Obituaries of the Swannanoa Valley

Black Mountain News
Mary W. Schermerhorn

Mary W. Schermerhorn

Black Mountain

Mary W. Schermerhorn, 91, of Black Mountain, peacefully went home to be with her Heavenly Father on Thursday, January 12, 2017.

Mrs. Schermerhorn was born November 23, 1925 in Tampa, FL and had been a resident of Black Mountain since 1989.  She was a member of Grove Stone Baptist Church where, over the years, she worked with the youth, taught a Ladies Sunday School class and was active with the seniors.  She had a true missionary heart interested in serving others.  She volunteered at SVCM - Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry - and she and her husband of 68 years volunteered in the SOWER Ministry - Servants on Wheels Ever Ready.

Mary was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.  She was preceded in death by her husband, Don Schermerhorn.  Mary is survived by her daughter, Terry Tagliarini (Gene) in Wilmington, NC; son, Rob Schermerhorn (Natalie) of Black Mountain; 5 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life Service was held Wednesday, January 18, 2017   at Grove Stone Baptist Church with Rev. Michael Long and Rev. James Lamb officiating.  The family received friends prior to the service at the church.

A private family burial was held at the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Grove Stone Baptist Church, 1568 Grovestone Rd., Black Mountain, NC  28711, Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministries, PO Box 235, Black Mountain, NC  28711, or Four Seasons Compassion for Life, 571 S. Allen Road, Flat Rock, NC  28731.

Arrangements are in the care of Harwood Home for Funerals,


Bernard Crittenden

Chelsea, Michigan

Bernard Crittenden, age 89, formerly of Swannanoa, passed away peacefully on January 10, 2017 after a brief illness. Bernard was born in Ypsilanti MI, and worked at Kaiser Frazer and Ford Motor Company retiring after over 30 years. He was a Veteran in WWII serving in the US Navy from 1945-1946. He loved cars, especially Mustang Convertibles.

He was preceeded in death by his first wife, Joanne Townsly Crittenden. Bernard is survived by his wife of 43 years, Sue Ford Allen Crittenden and her two sons, Gary (Susan) Allen of Novi, MI and Carrol (Sharry) Allen of Raleigh all formerly from Swannanoa. Bernard is survived by two daughters, Jennifer (Rick) Rykowski and Cheryl (Jeff) Mueller: grandchildren, John ( Angela) Rykowski, Sarah Rykowski, Peter (Hillary) Rykowski and Danielle Mueller; great-granddaughters, Marygrace, Anna and Isla; six stepgrandchildren, Richard, Marrisa and Elizabeth Allen, Chris, Charlie and Page Allen; one great-stepgrandson, Cameron; his brother, Donald Crittenden; nephew, John; and niece, Jan Crittenden; sister-in-law, Ruth Ford Penland of Swannanoa.

Bernard and Sue had lived in Bonita Springs, FL for over 30 years and had moved to Chelsea Retirement Community in May 2016 to be near their children. The memorial service was held Saturday, January 14th at 11:00 AM in the chapel of Chelsea Retirement Community in Chelsea MI, with the Rev. Cathy Rafferty officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to the Breast Cancer Research. Stark Funeral Service assisted with the arrangements. Condolences may be made online at

James McCool

  James C. (JC) McCool

Black Mountain

JC McCool was born May 12, 1925 to James C. and Georgianna (Ann) McCool. He was the older brother to Robert K. McCool (deceased) of Del City, OK. JC had one daughter, Bobbi; and two sons, Tommy and Joe. He was married to Minnie S. McCool until her death in 1993.

JC served in the US Navy during WWII after high school. After his return to Black Mountain, his love of music opened the door for his participation in bands called the Mount Mitchell Ramblers and the Brown Band, which he formed with his friend Walt Davis. They were well known and even asked to play for the state governor as well as the Biltmore House. He played the guitar, banjo, fiddle and piano. He was one of the last “old time musicians.”

JC spent his last few years depending on the assistance of his beloved daughter-in-law, Ann McCool and grandson, Joe Jr. Their kindness and love for him was a wonderful role model for loving family relationships. She and Joe are much appreciated for their devotion to him.

JC touched many lived over the years, including grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He will be greatly missed.

Burial was at Mountain View Memorial Park in Black Mountain on January 16, 2017 at 1 p.m.

Arrangements are in the care of Harwood Home for Funerals,

Jim  Waters

Jim Waters

Black Mountain 

Black Mountain resident Jim Waters, 64, peacefully surrendered to his battle with pancreatic cancer on January 1, 2017. We will all miss his gentle spirit, passion for life and his love for family.

