyce’s life. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home, 101 Hospice Lane, Winston-Salem, NC 27103.

Hayworth-Miller Funeral Homes, Winston-Salem, NC is assisting the Herring family with arrangements. 

Announcement is courtesy of Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory, Boone, NC; friends may drop by Austin & Barnes to sign a Boone register book (during normal business hours).



Everette Lee Von Bruce

1962 – 2021

Mr. Everette Lee Von Bruce, age 59, of Boomer, passed away Sunday, September 19, 2021 at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.  Born August 24, 1962 in Campbell County, TN, he was a son of the late Lender Bartlett Bruce and Everette Bruce.  Everette was an active member of Goshen Baptist Church. Bruce was a US Army Veteran, having served for 4 years and attaining the rank of SP4. In addition to loving the Lord, Bruce as he was known also loved raising horses and fishing.  He mentored many children of all ages in horsemanship over the years.  

He is survived by his wife, Patricia Ward Bruce, one daughter, Tabitha Richards of Boone, one granddaughter, Hailey Bradshaw of Boone, one grandson, Zachary Bradshaw of Boone, his father, Everette Bruce of Cookeville, Tennessee, one brother, Ray Bruce of Cookeville, Tennessee, a special niece, Marcie Edmisten and Jonathan, a special friend who was like a daughter, Breanna Pipes and her daughter, Serena.  He is also survived by a number of other family member, friends and his church family. In addition to his mother, he was preceded in death by a very special nephew, Jeremy. 

Funeral services for Everette Bruce will be conducted Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at 12 noon at Austin & Barnes Funeral Home.  Officiating will be Preacher Brian Miller and Rev. Randall Lendermon.  The family will receive friends prior to the service from 11 am until noon at the funeral home.  Military honors will be provided by American Legion Post 130. Those attending are requested to wear a mask.  Flowers are accepted or memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 222 South Church Street, Suite 336M, Charlotte, NC 28202. 

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

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the Bruce family



Joseph Allen Dugger

May 05, 1964 – September 14, 2021

Joseph Allen Dugger, age 57, of Boone, passed away Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at Watauga Medical Center.

He is survived by his wife, Amy Dugger of Boone, one daughter, Kelly Ann Dugger of Boone, one son, Joseph Daniel Dugger of Boone and three grandchildren, Jacob Harmon, Joshua Harmon and Amber Harmon all of Mountain City, Tennessee and one sister, Lora Harris and husband Jim of Butler, Tennessee.

He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Joseph Elmer Dugger and Wilma Rose Dugger, one sister, Betty Renee Payne and one brother, Jackie Hugh Dugger.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to The Salvation Army.

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

Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements



Linda G. Freeman

September 18, 1951 – January 15, 2021

Linda Phillips Freeman, age 69, of Blowing Rock, wife of Carl Freeman, passed away Friday, January 15, 2021 at Watauga Medical Center.

A celebration of life for Linda will be held Saturday, October 23, 2021, at 11:00 o’clock at First Baptist Blowing Rock. Pastor Rusty Guenther will officiate. Friends and family will be invited to share any memories they have of Linda.

The family will receive friends following the service.

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

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



Michael John Greaves

March 30, 1973 – September 16, 2021

Michael John Greaves, age 48, of Vilas, passed away Thursday, September 16, 2021, at his residence.

He was born March 30, 1973, in Phoenix, Arizona, a son of the late Gerald Edward Greaves and Teresa Christine Hawkins Greaves and he was a salesman.

He is survived by one son, Gabriel Elias Greaves of Zionville; one daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Greaves of Boone and one brother, Chris Edward Greaves and wife Chloee of St. Augustine, Florida.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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

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



Carolyn ” Mama C.” Yates Puckett

November 23, 1942 – September 19, 202

Carolyn “Mama C” Yates Puckett, age 78, of Vilas, passed away Sunday, September 19, 2021 at her residence.

She was born November 23, 1942 in Watauga County. A daughter of the late Dexter and Victoria Smith Yates.

She is survived by one son, Alex Stout and wife Amy, one granddaughter, Elexis Stout and one grandson, William Stout all of High Point; three sisters, Patt Paal of Boone; Ann DeIgrippo of Vilas and Mary Alice Wilson and husband Tim of Boone. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

In addition to her father and mother she was preceded in death by a brother-in-law, Jim Paal.

A memorial service for Carolyn Yates Puckett will be conducted at a later date.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Wounded Warrior Project at www.woundedwarriorproject.org

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

Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements



Alfred “Joe” Benfield

September 20, 1949 – September 16, 2021

Alfred “Joe” L. Benfield, age 71, of Newland, North Carolina passed away on Thursday, September 16, 2021 (after bravely fighting cancer) at his home with his family by his side.

Joe was born on September 20, 1949 in Avery County, North Carolina, a son of the late A.J. Wright and the late Della Benfield. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his in laws, Luis Felipe and Esperanza Sarti of Guatamela Central America.

He enjoyed his life and family in Avery County and volunteered with the Avery County Rescue Squad. Joe enjoyed working as Christmas Tree Farmer and fishing, hunting, hiking, traveling with friends and family. He proudly served his country in the United States Marine Corps from 1967-1973 during the Vietnam War. While deployed as a guard at the American Embassy in Guatemala in Central America, he met the love of his life, Rosa.

Alfred leaves behind to cherish his memory are his loving wife of 48 years, Rosa Maria Sarti Benfield; daughter, Annabella (Brian) Cole; two sons, Luis A (Natalie) Benfield, Shane (Abbey) Benfield; six grandchildren, Adrianna and Cierra Cole, Elijah, Jude, Reese and Charlotte Benfield; four sisters, Donna (Harold) Gragg, Gail Smith, Joyce (Jeff) Bumgarner, June (Tim) Smith; two very special cousins, Harry Benfield, Jr. and Gary Benfield; He cherished every moment with extended family, nieces, nephews and cousins both here in the United States and in Guatemala Central America.

The family would like to extend their sincere thanks and appreciation to Scott Resnik and the Veterans Group, Hospice of the Blue Ridge, Dr. Robert Clark and the Charles George VA Medical Center.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to your local Veterans Group.

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

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



Lena Cole

May 26, 1960 – September 4, 2021

Lena Cole, age 61, of Newland, North Carolina passed away on Saturday, September 4, 2021 at the Watauga Medical Center.

Lena was born on May 26, 1960 in Washington County, Tennessee, a daughter of Patricia Hoilman of Newland and the late Robert Andrew Sharp.

She graduated from Unicoi High School and attended the Johnson Chapel in Newland. Lena enjoyed going places and seeing new sights, she served her country in the United States Army National Guard..

She was preceded in death by her Father, Robert Andrew Sharp; Husband, Johnny Lynn Cole.

In addition to her mother, Lena leaves behind to cherish her memory a Son, Danny Ray Saylor of Newland, NC; Grandson, Daniel Saylor of Newland, NC.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2021 beginning at 3PM at Fellowship Baptist Church, 631 Squirrel Creek Road, Newland, NC 28657.

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