Obituaries of the Swannanoa Valley

Black Mountain News
Desmond Hussey

Desmond Hussey


Desmond Hussey, 93, of Swannanoa passed away Saturday, January 7, 2017.

Mr. Hussey was born May 22, 1923 in Guilford County to the late Walter and Mattie Varner Hussey.  Desmond was a veteran of the US Army and retired from the NC State Highway Patrol with 33 years of service.  He received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Desmond was a lifelong member of First Baptist Church, Swannanoa and volunteered with The Red Cross, The Welcome Table, and was a board member of the Woodmen of the World.  He loved Blue Grass Music, nature and wood carving.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by seven siblings and a great-grandson, Jaxon.

Desmond is survived by his daughters, Tina Hussey Tonozzi and husband, Ron of Winston Salem and Janice Hussey and husband, Gary of Swannanoa; son, Dwight Hussey and wife, Denise of Marion; 11 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life Service was held Friday, January 13, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church, Swannanoa.  The family received friends immediately following the service at the church.  Burial was at the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery.

Desmond Hussey

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First Baptist Church, Swannanoa, Nehemiah Project, 503 Park St., Swannanoa, NC 28778 or The Welcome Table, 216 Whitson Ave., Swannanoa, NC 28778.  Arrangements are in the care of Harwood Home for Funerals,

Gethryn S. Gile

Black Mountain

Gethryn S. Giles, age 80, of Black Mountain, died peacefully at her home at Givens Highland Farms, January 4, 2017.

Gethryn was born in Decatur, AL on July 11, 1936 to Roger Benjamin and Rubye Reeder Steverson.  She attended Huntington College and obtained her Masters of Social Work at the University of Tenneessee School of Social Work in 1968, where she received the Rhoda O’Meara award for exhibiting the most promise for contributions to her field.  She began her career as a social case worker in Tuscumbia, Huntsville, and Talladega, AL and retired in 1996 as Assistant to the Commissioner for the Alabama Department of Human Resources in Montgomery.

Upon retirement, she and her husband Gene moved to Mentone, AL and she continued her service with Alive Hospice in Scottsboro.  Among numerous offices she held (too many to mention), she was past President of the Alabama Conference of Social Work, President of the Episcopal Church Women in the Diocese of Alabama, and served on the Vestries of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, Montgomery; St Joseph’s, Mentone; and St. James, Black Mountain.  Most recently she was President of the Residents’ Corporation at Givens Highland Farms, Black Mountain.

Gethryn sought to serve in all aspects of her life.  Described by many as a “force of nature,” she was the ultimate administrator and organizer.  She was also a kind, caring, generous, supportive wife, mother and grandmother who took great pride in her family’s accomplishments.  She lived a full and joyous life entertaining, playing bridge, bird watching, and attending the symphony.

She is survived by her children, Kim (Jeff) Strickland of Nashville, TN; Kelly (Jonathan) Stephenson of Black Mountain, NC;  four grandchildren in whom she took such pride – Riley and Maggie Stephenson and Anna and Audrey Strickland,  and one sister, Dr. Gayle (Jack) Steverson Kent of Lakeland, FL.  She is predeceased by her husband of 39 years, George E. (Gene) Giles.

A Celebration of Life service washeld at St. James Episcopal Church, Black Mountain, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 7.  In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Resident Assistant Ministry at Givens Gerber Park, 2360 Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville, NC 28803. Condolences may be made online at

Hugh Marion “Butch” Greene Jr.

Hugh Marion “Butch” Greene Jr., 60, formerly of Swannanoa, passed away peacefully on Monday, January 9, 2017 at the CarePartners Solace Center in Asheville, North Carolina. 
Butch was born on May 26, 1956 in Middle River, MD to Hugh Marion Greene Sr. and Joyce Balamontis. He is preceded in death by his father Hugh Marion Greene, Sr. and a sister, Brenda Scheu.  Butch was a carpenter by trade and a man of many talents.  He loved children, working with his hands, and lived his life to the fullest. 
Butch is survived by his mother, Joyce Balamontis; siblings, Jerry Greene and wife, Yvonne of Rising Sun, MD, Donald Greene and wife Toni of Newark, DE, Dale Greene and wife Celeste of Conowingo, MD, Elizabeth Greene of Reading, PA; numerous nieces, nephews and family, as well as, his extended family of friends in North Carolina.  
A memorial service to celebrate Butch’s life will be held at a later date. Condolences can be made to the family at

Jackie Bailey

Jackie Bailey

Black Mountain

Jackie Bailey, 79, of Black Mountain, passed away Saturday, December 31, 2016.
She was a native of McDowell County and had lived most of her life in the Swannanoa Valley. Jackie was the daughter of the late Ted and Julia Hutchins Robertson. She was also preceded in death by her brother, Jim Robertson. 
Jackie was a wonderful homemaker for her husband, children and grandchildren. She also provided home care for many Valley children over the years while their parents worked (some of them are pallbearers). Jackie had been a member of First Baptist Church, Swannanoa since childhood. She was a teacher in the preschool department for many years. Jackie was a member of the first graduating class of Charles D. Owen High School.
She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Dwight Bailey; daughter, Gina Latta and husband, Steve of Fletcher; sons, Chuck Bailey of Swannanoa, and Byron Bailey and wife, Pat of Fletcher; brother, Fred Robertson and wife, Clemen of Jacksonville, FL; granddaughters, Bria Bailey of Enka and Remy Bailey of Leicester; grandson, Brennan Bailey of Charlotte; great-granddaughter, Brynlee Bailey of Leicester; and numerous nieces and nephews. 
Jackie fought a long 12-year battle with multiple myeloma. We want to thank Cancer Care of WNC and more recently the caregivers and staff at Mountain Ridge Wellness Center for their excellent care. 
A funeral service was held Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at 12 p.m. in the chapel of the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery with the Reverends Frank Cantrell and Randy Stone officiating. Burial immediately followed the service.

Lt. Col James Meredith Padgett

Black Mountain

Lt. Col James “Jamie”/”Jim” Meredith Padgett, USAF Ret., 81, peacefully departed this world on January 6, 2017 at St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital in Greensboro, Ga. with his wife and three children by his side.

A celebration of life service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, May 5 at the Western Carolina State Veteran’s Cemetery, 962 Old US Hwy 70, Black Mountain, NC 28711. The burial ceremony by Harwood Funeral Home with full military honors will immediately follow the celebration service.

Jamie was born October 1, 1935 in Black Mountain to Foster Lee and Hazel Brister Padgett. He graduated from Lee H. Edwards High School in 1953, attended Asheville Biltmore College before joining the military service, and then received a Master’s degree in Human Resources from the University of Oklahoma-Offutt AFB. He served for 27 years as an Air Force pilot and worked with a number of defense contractors thereafter. He enjoyed playing golf, collecting cars, and spending time with friends and family.

Jim is survived by his wife, Peg Padgett, of Newport News, VA.; daughter, Dana Elizabeth Vick and husband Ralph of Eatonton, GA., his two sons John Mark Padgett of Charleston, SC. and James Matthew Padgett and his wife Pamela of Savannah, GA.; granddaughters Victoria Jane Padgett and Langley Elizabeth Vick; three brothers, Brister Lee Padgett and wife Jolene of Flint, MI., Foster Eugene Padgett and wife Joyce of Toccoa, GA., and Roy Andrew Padgett and wife Elizabeth “Bibby” of Smyrna, GA.; sister, Mary Jo Brezny of Black Mountain, NC. and numerous nieces and nephews.

James was preceded in passing by his parents, and sister, Hazel Brister Robinson, who departed in 2016.