Home - Obits - Archived Obituaries - April 2013


Archived Obits April 2013



Mr. Richard Neal Lane, 75, of Morganton, NC passed away unexpectedly, Monday, April 1, 2013 at his residence. Born on November 23, 1937 in Burke County, NC, he was a son of the late Edward Benson Lane, Sr. and Angie Lee Hawkins Lane. Richard attended Morganton City Schools and went on to graduate from Appalachian State Teachers College (now ASU). His teaching career began in Burke County at Salem School and Mull School followed by several years in the Polk County School System. He spent the remaining years of his teaching career at Southmont Elementary School in Davidson County. During his tenure at Southmont, Richard was chosen as the Davidson County Teacher of the Year, and was twice selected as the regional finalist for the North Carolina Teacher of the Year. While in Lexington, he served as president of the Davidson County Historical Society. He and his students created a local historical magazine called “Homespun” which featured local genealogy and historic tales. Richard was a professional genealogist who helped many families trace their roots in both Davidson and Burke County.

He was an enthusiastic artist who created landscapes and still life with his brush. He also made unique characters out of paper maché that were sold in stores at Old Salem, and across the United States. His work has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, Early American Life, and McCall’s magazines.

Richard was successful in everything he set out to do. He had a profound respect for history and tradition, and a deep love for his country and the land around us. Richard donated his time and resources to environmental and humanitarian efforts. Most of all, Richard was a friend to many people and will be sorely missed.

He is survived by sisters, Nina Belle Lane Hogan and Mary Frances Bradley and husband, Bob, all of Morganton; a sister-in-law, Betty B. Lane of Rutherfordton, NC; nieces, Martha Hogan Jump, Debra Lane Bradley, Kimberly Ann Bradley, and Mary Bradley Ayers, all of Morganton, Linda Hogan Snell of Flat Rock, NC, Angela Lane Wilkerson of Monroe, NC, and Edie Lane Crook of Gastonia, NC; and ten great nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, Richard was preceded in death by a brother, Edward B. Lane, Jr.; and a brother-in-law, Harry D. Hogan.

A family graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, April 5, 2013 at Burke Memorial Park with Mr. Roger Patton officiating. A gathering of friends will be held from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m., Sunday, April 7, 2013 at North Morganton United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Burke Historical Foundation, 102 E. Union St., Morganton, NC 28655, or to the Burke History Museum, PO Box 416, Morganton, NC 28680. Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is serving the Lane family.




Kenneth Guy “Johnny” Johnson, Sr., 72 of South Mountain Institute Rd., Nebo, NC died Monday, April 1, 2013 at Caldwell Memorial Hospital, Lenoir, NC. Born December 6, 1940 in Avery County, NC, he was a son of the late Shoner and Hope Meredith Johnson. He was a devoted Christian who loved reading the Bible and attending Oak Grove Baptist Church where he was a member. Johnny was an avid hunter and fisherman. He also enjoyed making crafts of which woodworking was his favorite. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, James Abraham Johnson.

A devoted and loving husband, son, father, grandfather, and brother, Johnny is survived by his wife of forty-nine years, Laura Dellinger Johnson; a son, Kenneth Guy Johnson, Jr. of Nebo; grandchildren, Kaelee Cheyennee Johnson and Shoner Kade Johnson; brothers, Shoner Kyle Johnson, Jr. and wife, Mary of Morganton, David Russell Johnson of Newland, and Daniel Paul Johnson of Nebo; sisters, Mona Clark, Becky Hoilman and husband, Herman, Martha Aldridge and husband, Mike all of Newland, and Amanda Keck and husband, David of Denver, NC.

The funeral will be held at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, April 4, 2013 at Oak Grove Baptist Church with the Reverends Gyles Widener and Josh Edwards officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Wednesday at Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center where the body will remain until placed in the church thirty minutes before the service. At other times the family will be at the residence. Memorial gifts may be made to Oak Grove Baptist Church, 1065 Paddy’s Creek Rd., Nebo, NC 28671.




Magdalena Curry, 68, of Morganton, NC died Thursday, April 4, 2013. She was born on July 11, 1944 in Allenstein Ostprussian, Germany and was the daughter of Paula Freitag. Magdalena also has an aunt, Agnus Schepp. Both reside in Giessen, Klein-Linden, Germany. Madga was a loving wife and caring mother. She was well loved and will be missed.

She is survived by her husband, David Curry, Sr. and their three children, Susanne Saunders, Angelika Dulaney, and David, Curry, Jr., all of Morganton; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

No services are planned for Mrs. Curry.

Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family.




Frank Edward Rector, 83, of Morganton died Friday, April 5, 2013 at Grace Heights. Born in Burke County, NC on March 5, 1930, he was the son of the late Robert Lew Rector and Cora Robinson Rector. Frank was a member of Hopewell Baptist Church and was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He retired from Great Lakes Carbon Corp. with 47 years of service. Frank loved to travel and camp.

Mr. Rector is survived by his sons, Stanley Rector and his wife, Carolyn, of Morganton, NC and Sherman Rector and his wife, Linda, of Connelly Springs, NC; daughters, Sherry Prewitt and her husband, Dennis, Terry Cline and her husband, Kevin, and Patricia Johnson and her husband, Keith, all of Morganton; grandchildren, Marcia Whitehead and her husband, Markeith, Stacy Berry, Joshua Guffey, Brianna Johnson, Jason Norville, Damien Clark, Ashley Johnson, Michelle Smith and her husband, Lucian, Michael Thomas, and Jeff Thomas; eleven great-grandchildren; siblings, Thelma Presnell of Marion, NC, Stanley Rector and his wife, Joyce, of Morganton, Pat Vess and her husband, Claude, of Burnsville, NC, Lorene Craddock and her husband, Bill, of Salisbury, NC, and Frances McMahan and her husband, Mike, of Burnsville.; and a number of nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, Frank was preceded in death by his wife, Maxine Whetstine Rector.

The funeral will be held at 4:00 p.m., Sunday, April 7, 2013 at Hopewell Baptist Church with the Rev. Danny Emory officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery with military honors provided by the Rowan County Veterans Honor Guard. The family will receive friends at the church for one hour prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., 1721 Enon Road, Valdese, NC 28690.

Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.




Vickie Flynn Little, 35, of Morganton passed away Saturday, April 6, 2013 after a lengthy illness. Born in Burke County, NC on June 2, 1977, she was the loving daughter of Sammy and Mae Stillwell Flynn of Morganton. Vickie was a 1995 graduate of Freedom High School. She worked briefly in the canteen at Western Carolina Center and in the therapy department at Broughton Hospital.

In addition to her parents, Vickie is survived by her husband, Gilbert Little of the home; sons, Daniel and Jeremiah Little of the home; a brother, Ben Flynn; her mother-in-law, Peggy Temple; several aunts and uncles; and numerous, loving cousins.

Vickie was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Howard and Edna Whisenant Stillwell, and her paternal grandparents, John Flynn and Bertie Flynn Michaels.

God blessed Vickie with such a loving family.

The funeral will be held at 1:00 p.m., Monday, April 8, 2013 at Oak Grove Baptist Church with the Rev. Gyles Widener and the Rev. Dr. Steve Parker officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends Sunday evening from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. at Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Carolinas Chapter, 7506 East Independence Blvd., Suite 120, Charlotte, NC 28227.




Thelma Mae Brittain Whisnant, 79, of Morganton died Friday, April 5, 2013. Born in Burke County, NC on September 14, 1933, she was the daughter of the late Charlie Edward Brittain and Katie Mae Rudicill Brittain. Thelma was a member of Nowlings Chapel Freewill Baptist Church. She was a wonderful baker, particularly when it came to pies and cakes, and she loved to shop and work in the flower garden. Thelma babysat for many children.

Mrs. Whisnant is survived by her husband of 49 years, Arvel “Gene” Whisnant of the home; a daughter, Robin Key and her husband, James, of Morganton; grandchildren, Raven and Weston Key; and a sister, Mary Watson of Morganton.

In addition to her parents, Thelma was preceded in death by three brothers, Virgil, Lonnie, and Lee Brittain; and two sisters, Katherine McGee and Rachel Lou Whisnant.

The funeral will be held at 1:30 p.m., Monday, April 8, 2013 in the Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home with the Rev. Darvy Hensley officiating. Burial will follow in Burke Memorial Park. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 1:00 until 1:30 prior to the service.




