Obituaries of the Swannanoa Valley

Black Mountain News



Katherine H. McMahan


Katherine H. McMahan, “Mamaw” to all that knew her, passed away Monday, December 5, 2016 at the age of 91.

She was a long-standing resident of Patton Cove Road, Swannanoa, NC.  She is loved and will be missed by all of her family.  Mamaw was preceded in death by her husband Carmel McMahan and a daughter, Elveta Miller. 

  Surviving are her two daughters, Pauline Gibson and husband, Cecil and  Linda Hart and husband, Jerry; three sons, Gary McMahan and wife, Sandy, Larry McMahan and Johnny McMahan and wife Hazel; sister, Bessie Butler and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren totaling over 100.

  A Celebration of Life Service was held Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 1 p.m. in the chapel of Harwood Home for Funerals.  Burial followed in Ashelawn Gardens of Memory.  The family received friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Arrangements are in the care of Harwood Home for Funerals,


John Norman Propst

John Norman Propst 

Black Mountain

John Norman Propst “Old Top,” 75, of Black Mountain, passed away Monday, December 12, 2016.

Mr. Propst was born July 23, 1941 in Buncombe County to the late Woodrow and Mary Williams Propst. John retired from Warren Wilson College after 45 years.

In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his sister, Gin Beddingfield; and brothers, JD Propst and Daniel Propst.

John is survived by his wife of 53 years, Doris “Pat” Propst; daughter, Sandy Jarnagin (Robert); son, Steve Propst; sister, Clara Kelly; brothers, William Propst and Gary Propst; grandchildren, Lauren, Colton, Chance, Samantha, Savannah, and Gage; and special niece, Pam Kelly Collins.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held Thursday, December 15, 2016 at 11 a.m. in the Chapel of Harwood Home for Funerals with Rev. Cathy Campbell and Rev. Kevin Frederick officiating. Burial will follow in Mountain View Memorial Park.

The family will receive friends immediately following the service at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Norman Propst Scholarship Fund, Warren Wilson College, PO Box 9000, Asheville, NC 28815. The family would like to extend a special thank you to Cancer Care and Mountain Ridge Health and Rehab.

Arrangements by Harwood Home for Funerals,

Retha Banks


On Sunday evening December 11, 2016 one of earths true angels was called home. Retha Banks was many things to many people: a daughter to Ross and Evelyn Wheeler; a sister to Geneva King, Cleta Sherill, Margaret Orr, Coye Wheeler, Tony Wheeler, Troy Wheeler, McKinley Wheeler and Donald Gillette; a mother to Teresa Banks, Fred Banks and Jeremiah Hensley; a grandmother to Matina, Kyle and Ethan Banks as well as Jackson Hensley; and a mother-in law to Tommy Miller, Connie Banks and Jennifer Hensley. Though that list may seem long it is only a small sample of the lives this wonderful woman touched in her time on Earth. Everyone who came in contact with her can, and will, happily share with you stories and memories of how she had a positive impact on their lives.

Retha was a rare woman who had a genuine compassion for everyone she met, always putting others needs before her own. Regardless if they were family, friend or stranger, in her eyes they were Gods children and she treated each of them with love and respect. Though our hearts are heavy from our loss, we also take great comfort in knowing that she can now be at peace and will suffer no more as she is reunited with those friends and family who made this journey before her.

A celebration of Retha's life will be held at Harwood Home for Funerals, located at 208 West State St. in Black Mountain NC, on Thursday December 15, 2016 at 6 p.m. with a memorial service following at 7 p.m. Arrangements by Harwood Home for Funerals,

Annie Kok Brady

Black Mountain

   Annie Kok Brady, 96, of Givens Highland Farms, was welcomed into her Heavenly Home Dec 12, 2016.  She was born Oct 7, 1920, to Dutch missionaries in Beijing, China, where she spent her childhood.  Annie immigrated to the U.S.A., studied Bible Education, and taught Bible in Virginia public schools.  Annie met John, her late husband of 53 years, in Japan when she went to serve as a missionary.  Together they served in Japan as Presbyterian missionaries for 36 years. Retiring in 1985, they settled in Black Mountain, becoming active in the community and Black Mountain Presbyterian Church.  Annie will be remembered for her love of Jesus and the Bible, her kind heart and smile, and her taste for Japanese and Chinese food.  She cherished cats, mountain views, and winning at Scrabble.

   Annie is survived by her 6 children (Susan, Carol, Harper, Tricia, Allen, Bill, and spouses), 10 grandchildren (Joel, Tom, Colin, Daniel, Neal, Benjamin, Sarah, Ryan, Glenn, Dylan), 6 great-grandchildren (Kingston, Vanessa, Parker, Mackenzie, Lila, Vaughn), 3 nephews, 1 niece, and Allen Tarbell, her devoted friend.

   Heartfelt appreciation to GHF Health Center staff for loving care of our dear mother.

   Celebration of her life and the Resurrection will be held at Givens Highland Farms on Wednesday, December 21 at 1 p.m. in the Assembly Room.  Private interment beside John at Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry P.O. Box 235, Black Mountain NC 28711.

   Arrangements by Harwood Home for Funerals,

Todd Lybrand Hemmenway

Black Mountain

Todd Lybrand Hemmenway, 67, of Black Mountain, passed away Sunday, November 27, 2016.

  Mr. Hemmenway was born September 18, 1949 in Oklahoma. He spent the last three years in Black Mountain where he enjoyed his life. Todd was a professional cellist, intellectual, and avid trap shooter.

  Todd is survived by the mother of his son, Susan Cuscuna; son, Sam Hemmenway; siblings, Scott Hemmenway, Clare Hemmenway, and Dana Hemmenway; and girlfriend, Suzanne Hosch. There will be a service held in Los Angeles, CA at a later date.