Jim enjoyed fishing and hiking the Blue Ridge mountains, tennis, woodworking, and celebrating life with family and friends. He is survived by wife Jan, son Brenden and Teresa Waters of Atlanta and daughter Devin and Chris Burbach and grandbaby Alice of Asheville, and expecting two grandbabies this spring.

Donations in Jim's name are appreciated at Solace Center Hospice in Asheville:

William Taylor

William “Bill” Taylor

Black Mountain

William “Bill” Taylor, 95, of Black Mountain, passed away January 16, 2017.

Bill served in the Army during WWII as a Staff Sergeant. He was a flight instructor, a member of the Civil Air Patrol, a member of Black Mountain United Methodist Church, and he loved fixing things and flying.

Bill is preceded in death by his parents, James and Florence Taylor; wife of 69 years, Ellen Denton Taylor; son, Richard Taylor; and brother, James E. Taylor, Jr.

Bill is survived by his children, William J. Taylor (Judith), Janet Parker (John), Lynn Watkins (Robert), and Joan Ramsey (Steven); 9 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

The family received friends Thursday, January 19, 2017 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Black Mountain United Methodist Church.  A memorial service will be held Monday, February 20, 2017 at 11 a.m. at Black Mountain United Methodist Church. Donations may be made to Black Mountain United Methodist Church, PO Box 517, Black Mountain, NC 28711.

Arrangements are in the care of Harwood Home for Funerals,

Robert Nicholson

Black Mountain

Robert “Nic” Nicholson, 93, of Black Mountain, NC, passed away in the Charles George VA Medical Center’s hospice unit on January 5.

A decorated veteran of both WWII and the Korean War, Nic joined the Navy the day after Pearl Harbor and became a pilot. He flew many missions in the Pacific Theater, during one of which his plane was shot down. He later received the Distinguished Flying Cross. After WWII, he graduated from the University of Tennessee and became a lawyer before re-entering the Navy. His long and extraordinary military career included service in the Judge Advocate Generals Corp (JAG Corp,) service as a Special Prosecuting Attorney appointed by Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and as counsel for Secretary of the Navy, John Chafee.

Nic lived in Black Mountain after retirement and with his wife, Fran, opened Healthy Harvest, the first health food store in town. He became a certified nutritionist and earned a doctorate in nutrition. He is remembered as being bright, kind, funny, and above all, compassionate.

He is survived by his current wife, Fran, her two children, Laura Martyns and Alana Martyns Foxworthy, and his five children by his previous marriage, John Nicholson, Robert Nicholson Jr., Mary Woodfin, Judy Rudolph, and Susan Hartle.

Services will be held at noon, January 26, at the Western Carolina State Veteran’s Cemetery chapel in Black Mountain. Memorial gifts should be sent to the Hospice and Palliative Care Unit, Charles George VA Medical Center,

Joseph Thomas Whitaker

Old Fort

Joseph Thomas Whitaker, age 80, of Old Fort, while surrounded by his family, passed away on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at his residence.  Born in Kings Mountain, NC on May 18, 1936, he was the son of the late Rose Evelyn Jones.

An avid hunter and fisherman, Joseph was raised in Black Mountain.  Following 32 years of service, he retired from the City of Asheville’s Water Department.  In his younger years, he enjoyed driving stock cars on a dirt track.

He is survived by one daughter, Mary Rose Whitaker; one son, Joseph Walter Whitaker; one brother, Theodore Flemming Bartlett; two grandchildren, Jeffery Thomas McKinney and wife, Kaytlyn) and Chanda Marie Rumfelt; five great-grandchildren, Jeffery Payton McKinney, Gunnar Thomas McKinney, Brennan Zane Bailey, Major Knight Mead and Melek Knowledge Mead.  A special caregiver, Trevor Glenn is also surviving.

In keeping with Joseph’s wishes, a private family service will be held at a later date.  Family and friends wishing to share a thought or memory are encouraged to do so online at

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a memorial donation in Mr. Whitaker’s memory are encouraged to consider, CarePartners Hospice & Palliative Care – McDowell-, 68 Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville, NC 28803 or by visiting

The family wishes to express their deepest appreciation to the staff and nurse Stephanie of Hospice of McDowell for the loving and compassionate care they provided for Joseph and his family during this time.

Beam Funeral Service & Cremations is assisting the Whitaker family.