Patricia “Pat” Jaynes Sanders, 82, of Morganton departed her life and went to her heavenly home on Sunday, April 7, 2013 following an extended illness. Born May 5, 1930 in Morganton, she was the daughter of the late Caleb W. Jaynes and Bonnie Ballard Jaynes. In addition to her parents, Patricia was preceded in death by her brother, Thomas Lee Jaynes, who was killed while serving in the U.S. Army.

Pat was a dedicated member of First United Methodist Church where she was a devoted member of the Aldersgate Sunday School class, served on the Missions Committee, and volunteered in a women’s circle.

Pat was a 1949 graduate of Morganton High School, where she was First Majorette in the band. While there, she met her future husband, Doug, who was the Drum Major at the time. She furthered her education at Lenoir Rhyne College where she received a B.A. in Business and graduated in 1953 with high honors. While at Lenoir Rhyne, she was First Majorette in their band and was on the A Honor Roll. Pat was also a member of the Chi Omega Sorority, Cappella Choir, YWCA, was a leader in the May Day Dance, and was named Miss Lenoir Rhyne College her graduating year.

Pat began her teaching career at Oak Hill High School. She continued her career teaching business, history, and language arts in Windsor County and Durham City Schools and co-founded the St. Mary’s Country Day School in Hillsborough. Pat retired in 1981. While teaching, she received numerous awards and was a member of the Alpha Delta Kappa Teacher’s Society.

Pat and Doug returned to Morganton in 1993 and rekindled old friendships. They became active in the church and community; Pat joined the Women’s Club, Morganton Pilot Club, Mimosa Hills Ladies Golf Association, the Dutch Club, and volunteered with the Burke County Public Schools. She and Doug financially supported Hillcrest Elementary School, Forest Hill Elementary School, Walter Johnson Middle School, and Freedom High School. Pat served as an EOG proctor for three years at Walter Johnson Middle School. Both Pat and Doug were active supporters of the Lenoir Rhyne College Band, attended all the Lenoir Rhyne football games, and were actively involved with the music program.

Pat and Doug had two special interests: the Lenoir Rhyne College Band and the Mercedes Benz Club of America. In 1998, Pat and Doug received the Starfest Concours d’Elegance Award in Savannah, GA. On April 27, 2002, she received the Opal L. Moretz Alumni Service Award at Lenoir Rhyne College. A member of the Lenoir Rhyne College President’s Society and Piedmont’s Educational Foundation, Pat’s highest honor was in 2008 when Lenoir Rhyne dedicated and named “The Doug and Pat Sanders Band Room.”

Pat is survived by her loving husband and faithful companion of 57 years, Charles Douglas “Doug” Sanders of the home; her cousins, Oval Jaynes, Jr. and his wife, Priscilla, Lillian Hoyle and her son, Carroll Hoyle, Jr., Richard Oates, Ned Thompson and his wife, Ann; numerous second and third cousins; and special friends, Edith and Eugene Hughson, Ben and Sara Lou Succop, Joyce Byrd, Rob and Shirley Byrd, Dixon and Jeanne Byrd, David and Diane Ebert, Kay Childres, Patsy Bowers, Jeff and Kelly Messenheimer, Dr. John and Vivian Dembski, Ray and Sarah Lou Deal, Dr. Fernando and Gabriella De La Serna, Mike Imboden, Lawson Callahan, Sherry Senter, Phil Scarborough, and Robert Johnston.

The family would like to give a special thanks to Dr. Edward T. Plyler, Dr. David Ellertson, and the physicians and staff at Burke Hospice and Palliative Care.

The family will receive friends Wednesday, April 10, 2013 from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. at Sossoman Funeral Home. A celebration of Pat’s life will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at First United Methodist Church in Morganton. Burial will follow in Forest Hill Cemetery. Serving as pallbearers will be Oval Jaynes, Jr., Ben Succop, Dixon Byrd, David Ebert, Dr. John Dembski, and Robert Johnston. Honorary pallbearers will be Benjamin Succop, Jr., Jared Dembski, Jordan Dembski, and Jacob Dembski.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First United Methodist Church Vacation Bible School Fund or Church Maintenance Fund, 200 N. King Street, Morganton, NC 28655 or to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc, 1721 Enon Road, Valdese, NC 28690.




Richard “Dick” Austin, 78, of Morganton died Monday, April 8, 2013. He was born in Burke County on February 10, 1935 and was a son of the late Hubert William Austin and Mary Swanson Austin. Dick was a retired police officer from the Morganton Department of Public Safety and served with the Army National Guard. He was a member of Asheville Street Baptist Church and enjoyed Gospel music, singing, and traveling.

Dick is survived by his wife, Ruby Phillips Austin; sons and their wives, Richard “Allen” and Reneé Austin and Mark and Carol Austin; grandchildren, Michael Austin and his wife, Amber, Josh Austin, and Tiffany Austin; and a great-grandchild, Ian Austin, all of Morganton; his brother, Sherrill Austin and his wife, Brenda of South Carolina; and two nieces.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at Asheville Street Baptist Church with Rev. Doug Goforth officiating. Burial will follow at Burke Memorial Park with military honors by the NC National Guard and the Caldwell County Veterans Honor Guard. The family will receive friends from 1:00 until 2:00 p.m. Wednesday at the church. Memorial contributions may be made in Dick’s honor to Asheville Street Baptist Church, 119 Asheville St., Morganton, NC 28655 or to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., 1721 Enon Rd., Valdese, NC 28690. Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting with arrangements.




Mary B. Watson, 89, of Morganton, NC died Monday, April 8, 2013 at Autumn Care of Drexel. Mary was born on September 3, 1923 in Burke County to the late Charlie Edward Brittain and Katie Mae Rudicille Brittain. She was a member of Mount Home Baptist Church. Mary was a homemaker and loved to cook and bake.

Mary is survived by a son, Gary W. Watson and his wife, Roxie of Morganton; a special sister-in-law, Ava Brittain; and a number of nieces and nephew. The family would like to give a special thank you to the staff at Morganton Internal Medicine and to Dr. David Abernathy.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Wade Cloyd Watson; brothers, Lee Brittain, Virgil Brittain and Lonnie Brittain; and sisters, Katherine McGee, Rachel Whisnant, Anna Belle Brittain and Thelma Whisnant.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center with Rev. Jerry Gamble officiating. Burial will follow at Burke Memorial Park. The family will receive one hour prior to the funeral at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the family to help with funeral expenses.




Luther Ray Curtis, 92, of Morganton died Tuesday, April 9, 2013. Mr. Curtis was born June 21, 1920 in Burke County to the late Walter Washington Curtis and Della Bentley Curtis. He was retired from Waldensian Bakery and a member of Pleasant View Baptist Church. Mr. Curtis enjoyed gardening, and had a magnificent dahlia garden at his home in Jonas Ridge.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth Elizabeth Small Curtis; son, Jerry Allen Curtis; brothers, Carl, Loyd and baby brother, John, Howard and Rev. Ernest Curtis; sisters, Rowena Mull and Ruth Carswell; half-brothers, Dean and Buford Curtis; half-sister, Mae Ferguson and step-brother, Rev. Darwin Lingerfelt.

Mr. Curtis is survived by his daughter, Gloria Curtis Jernigan of Hudson; granddaughter, Vicki Elizabeth Haigler and her husband, David of Hudson; brothers, Ralph Curtis and wife, Louise, and Cloyd Curtis and wife, Betty, both of Morganton, half-brothers, Bob and Reba Curtis of Banner Elk, Clyde Curtis and Ray Curtis of Morganton, and Charles and Margaret Curtis of Greensboro; half-sister, Pat and Larry Huntley of Ft. Mills, SC; step-brother, Tommy and Glenda Lingerfelt and step-sisters, Ruby and Frank Wood and Gladys Chapman all of Morganton numerous nieces and nephews, and his caregivers, Virginia Lowman, Amanda Stacy and Ann Pendley.

A celebration of Mr. Curtis life will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, April 13, 2013 in the Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center with the Rev. Dr. Burt Wilbur officiating. Burial will follow the service at Burke Memorial Park. The family will receive friend one hour prior to the service. Memorial contributions may be made to Pleasant View Baptist Church, 14834 US 70 East, Morganton, NC 28655.




Guy N. “Paw” Davis, 85, of Morganton went to his Heavenly Home to be reunited with Maw on Tuesday, April 9, 2013. Born in Madison County, NC on April 16, 1927, he was the son of the late Grady and Bessie Davis. Guy was a member of Nowlings Chapel Freewill Baptist Church. He was a former employee of Drexel Heritage Furnishings and retired from Henredon Furniture. Following his retirement, he enjoyed woodcrafts and gardening. A family man, Guy especially loved his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He loved and was loved by many, and he never met a stranger.

Guy is survived by his children, Peggy Davis Johnson and her husband, James; Kenneth H. Davis and his wife, Kathy; Gary N. Davis and his wife, Judy, Judy Davis Dale and her husband, Randy; Bobby Joe Davis and his wife, Nancy; Vicki Davis Mayfield and her husband, David; Randy Olin Davis and his wife, Donna; and Pamela Davis Moses and her husband, Jeff; thirteen grandchildren; thirteen great-grandchildren; a brother, Lock Davis and his wife, Liz; sisters, Zora Chapman and her husband, Lee; Ellen Roper and her husband, Junior; Iva Waters and her husband, Dean; and Zona Purkey and her husband, Jerry; and a number of nephews and nieces.

In addition to his parents, Guy was preceded in death by his wife, Velma Marie Taylor Davis, who he took care of in her later years; a grandchild, Cody Davis; a brother, James Davis; and two sisters, Zelda Rice and Thelma Tipton.

The funeral will be held at 1:00 p.m., Friday, April 12, 2013 at Nowlings Chapel Freewill Baptist Church with the Rev. Darvy Hensley and the Rev. Jack Moses officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends at the church from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. prior to the service. At other times the family will be at Guy’s residence.

Memorial contributions may be made to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., 1721 Enon Road, Valdese, NC 28690 or to Special Olympics North Carolina – Burke County, 200 Poteat Road, Morganton, NC 28655.

Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.




Ralph “Toby” Poarch, 75, of Valdese, NC went to reside with his Heavenly Father on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. For the past month his home was Burke Palliative Care Center. Born in Caldwell County, NC on May 18, 1937, he was the son of Hazel Cannon Poarch of Valdese and the late Ralph Ozro Poarch. Toby was a member of Enon Baptist Church and retired from Parker Plumbing. He enjoyed fishing and hunting. Gardening was also a passion of his. He loved sharing the bounty with family, neighbors, and friends.

Toby is survived by his daughters, Sherry Gilley and Angela Poarch, both of Valdese; grandchildren, Joshua Turpin, Jeremiah Turpin, Heather Turpin, and Matthew Poarch; three great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and brothers, James Poarch of Valdese and Jerry Poarch of Hendersonville, NC.

In addition to his father, Toby was preceded in death by his first wife, Pansy Poarch, his second wife, Carolyn Mae Whisnant Poarch; sons, Phillip Jeffrey Poarch and Kevin Poarch; a grandson, Adam Poarch; and a brother, Bobby Poarch.

Graveside services will be held at 1:00 p.m., Sunday, April 14, 2013 at Enon Baptist Church Cemetery with the Rev. Gary Garner officiating.

Memorial contributions may be made to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., 1721 Enon Road, Valdese, NC 28690.

Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.




Richard Alan Ferguson, 68, of Morganton died Wednesday, April 10, 2013. Richard was the son of Madeline Doll Ferguson of Huntington, NY and the late Robert G. Ferguson. Richard grew up in Long Island, NY and lived in Phoenix, AZ for 40 years. He retired from Northern Trust Bank in Phoenix and moved to Morganton in 2008 where he was a member of the First Presbyterian Church.

Richard is survived by his wife of 49 years, Judy Person Ferguson; a son, Nathaniel Ferguson of Hickory, NC; a daughter, Kimberly Ann Ferguson of San Diego, CA; a sister, Virginia Parks and her husband, Tom, of Morganton; brothers, Russell Ferguson of Huntington, NY and Roger Ferguson and his wife, Lori, of New Salem, NY; and several nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be held at 11:00 a.m., Monday, April 15, 2013 at First Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Michael Bailey officiating. The family will receive friends Sunday evening from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. at Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center.

Memorial contributions may be made to Burke County Friends for Animals, P.O. Box 1884, Morganton, NC 28680.




Leona B. Harmon, 68, of Morganton, NC died Thursday, April 11, 2013 at her residence. Born in Smith County, VA on December 25, 1944, she was the daughter of the late John Henry Bullins and Frances Irene Gross Bullins.

Leona is survived by her children, Marie Netherton, Becky Beam and her husband, Wayne, and Dean “Deano” Harmon and his wife, Emma, all of Morganton; grandchildren, Jeffery Netherton, Tabitha Duckworth, Zackary Netherton, Dustin Pennington, Heather Pennington, Dean Edward Harmon, Beth Harmon, Myra Harmon, and Alicia Harmon; great-grandchildren, Dorrean Moore, Dillon Duckworth, Jr., Tanner Duckworth, Ryan Pennington, Kiley Wallace, and Trenton Deal; nephews, Johnny Bullins and Christopher Bullins; and extended family, Jimmy Netherton.

In addition to her parents, Leona was preceded in death by her first husband, Arthur Graham Henegar; her second husband, William Dean Harmon; and a brother, Jacob “Bill” Bullins.

The funeral will be held at 3:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 16, 2013 in the Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home with the Rev. Homer Murdock officiating. Burial will follow in Forest Hill Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral home for one hour prior to the service.




Grace Cook Hughes, 75, of Morganton, NC went home to be with her Lord & Savior at her residence on Saturday, April 13, 2013. She was born February 9, 1938 in Yancey County, NC to the late Ralph Estes Cook and Margarette Wilson Cook. Grace was a member at Freedom Baptist Church. She worked for many years at several area textile companies and as a caregiver with Handicare. She was a devoted caregiver to her parents and other family members. She was an avid gardener and a loving wife, mother and grandmother.

In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by, grandson, Chad Hughes; brothers, Luther Cook, Lloyd Cook, Thermon Cook; and sisters, Deborah Cook and Wilma Cook.

Grace is survived by her husband of 54 years, Charles B. Hughes; sons, Burdette Hughes and his wife, Pat, Darryl Hughes and his wife, Daphne, Doug Hughes and his wife, Kim all of Morganton, Joshua Hughes and Caleb Hughes both of the home; daughters, Norma Speagle and her husband, Randy, Shannon Hughes and Andréanna Furr all of Morganton; grandchildren, Jason Hughes, Jimbob Hughes, Chris Hughes, Darlene Hughes, Crystal Hughes, Stephanie Robinson and her husband, Daniel, Dawson Speagle, Beth Hughes, Bynum Hughes and his wife, Lisa, Wade Shuping, Michael Shuping, Amanda Shuping, Jamie Mayfield, and Donnie Webb; 18 great-grandchildren; 1 great-great-grandchild; special Caregiver, Sara Sigmon; a special sister, Rita Robinson and her husband, Clarence; brothers, James Cook and his wife, Ruby of Connelly Springs and Roscoe Cook of Burnsville; sister, Joyce Wheeling of Valdese; and sister-in-law, Ann Cook of Connelly Springs.

The funeral will be held at 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at Faith Missionary Baptist Church with Rev. Terry Robinson and Leonard Lindsay. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the church. Memorial contributions may be made to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., 1721 Enon Rd., Valdese, NC 28690 or to American Cancer Society, 4-A Oak Branch Dr., Greensboro, NC 27407. Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family.




Edward Drannan Hollifield, 85, of Morganton, died Saturday April 13, 2013 follow a period of declining health. He was born in Cleveland County, NC on January 5, 1928 and was a son of the late J. A. and Alma Wood Hollifield. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by four sisters and three brothers. Mr. Hollifield was a member of Mount Home Baptist Church and was a retired employee of Broughton Hospital.

Edward is survived by his wife of 68 years, Dorothy Greene Hollifield; sons and their wives, Roger D. and Faye Hollifield of Morganton, Guy and Joyce Hollifield of Lincolnton, NC, and Richard and Wanda Hollifield of Boiling Springs, NC; five grandchildren, Larry, Shelley, Bryan, Drannan, and Vance; and seven great-grandchildren.

The funeral will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in the Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home with Rev. Jerry Gamble and Rev. Bob Deviney officiating. Edward’s special friends from Allison’s Restaurant will service as honorary pallbearers. The family will receive friends one hour before the funeral. Graveside services will be at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday at Trinity Baptist Church Cemetery in Mooresboro, NC. At other times the family will be at the home, 111 Murphy Court. Memorial contributions may be made to Mount Home Baptist Church Building Fund, 2272 Mount Home Church Rd., Morganton, NC 28655.




Shelton Woody, 79, of Valdese, NC passed away Sunday, April 14, 2013 at his residence. Born in Yancey County, NC on August 13, 1933, he was the son of the late Rassie Woody and Ocie Randolph Woody. Shelton was a member and deacon of Pleasant View Baptist Church. He graduated from Drexel High School in 1951 and worked as a truck driver for Breeden Poultry for thirty-four years and Henredon Furniture for twelve years. After his retirement, he helped his son-in-law at Giovanni’s Pizza in Valdese. He was an avid fan of Winston Cup NASCAR racing.

Shelton is survived by his wife of 57 years, Belinda McGalliard Woody of the home; a son, Micheal S. Woody of Valdese; a daughter, Marchalle Woody Causby and her husband, Randy, of Rutherford College, NC; a grandson, Casey McBrayer of Morganton; a great-grandson, Fletcher McBrayer; a brother, Sidney L. Woody and his wife, Peggy, of McLeansville, NC; sisters, Geraldine Rector of Morganton and Jean Eppley and her husband, Wayne, of Gastonia, NC; a step-granddaughter, Lauren Kerley and her husband, Jeremy, of Hudson, NC; a step-grandson, Justin Causby and his fiancée, Brandy Burrell, of Gastonia, NC; a step-great-grandson, Conner Kerley; his “grand girls,” Ariana and Alina Burns; brothers-in-law, Earl Holder and Alvin Clarke both of Valdese; a sister-in-law, Delene Wilson and husband, Glen of Kodiak, TN; and seventeen nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, Shelton was preceded in death by his mother-in-law, Stella McGalliard.

The funeral will be held at 3:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at Pleasant View Baptist Church with Dr. Burt Wilbur and the Rev. Bruce Piercy officiating. Burial will follow in Burke Memorial Park. The family will receive friends at the church from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. prior to the service.

Memorial contributions may be made to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc, 1721 Enon Road, Valdese, NC 28690, Pleasant View Baptist Church, 1834 US 70 East, Morganton, NC 28655, or to the National Brain Tumor Society, 55 Chapel Street, Suite 200, Newton, MA 02458.

Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.




Danny Herbert Lingerfelt, 73, of Morganton, NC died Sunday, April 14, 2013, from complications of pneumonia with his family at his bedside at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. Born September 11, 1939 in Burke County, NC, he was the son of the late James H. Lingerfelt and Jeanette Peeler Lingerfelt. Danny attended local schools and graduated in 1957 from Morganton High School where he served as Class President. He attended NC State for two years and then transferred to Lenoir Rhyne University where he earned his business degree in 1961. He married Marilyn Hotchkiss in August of 1961. Danny was drafted by the US Army in 1962 and served two years at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL.

Danny’s total career was in the area of Finance which included serving as Budget Officer at Broughton Hospital, Business Manager at Western Piedmont Community College, and Branch/District Manager for the State Employees Credit Union. He was responsible for overseeing the establishment/construction of 13 SECU facilities in Western North Carolina. Danny retired in March of 1999 from the Credit Union with 30 years of service.

He was an active member and faithful volunteer of First United Methodist Church where he served on a variety of committees throughout the years and was a member of the Men’s Bible Study Group. He served on the Morganton City Council for eight years. Flags were flown at half-staff this week in recognition of his service to the City of Morganton. He was a past member of the Board of Grace Hospital and was active in various community activities. Danny organized the Morganton High School ’57 Lunch Bunch who enjoyed getting together for meals and fellowship on a regular basis.

After retirement and as grandchildren grew, Danny was a regular at ALL of their school sporting events. “Grandy” was their biggest fan! He was so proud of all his family and supported them in many ways through his love, guidance, and example. Danny enjoyed working outside, especially gardening and did that for many years until his health forced him to quit. He loved sharing his produce with family, friends, and neighbors.

He is survived by his wife, Marilyn Lingerfelt of the home; daughters, Susan Lingerfelt Murray, and Kate Lingerfelt Caraway and her husband, Chris, all of Morganton; grandchildren, Luke and Noah Murray, Hayden, Riley, and Hayley Caraway; sisters, Barbara Lingerfelt and Jackie Ward and her husband, Dave, all of Morganton; and sister-in-law, Beth Stonebrook and husband, Don, of Wichita, Kansas.

A memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m., Sunday, April 21, 2013 at the First United Methodist Church with Rev. Dr. John Fowler and Rev. Todd McCullough officiating. Military honors will be conducted by the NC National Guard and the Caldwell Veterans Honor Guard. The family will receive friends Sunday from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. in the church fellowship hall.

Memorial contributions may be made to the First United Methodist Church Preservation Fund, 200 North King St., Morganton, NC 28655, or to the Patton High School Athletic Booster Club, 701 Enola Rd., Morganton, NC 28655.

Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.




Hershel L. Huffman, 85, of Morganton passed away on Monday, April 15, 2013 at his residence. Born in Smyth County, VA on December 10, 1927, he was the son of the late Daniel Brack Huffman and Dulcie Combs Huffman. Hershel was a U.S. Army veteran of WWII. He moved to Morganton 10 years ago to stay with his son and family after his wife passed away.

Mr. Huffman is survived by his son, Robert Huffman and his wife, Debra, of Morganton and Danny Huffman of North Carolina; grandchildren, Robbie Huffman and wife, Bao, and Heather Howell and husband, Harry; five great-grandchildren; and brothers, Ernest Huffman of Pennsylvania, Russell Huffman of Virginia, and Blaine Huffman of Virginia.

In addition to his parents, Hershel was preceded in death by his wife, Marie Zittle Huffman, and his daughter, Brenda Roop.

The graveside service will be held at 1:00 p.m., Friday, April 19, 2013 at Laurel Valley Cemetery in Konnarock, VA. with the Reverend Jerry Fritz officiating. Military honors will be provided by the VA National Guard and Highlands Veterans Ceremonial Team The family will receive friends Thursday evening from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m. at Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center.




Christian James Churchill, 7, of Raleigh, NC, our precious gift from God, went to Heaven to be with Jesus on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at Duke University Hospital. Born in Wake County, NC on July 19, 2005, he is the beautiful son of Kristopher Alston Churchill and Melissa Brinkley Churchill of Raleigh.

In addition to his parents, Christian is survived by his sister, Kylea Grace Churchill; his grandparents, Jim Churchill of Morganton, Lexi Churchill of Hickory, NC, and Tim and Annette Brinkley of Drexel, NC; his great-grandfather, James G. Brinkley; aunts and uncles, Niki and Steve Lowman, Brent and Sommer Brinkley, and Alycen Brinkley; and cousins, Alex and Alston Lowman, Kody and Kara Brinkley, and Connor Cocke.

Christian was preceded in death by great-grandparents, Oren and Maxine Palmer, Woodrow and Helen Singleton, and Marzelle Brinkley.

Christian attended The Mariposa School in Cary from age 3 until age 6. His teachers Chris, Mary Beth, Darcie, Jordan, and Adrian are considered extended family as they loved and cared for him as such. Christian was currently attending Reedy Creek Elementary in Cary.

The celebration of Christian’s life will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, April 20, 2013 at Pleasant View Baptist Church with Dr. John Mason and Dr. Burt Wilbur officiating. Burial will follow at Burke Memorial Park. The family will receive friends at the church from 1:00 until 2:00 p.m. prior to the service. The family welcomes guests to wear brightly colored, casual attire in honor of Christian’s fun loving spirit. Memorial contributions may be made to The Mariposa School, 203 Gregson Drive, Cary, NC 27511.

Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.




Montene Sojourner Deal, 87, of Drexel, NC died Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at the Burke Palliative Care Center. Born in Mississippi on May 6, 1925, she was the daughter of the late Furman and Lillian Sojourner. Ms. Deal moved to Burke County with her family at the age of 13 and resided in Drexel most of her life. She was a longtime member of the First Church of God where she enjoyed singing in the choir and belonging to the women’s group. One of her greatest joys at church was her loving service in the nursery. Montene worked at Alba Waldensian for many years and retired from Western Carolina Center.

Montene loved to work in her flowers and crochet. The most important part of her life was her family, and she especially enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was a wonderful Mamaw to them and to many who considered her their own. Montene was also well-known in the Drexel community for her delicious sweet tea and was often called on to make it for special occasions, including the Drexel Community Fair.

Montene is survived by her sons, Rodney Deal and his wife, Alyce, of Valdese, NC, Ted Deal and his wife, Kay, of Peoria, IL, and Don Deal and his wife, Donita, of Drexel; grandchildren, Alycen Wilson and her husband, Jay, of Hickory, Todd Deal and his wife, Connie, of San Diego, CA, Troy Deal of Battle Creek, MI, Donielle Rector and her husband, Mark, of Drexel, and Donovan Deal of Raleigh, NC; great-grandchildren, Jacob Wilson, Meredith Wilson, Francis Deal, Timothy Deal, Kristina Deal, Malachi Deal, Levi Deal, Emma Rector, and Luke Rector; a sister, Minyonne Burns of Kingsport, TN; and a number of nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, Montene was preceded in death by her husband, Richard Deal.

The funeral will be held at 4:00 p.m., Thursday, April 18, 2013 at Drexel First Church of God with the Reverends Don Smith and Steve Greer officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends at the church from 2:30 until 4:00 p.m. prior to the service.

Memorial contributions may be made to Drexel First Church of God, Kids Under Construction, P.O. Box 218, Drexel, NC 28619.

Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.




Marianne LaFevers Westall, 82, of Morganton died Tuesday, April 16, 2013. She was born in Frankfort, Germany on September 28, 1930. Marianne was an active and lifelong member of Bethel United Methodist Church on Bethel Road. She retired from Drexel Heritage in 1985.

Mrs. Westall is survived by her husband, Wade Westall of the home; a son, Harry LaFevers and his wife, Sun, of DuPont, WA; grandchildren, Christina Lopez and her husband, Martin, of Clarksville, TN and Victoria LaFevers of Manhattan, NY; and great-grandchildren, Marabella and Christopher Lopez.

Marianne was preceded in death by her first husband, Spurling Lee LaFevers.

The funeral will be held at 3:00 p.m., Sunday, April 21, 2013 at Bethel United Methodist Church on Bethel Road with the Reverends Butch Osborne and Willie Rash officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends Saturday afternoon at the church from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to Bethel United Methodist Church, 1328 Bethel Road, Morganton, NC 28655.

Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.




Alma “Pauline” Barrier, 93, of Jonas Ridge, NC passed away on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Born in Burke County, NC on April 24, 1919, she was the daughter of the late Azor Barrier and Charity Augusta “Gussie” Henson Barrier. Pauline was a lifelong member of the Jonas Ridge United Methodist Church and retired from the Avery County School System where she had served as a lunchroom cashier for over 20 years.

Pauline is survived by her daughter, Sheila Barrier and her husband, Virgil, of Jonas Ridge; a son, Johnny Ray Barrier and his wife, Bette, of Jonas Ridge; grandchildren, Shelly Henry and her husband, Eric, of Greensboro, NC, Trey Barrier of Jonas Ridge, Jennifer Hudson and her husband, Eddie, of Jonas Ridge, and Cindy Chapman and her husband, Ty, of Morganton, NC; and great-grandchildren, Rusk Henry, Evan Chapman, and Clint Manuel.

In addition to her parents, Pauline was preceded in death by her husband, Lonnie Woodrow Barrier, and eleven siblings.

The funeral will be held at 3:00 p.m., Friday, April 19, 2013 at Jonas Ridge United Methodist Church with the Reverends Terry Duckworth and Keith Nichols officiating. Burial will follow in Jonas Ridge Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the church from 1:30 until 3:00 p.m. prior to the service. At other times the family will be at the residence of the daughter, Sheila Barrier.

Memorial contributions may be made to the family to help with funeral expenses.

Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.




Kimberly Marie Fox Banner, 56, of Morganton, went home to be with her heavenly Father, Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. She was born in Burke County, November 20, 1956 and was the daughter of Dolly Dean Roberson Fox and the late Paul E. Fox, Jr. She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother. She worked as a preschool teacher for 18 years at Little Lamb Preschool. Kimberly enjoyed baking cakes, going to the mountains and walks on the beach. She enjoyed being around her church family and loved being with her grandchildren. She was a member of Catawba Valley Baptist Church.

She is survived by her husband, Eddie D. Banner: son, Jason Banner and wife, Kelli of Valdese; daughter, Ashley Banner Penley and husband, Richard of Morganton; grandchildren, Devin Shuping, Katlin Wolfe, Nicholas Banner, Austin Wolfe and Madison Banner; great-grandmother, Myrtle Fox of Morganton; brother, Paul Fox III and wife, Marty of Asheville; father and mother-in-law, L. E. and Mary Banner of Morganton; sister-in-law, Lavonda Lingerfelt and husband, Mike of Morganton; aunt, Nancy Gaulding and husband, Alfred of Martinsville, VA. She is also survived by a number of cousins.

The funeral will be held at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, April 20, 2013 at Catawba Valley Baptist Church with the Reverends Mike Odom and Clyde Buckner officiating. Burial will follow the service at Burke Memorial Park. The family will receive friends at the church on Friday evening from 6:00 until 8:30 pm. At other times, the family will be at the residence.




Donna “Kaye” Randall, 68, of Morganton died Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Kaye was born June 3, 1944 in Cleveland County to the late Clyde A. Randall and Kathleen Smith Randall. She retired from Packing Corporation of America in Morganton and worked at St. Joe in Charlotte for 32 years.

In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by a sister, Sandra Bateman. Kaye is survived by an uncle, Ray Randall and his wife, Pat of Morganton; brother-in-law, Don Bateman of Bristol, VA; two cousins; special friends, Elaine Dale, Frances Whisnant, Shirley Jordan, Brenda Bullock and her daughter, Kristian, Brenda Helms and her church family.

A celebration of Kaye’s life will be held at 4:00 p.m., Sunday, April 21, 2013 at Asheville Street Baptist Church, with the Rev. Douglas Goforth officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Memorial contributions may be made to Asheville Street Baptist Church, 119 Asheville St., Morganton, NC or to the American Cancer Society, 4-A Branch Dr., Greensboro, NC 27407 or Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, 1721 Enon Rd., Valdese, NC 28690.




Carol Portwood Berry, 75 of Morganton, NC died peacefully at her home surrounded by her husband and children on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 after years of battling cancer. Born August 15, 1937 in Emanuel County, GA, she was a daughter of the late Robert Fielding Portwood and Adell Lockhart Portwood. Mrs. Berry attended Augusta College, Augusta, GA and was a graduate of Houston Community College, Harris County, TX. Following a professional career in accounting and payroll in Augusta, GA and Houston, TX, in 1991 she resigned her postion as Comptroller at Stephens Office Supply in Houston to retire with her husband to Morganton. In Morganton, Carol worked as a volunteer at the Good Samaritan Clinic and at Burke United Christian Ministries and taught the Cauble Class at First Baptist Church where she was a member. An ardent lover of music, art, and books, she was a discerning and compassionate woman who also deeply loved God, His Creation, and her family. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by the father of her children, Thais A. Durden.

She is survived by her husband, Frank K. Berry; her daughter, Deborah Durden Grimaud and husband, Keith of Louisville, KY; her sons, D. “Andy” Durden and wife, Kelly and David W. Durden and wife, Jodi all of Atlanta, GA; her step-sons, Anson S. Berry and wife, Janet of Columbus, OH and Evyn K. Berry of Mainville, OH; her step-daughter, Catherine Berry Musick and husband, Michael of Chicago, IL; grandchildren, Kirsten Grimaud Moody and husband, Clay, Joshua M. Grimaud and wife, Christy, Jacob A. Durden and companion, Amber Green, Noah S. Durden, and companion, Taylor Barber, Ansley V. Durden, Matthew D. Durden, Sarah T. Musick, Zachary M. Musick, Stuart K. Berry, Andy T. Berry, and Ethan T. Berry; great grandchildren, Isaac, Caleb, Abigail, Elizabeth Moody, Hunter Durden, and Oakly Durden; brothers, Rollie F. Portwood and wife, Bobbie, Lonnie L. Portwood and wife, Johnnie, and Glenn S. Portwood and wife, Carole; sisters, Margaret P. McGowan and Frances P. Stroud and husband, Delmer; her step-sister, Lamar B. Blanton; and fifteen nieces, nephews, and their spouses.

The funeral will be held at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, April 20, 2013 at First Baptist Church, 502 W. Union St., Morganton, NC with Dr. Thomas A. Bland, Jr., Rev. Bill Rotan, and Rev. Fred Schuszler officiating. The family will receive friends in the church parlor beginning at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to The Combined Choirs Annual Concert Fund, First Baptist Church, P. O. Drawer 459, Morganton, NC 28680-0459 or to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., 1721 Enon Rd., Morganton, NC 28690. Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family.




Carroll H. Smith, 85, of Morganton died Thursday, April 18, 2013 at his residence. He was born in Burke County on September 19, 1927 and was the son of the late Christopher Columbus Smith and Lurinda Smith Smith. He was a retired employee of Drexel Furniture Company and was a driver for Burke Transit. He was a member of Burkemont Baptist Church. He was former Deacon, Sunday School teacher, worked with children and youth and was a member of the Baptist Brotherhood. He was an avid reader, story teller and loved to watch Westerns. He loved helping his family and friends with all sorts of activities and projects. He was a loving and devoted son, husband, and father. Carroll always welcomed people and saw to their needs whether at his home, church, or elsewhere. In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his brothers, Sanford, Tellis, Cordell, Conley, twin brother Harold, and Bennett Smith; sisters, Mona and Myrtle Smith; 3 infant brothers; cousin, Raymond Carswell who was raised as Carroll’s brother; and his beloved dog, Zachary Toto.

Surviving are his wife of 61 years, Darlene Mace Smith; son, Harlan Smith of Morganton; daughter, Janet Smith Childers and husband, Kenneth of Blacksburg, SC; 4 special grandchildren; step-grandson, Matthew Childers and wife, Sherri who are expecting Carroll’s step-great-granddaughter in June; a number of nephews and nieces; sisters-in-law, Ruth Smith and Iva Mace; and his beloved cat, Midnight. He was blessed with many special friends and neighbors who helped him through the years.

The funeral will be held 3:00 p.m. Sunday, April 21, 2013 at Burkemont Baptist Church with Dr. David Mills and Chaplain Janet Childers officiating with Carroll being placed in the church 30 minutes prior to the service. Burial will follow at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. Saturday at Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center. Memorial contributions may be made to Handicare, PO Box 1778, Drexel, NC 28619 or Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, 1721 Enon Road, Valdese, NC 28690.

Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with arrangements.




Betty Williams Setzer, 83, of Morganton, NC passed away Thursday, April 18, 2013 at Grace Heights. Born in Burke County, NC on January 6, 1930, she was the daughter of the late John Herndon Williams and Bertie Whitmire Williams. Betty retired from Drexel Heritage after 44 years and was a member of Hartland Baptist Church.

She is survived by her daughter, Pam Clark and her husband, Philip, of Morganton; a sister, Peggy Martin and her husband, Don, of Stoney Point, NC; a brother, Frank S. Williams of Murrell’s Inlet, SC; and several beloved nephews and nieces.

In addition to her parents, Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Paul H. Setzer; sisters, Mamie Suddreth and Marguerette Curtis; and brothers, Clarence Williams and Alfred Williams.

The funeral will be held at 11:00 a.m., Monday, April 22, 2013 at Hartland Baptist Church with Dr. Steve Parker and the Rev. Allen Boliek officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends at the church for one hour prior to the service. Memorial contributions may be made to Hartland Baptist Church Debt Retirement Fund, 3730 Hartland Road, Morganton, NC 28655 or to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., 1721 Enon Road, Valdese, NC 28690. Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.

The family would like to give special thanks to the staff at Grace Heights, Burke Hospice, and Dr. Edward Plyler for their wonderful care during this difficult time.




Mrs. Mary Lee Epley Smith, 61, of Morganton passed away unexpectedly Thursday, April 18, 2013 at Grace Hospital. She was born July 31, 1951 in Burke County, a daughter of the late Fred Ernest Epley and Ruby Lee Yount Epley. In addition to her parents, Mary was preceded in death by a grand-daughter, Terri McKenna Smith; and a sister, Etta Faye Pearson.

Left to cherish her memory are her husband, Murphy Ensley Smith of the home; sons Terry Ensley Smith and wife Maria; Tracy Lee Smith and companion Patricia Harmon; and Tony Allen Smith and wife Laura, all of Morganton. A daughter Jeannie Smith Mitchell of Morganton; grandchildren, Megan Smith Rhom, Kayla McNeely, Melinda Smith, Courtney Smith, Jake Smith, Emileigh Smith, Mitchell Hefner, Matthew Hefner, and Katelyn Wilcox; great-grandchildren Camren Rhom, Caiden Rhom, and Amelia Rhom; brothers Bob Epley, Jim Epley, and Richard Epley, all of Morganton; and sisters Betty Carico and Shirley Blankenship, both of Morganton.

Funeral services will be held at 5:00 p.m., Sunday, April 21, 2013 in the Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center with Rev. Jerry Campbell officiating. Burial will follow at Forest Hill Cemetery. The family will receive friends prior to the service from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. At other times, the family will be at the Hogan Street residence.




Virginia L. Cannon, 89, of Morganton, NC passed away unexpectedly Saturday, April 20, 2013. Born August 26, 1923 in Richmond, VA, she was a daughter of the late Charles Kanary and Bessie Kanary. She was a member of Zion Memorial United Methodist Church where Virginia taught the Adult Sunday school class, and sang in the church choir and the Choraleers. She was a retired employee of Alba Waldensian Hosiery. Virginia loved her breakfast buddies at McDonalds and her swim buddies at Valdese Hospital.

Virginia is survived by her daughter, Jo Anne McCraw and her special friend, Randy Turman, of Nebo, NC; grandchildren, Sandra Riddle and husband, Teddy, and Michael Lamb and wife, Andrea, all of Marion, NC; four great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren; siblings, Roland Kanary and Doris McCauley.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Cecil David Cannon; and six brothers.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 pm, Tuesday, April 23, 2013 in the Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center with Rev. George Williams officiating. Burial will follow at Zion Memorial United Methodist Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Memorial contributions may be made to Zion Memorial United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 3061, Drexel, NC 28619 or to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., 1721 Enon Rd., Valdese, NC 28690.




Henriet Martha Hayworth, 71, of Morganton died Sunday, April 21, 2013 following a period of declining health. She was born in Wayne County, MI on April 13, 1942 and was a daughter of the late Otto Henry Long and Violetta Edith Decker Long. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a sister, Violetta Dingman.

Mrs. Hayworth enjoyed knitting, crocheting, and cooking. She attended St. Matthews Lutheran Church in Marion.

A devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, Henriet is survived by her husband, Thomas Lee “Tom” Hayworth of the home; sons, Todd Hayworth and his wife, Wendy, and Lee Hayworth all of Morganton, and Jeff Hayworth of Hickory; eight grandchildren; a sister, Irene Britz; and her special friend, Reneé Yantz both of Michigan.

Funeral services will be held at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in the Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home with Rev. Neill Shaw officiating. Burial will follow at Forest Hill Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 2:00 until 3:00 p.m. Wednesday. Memorial contributions may be made to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., 1721 Enon Rd., Valdese, NC 28690 or the American Cancer Society, 4-A Oak Branch Dr., Greensboro, NC 27407.




Patricia Hamaker Gahagan, 86, of Morganton, NC died Sunday, April 21, 2013. Born in Spokane, WA on February 25, 1927, she was the daughter of the late Robert Frederick Hamaker and Ruth Mae Kelly Hamaker. Patricia was very active member of Catawba Valley Baptist Church and was a great supporter of her pastor. She dearly loved her church and her Grace Ridge Family.

A loving wife, mother, and grandmother, Mrs. Gahagan is survived by her sons, Robert Barrett Gahagan, Jr. and his wife, LuAann, of Norfolk, VA and John Frederick Gahagan and his wife, Judith, of Richmond, VA; a daughter, Patricia Gahagan Winfree and her husband, Joseph, of Richmond; grandchildren, Robert Barrett Gahagan, II, Jennifer Colleen Winfree Hultz and her husband, Mark, and Joseph Todd Winfree; sisters, Sally Ann Windh and Susan Marie Seine, both of California; and a sister-in-law, Barbara Gahagan of Virginia Beach, VA. In addition to her parents, Patricia was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Gahagan, Sr.

The funeral will be held at 4:00 p.m., Thursday, April 25, 2013 at Catawba Valley Baptist Church with Dr. Mike Odom officiating. The family will receive friends at the church from 3:00 until 4:00 p.m. prior to the service. The family will also receive friends Wednesday evening from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. at Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center.

Memorial contributions may be made to Catawba Valley Baptist Church Building Fund, 706 Lenoir Road, Morganton, NC 28655.




Tom Ledbetter, 72, of Connelly Springs, NC went to his Heavenly Home on Sunday, April 21, 2013 at his residence. Born in Greenville, SC on July 25, 1940, he was the son of Ralph Overton Ledbetter and Swannie Mae Powell Ledbetter. Tom was a member of Salem United Methodist Church where he served as superintendent of Sunday school and on the church finance committee. He retired from Unisource after 35 years as a sales representative. He was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Tom is survived by his wife, Ethel Ledbetter of the home; his children, Deion Lowery and his wife, Janice, of Florida, Tracy St. Clair of Taylorsville, NC, and Leif Ledbetter and his wife, Teresa, of Valdese, NC; grandchildren, Abbie, Katie, Whitney, Joshua, Tabatha, Michael, Mathew, and Emily; great-grandchildren, Trinity, Carson, Eli, Kyler, and Gracelynn; and the mother of his children, Toni Clarke Ledbetter.

In addition to his parents, Tom was preceded in death by his first wife, Mary Neil Lowery.

The funeral will be held at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at Salem United Methodist Church with Rev. Mark Conforti officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery with military honors provided Marine Corps League Detachment #1197. The family will receive friends at the church for one hour prior to the service.

Memorial contributions may be made to Salem United Methodist Church, 1206 Salem Road, Morganton, NC 28655.

Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.




Sylvia Knapp, 84, of Grace Heights, Morganton, NC passed away Tuesday, April 23, 2013. She was born in England on October 3, 1928 and when she was eight years old came with her aunt by ship to the United States. As a close friend of fifteen years, I, Donna Coffey am honored to write “Sylvies” obituary. I first met her when she became my dog sitter. She loved animals and was a pet sitter for many furbabies. She loved to travel and often told me about her motorcycle trips in her younger days with her husband George. She always encouraged me to “go while you can”. In her later years, Sylvie volunteered at J. I. R. D. C. for a number of years in the Foster Grandparent Program where she made numerous friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, George and her furbaby, Missy. Sylvie and George were such a loving couple that when you met them they accepted you as family.

Left to cherish her memory is her family bonded by friendship, Donna Coffey, Heather Hodges, Drew and Holly Thomas.

A private memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial gifts may be made to Burke County Friends for Animals, P. O. Box 1884, Morganton, NC 28680.

Sossoman Funeral Home & Crematory Center is assisting with arrangements.




Larry A. Taylor, 67, of Morganton passed away on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at his residence after an extended illness. Born in Pearisburg, VA on February 4, 1946, he was the son of the late Carl William Taylor and Mary Bingham Taylor Greene. Larry graduated from Oak Hill High School and received his civil engineering degree from Gaston Tech. He was an assistant district engineer for Division 13 of the NC Dept. of Transportation for over 30 years and received the Long Leaf Pine Award for his service to the state. After his retirement he worked with FEMA for 10 years. He was also a veteran of the N. C. National Guard.

Larry was a member of Oak Hill United Methodist Church. He was the Building Committee leader for the new M.P.A.C. building, was a trustee of the church, and was a member of the Mabel Harbison Sunday school class. Larry was also a member of the Oak Hill Ruritan Club where he had served as the Lieutenant District Governor and multiple terms as President. Larry also served as an Assistant Scout Master for Troop 199 and as Secretary-Treasurer for the Burke County Fair.

Larry is survived by his wife of 42 years, Kaye Chapman Taylor of the home; sons, Wesley C. Taylor and his wife, Meg, and Nathan M. Taylor and his wife, Jenny, all of Morganton; grandchildren, Will, Drew, Max, Mary, and Kyle Taylor; his step-father, Ben Greene of Morganton; his sister, Ellen Juban and her husband, Jim, of Morganton; several nieces and nephews; his father-in-law, Merlie Chapman of Morganton; his sister-in-law, Joanne Beck and her husband, Jerry; and his brother-in-law, Andrew Chapman.

In addition to his parents, Larry was preceded in death by his mother-in-law, Helen Chapman.

The funeral will be held at 3:00 p.m., Saturday, April 27, 2013 at Oak Hill United Methodist Church with the Rev. David Lawrence officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery with military honors provided by the N.C. National Guard. The family will receive friends in the M.P.A.C. building at the church from 1:00 until 3:00 p.m. prior to the service. At other times the family will be at Larry and Kaye’s home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Oak Hill United Methodist Church Building Fund, 2239 NC 181, Morganton, NC 28655 or to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., 1721 Enon Road, Valdese, NC 28690.

Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.




Joseph Wesley “Joey” Autrey, 38, of Connelly Springs, NC went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Friday, April 26, 2013 at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center surrounded by his loving family and close friends. He was born in Burke County on July 2, 1974 and was the son of Brenda Hudson Autrey of Morganton and the late Charles Josheau Autrey, Sr. In addition to his father, he was preceded in death by maternal grandparents, Forest and Vassie Hudson; paternal grandfather, Claude Autrey, Sr.; and uncles, Bobby Cox and Claude Autrey, Jr.

Joey was a paramedic with Burke County Emergency Services. He also served as an EMS preceptor and was a founding member of Burke County Incident Management Support Team. Joey served as a Lieutenant with Lovelady Fire and Rescue and was a member of Icard Fire and Rescue and Salem Fire and Rescue. He had been involved in emergency services for 22 years. Joey was a member of Burkemont Baptist Church.

Joey was a kind and humble man who leaves many to cherish his memory including his mother, Brenda Autrey; brother, Charles Josheau Autrey, Jr. and wife, Lara Somers Autrey, of Morganton; sister, Dr. Melessa Autrey Liebzeit and husband, Ryan J. Liebzeit of Herndon, VA; his fiancée, Deanna Cunningham, and his daughter, Jackie Cunningham, both of the home; his uncles and aunts, Ronnie and Judi Hudson, Roger and Cindy Autrey, and Carole and Frank Fairchild, all of Morganton; his paternal grandmother, Agnes Autrey of Morganton; nieces and nephews, Josh and Kaitlin Autrey, and Emma and Ethan Liebzeit; and numerous cousins and friends.

Joey’s family would like to express their appreciation to all Burke County emergency personnel and agencies for their love and support and to the WFBMC for their loving care.

Funeral services will be held at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at Burkemont Baptist Church with Dr. David Mills and Rev. Eddy Bunton officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends Tuesday evening from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. at Burkemont Baptist Church. The body will lie in state one hour before the receiving and again on Wednesday before the service. Memorial contributions may be made in Joey’s memory to Burkemont Baptist Church Youth Ministry, 4668 Burkemont Rd., Morganton, NC 28655 or to NC Fallen Firefighters Foundation, 2501 Blue Ridge Rd., Suite 250, Raleigh, NC 27607. Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting with arrangements.




Skip B. Walborn, Jr., 54, of Morganton, NC died Friday, April 26, 2013 at the Burke Palliative Care Center. Born in Dover, DE on March 6, 1959, he was the son of the late Wally Walborn and Sandy Sterling Walborn. Skip graduated Mount Olive High School in Mount Olive, NJ and was employed by Sara Lee. Skip was a member of St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Lenoir and Calvary Lutheran Church in Morganton. He was a Scoutmaster, Sunday school teacher, and President of the church council at St. Stephen’s and was youth leader for both churches.

Skip is survived by his wife, Beth W. Walborn, whom he married February 18, 1995; his son, Andrew Turngren of Charlotte, NC and Andrew’s friend, Kaylyn Waycaster, of Candler; and his in-laws, Jane and Will Wolfgang of Morganton.

The memorial service will be held at 4:00 p.m., Friday, May 3, 2013 at Calvary Lutheran Church with the Reverends Michael Riley and Tony Bradshaw officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., 1721 Enon Road, Valdese, NC 28690. Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.




Martha Adeline Orders McFarlin, 77, of Morganton passed away April 27, 2013, while surrounded by her family after a long extended illness.

Born April 14, 1936 in Burke County, she was the only child of the late Carl E. Orders and Sadie Duckworth Orders. Martha was a lifelong member of First United Methodist Church in Morganton. However, she thoroughly enjoyed visiting multiple other churches throughout Burke County on a regular basis.

Martha graduated from Morganton High School, class of 1954, and from Appalachian State Teachers College, Boone, NC, class of 1957 where she received her teaching degree in elementary education. While attending college, Martha was a proud member of the school’s marching and concert bands.

After graduating college, Martha moved to St. Augustine, FL. to begin her teaching career as a first grade teacher at Fullerwood School. Martha taught in Florida for 7 years before moving back to Morganton NC, to continue teaching in the first grade at Salem Elementary and later after a long fulfilling career retired from the Burke County Public School System. Years after retiring from teaching, Martha was especially proud of running into and talking with her many past students and sharing in their life experiences.

Martha was a devoted mother who dearly loved her children, extended family members, and many Burke County Friends.

Her simple pleasures in life besides her family, including swimming in her pool, walking on the beach collecting seashells and sharks teeth, loving and caring for her animals, watching the beautiful birds feeding in her back yard, especially her beloved cardinals, and sitting in her front yard lawn chairs watching the traffic pass by the house. Martha also enjoyed reading her daily devotionals and studying her bible.

Martha was a lifelong member of Mimosa Chapter of the Eastern Star. Later in her life she found enjoyment in working out in the early mornings at Phifer Wellness Center in Morganton with those many friends she made who were there for their own rehabilitation.

In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her aunt, Winnie Garrison Hagerman. Those left to cherish her memory include her daughter, Margo Caroline McFarlin, a son, William Orders McFarlin, and his fiancée, Sheila Marie Johnson.

Funeral services to celebrate Martha’s life will be held this Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. in the Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center with the honorable Reverend Jerry Gamble officiating. Burial will follow at Burke Memorial Park. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggest memorials be made to any of the following agencies, Burke County friends for animals (BCFFA), P.O. Box 1884, Morganton, NC 28680, Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., 1721 Enon Rd., Valdese, NC 28690 or to the Shriners Children’s Hospital, P.O. Box 606, Valdese, NC 28690.

The family wishes to give a heartfelt thank you to the staffs at both Grace Heights Rehabilitation Center and Grace Hospital for all the gentle and loving care that they provided for their mother.

The family also wishes to thank Dr. David Abernathy for all the years of devoted service that he provided for Martha during her life.




Johnny William Lunsford, 67, of Valdese died April 27, 2013. He was born in Washington County, TN on May 8, 1945 and was the son of Charles Martin Lunsford and Judy Ann Sharp Lunsford. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister Annie Moses.

Mr. Lunsford was a former employee of Drexel Heritage Furnishings.

Johnny is survived by his sons, Johnny D. Lunsford and wife, Lisa, and Chris Lunsford and wife, Shasta, all of Valdese; daughter, Tracey Lunsford Corwin and husband, Greg of Flowery Branch, GA; seven grandchildren; brother, Ray Lunsford and wife, Carolyn of Glen Alpine and sister, Marie Dunley and husband Chris of the South Mountain community. The family wishes to express their appreciation to the staff of Burke Hospice for the care they provided to their father.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, April 30, 2013 in the Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home with the Rev. Leonard Lindsey officiating. The family will receive friends from 10:00 until 11:00 a.m. Tuesday. Memorial contributions may be made to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., 1721 Enon Rd., Valdese, NC 28690.




Mary Griffin Bradley, 88 of Morganton went home to be with her Lord, Saturday, April 27, 2013. Mrs. Bradley was born November 27, 1924 in Madison County, NC to the late Nehemiah Griffin and Virginia Buckner Griffin. She was lovingly known as “Granny”. Mary was a loving wife of 67 years and devoted mother and grandmother. She enjoyed gardening, quilting and cooking for her grandchildren.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by sons, James and Harvey Lee Bradley; siblings, Paul Griffin, Osten and Wayne Griffin, Porshia Rice, Daisy Rice, Cora Lee Holland and grandson Daniel Bradley.

Mrs. Bradley is survived by her husband, Rev. Joe C. Bradley; children, Mary Jo Blackwell and her husband, Walter of Winston Salem, Rev. J. C. Bradley and his wife, Blaka of Icard, and Deborah Haynes and her husband, Gary of Morganton; siblings, James Griffin and wife, Kay of Marshall, NC, Martha Rinehart and husband, Robert of Black Mountain and Nehemiah Griffin, Jr. of Marshall, NC; seventeen grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren; and a number of nieces and nephews and extended family.

Funeral services for Mrs. Bradley will be held at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, May 1, 2013 in the Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home with Rev. J. C. Bradley and Rev. Charley Bradley officiating. Burial will follow at Mountain View #1 Baptist Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. At other times will be at 1469 Browning View Rd. Morganton. Memorial contributions may be made to Mountain. View #1 Baptist Church, 5355 Pea Ridge Rd., Morganton, NC 28655.




F. Stephen Yount, 69, of Morganton, NC died Sunday, April 28, 2013. Born in Catawba County, NC on February 29, 1944, he was the son of the late Fabian Sidney Yount and Marjorie Nadine Miller Yount. Steve was a member of Calvary Lutheran Church. Steve graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne College and then served with the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam Conflict. He worked at First National Bank of Catawba County, became branch manager of the Bethlehem branch, and later served in Conover and Morganton with First Union. Steve later worked in investments and insurance with Charter Financial Group in Hickory. He enjoyed golf, cooking, woodworking, and time with his family. “Bubba’s” chocolate cake was world famous.

Steve is survived by his wife of 44 years, Elaine Baker Yount of the home; a son, Forrest Yount and his wife, Erica, of Waxhaw, NC; a daughter, Sarah Pons and her husband, Mitchell, of Matthews, NC; his grandchildren who affectionately knew him as “Bubba”, Kelsea Yount, Sam Yount, Sidney Pons, and Mason Pons; brothers, Geoff Yount and J.D. Yount, both of Taylorsville, NC; and sisters, Judy Rao of Taylorsville, Katheryn Rhea of Norfolk, VA, and Mary Miraglia of Pocono Lakes, PA.

The memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m., Thursday, May 2, 2013 at Calvary Lutheran Church in Morganton with the Rev. Michael Riley officiating. The family will receive friends in the church fellowship hall following the service.

Memorial contributions may be made to Calvary Lutheran Church, 119 N. King Street, Morganton, NC 28655 or to the American Cancer Society, 4-A Oak Branch Drive, Greensboro, NC 27407.

Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.




Henry Derr Leonhardt, 82, of Morganton, NC died Sunday, April 28, 2013 at his residence. Born in Burke County, NC on November 16, 1930, he was the son of the late Dewey McCall Leonhardt and Cora Corinna Clay Leonhardt. Henry was a member of El Bethel Baptist Church. Henry loved family, especially his wife. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren were his biggest blessing. He was devoted to their care. Henry enjoyed working his garden and driving his jeep. He worked for Buster Brown Textiles for over 20 years and later had his own sewing business at home where he worked proudly for forty years. Henry will be greatly missed.

A loving husband, father, and grandfather, Henry is survived by his wife, Peggy Joan Perrou Leonhardt of the home; Derr Leonhardt, II, and his wife, Kathy, of Raleigh, NC, Larry Leonhardt and his wife, Myra, of Morganton, and Alan Leonhardt and his wife, Carolyn, of Morganton; a daughter, Sandra Powell and her husband, Tony, of Rutherford College, NC; grandchildren, Amy VanHook and her husband, John, Lisa Doherty and her husband, Frank, Jessica Epley and her husband, Dustin, Kelly Leonhardt, Leslie Edwards and her husband, Chris, David Leonhardt, Lindsay Leonhardt, Jesse Powell, Cassie Powell, and Corey Powell; and great-grandchildren, Grant, Luke, and Mark VanHook, Alex, Will, and Abby Doherty, and C.J. and Makenna Edwards.

In addition to his parents, Henry was preceded in death by his brothers, Woodrow, Ervin, Leroy, and Gordon Leonhardt; and a sister, Virginia Geer.

The funeral will be held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, May 2, 2013 at El Bethel Baptist Church with the Rev. Ron Cooper officiating. Interment of the cremated remains will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends on the evening of Wednesday, May 1, 2013 from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. at Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center.

Memorial contributions may be made to Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., 1721 Enon Road, Valdese, NC 28690 or to El Bethel Baptist Church, P.O. Box 2518, Morganton, NC 28680.


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