Obituaries of the Swannanoa Valley

Black Mountain News
Michael O'Connor

Michael K. O’Connor


Michael K. O’Connor, 48, of Swannanoa, passed away February 17, 2017.
  Michael was born May 17, 1968 in Michigan to the late Robert “Bob” O’Connor and Mary Limerick. He was an avid Dale Earnhardt fan, Nascar fan and Carolina fan. Michael was very gifted and took pride in his guttering work. He had a big heart and loved his family and friends. 
  In addition to his parents, Michael is preceded in death by his step-father, Tom Limerick; and brother, Tommy Pruett.
  Michael is survived by his daughter, Melinda O’Connor; son, Tyler Wright; siblings, Johnny Pruett (Debbie), Linda McElreath (Yogi), Kenny O’Connor (Katie),  Christina Cooper (David), and Sharon Lamb Pruett; granddaughter, Alex; grandson, Kane; and numerous nieces and nephews that he loved dearly.

A Celebration of Life Service was held Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 1 p.m. in the Chapel of Harwood Home for Funerals. 
  The family received friends one hour prior to the service time. Arrangements are in the care of Harwood Home for Funerals,

Jack Caldwell

Jack Hubert Caldwell

Black Mountain

Jack Hubert Caldwell, 84, of Black Mountain, passed away February 18, 2017. 
  Mr. Caldwell retired from Beacon Manufacturing. 
  Jack is preceded in death by his wife, Lena Caldwell; daughter, Jacqueline Hollifield; and sister, Bobbie Hord. 
  Jack is survived by his sons, John Caldwell (Angela) and Jeff Caldwell (Regina); grandchildren, Autumn Wiggs (Daniel), Britney Caldwell, Austin Caldwell, and Payton Caldwell; and great-grandchildren, Skylar Wiggs, Cailyn Wiggs, and Mary Wiggs. 
  A graveside service was Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 2 p.m. at Mountain View Memorial Park. 
  Arrangements are in the care of Harwood Home for Funerals,

Robert Sperry

Robert “Bob” H. Sperry 

Black Mountain

The Reverend Commander Robert “Bob” H. Sperry died peacefully at the NC State Veteran’s Home in Black Mountain on February 19, 2017.  He was 82 years old.
  Bob is survived by his wife of 54 years, Carla; his children, Beth, Timothy and his wife, Linda, and David and his wife, Amy; grandchildren, Katie, Rebecca, and Carolena; and his sister, Jacqueline.
  He was born on September 30, 1934 in Mount Vernon, NY to Charlotte Dietrich Sperry and Stanley George Sperry.  He graduated from Houghton College in 1961 and from Eastern Baptist Seminary in 1966.  He served as a Navy chaplain including service during the Vietnam War, and retired from the Navy in 1992.  Following his naval service, he pastored both First Baptist Church in Hope Valley, RI and First Presbyterian Church of Swannanoa.
  Burial was Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at 10 a.m. in the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery.  A memorial service was held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church.  A reception followed the service at the church. 
  In lieu of flowers, please send donations to The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America at or 322 Eighth Ave., 7th fl., New York, NY  10001. The family would like to thank the staff at the Veteran’s Home for their caring support.
  Arrangements are in the care of Harwood Home for Funerals,

Gertrude Buckner

Gertrude Buckner

Johnson City, TN

Gertrude Buckner, age 94, of Johnson City, TN went to be with our Lord on February 17, 2017.

Mrs. Buckner was born in Marion, NC and was raised in Swannanoa, NC. She spent the last 57 years living in Johnson City, TN. She was the daughter of the late Melvin and Lillian Biggs of Swannanoa, NC.

Gertrude was preceded in death by her husband, Perry S. Buckner, Sr.; foster child, Melissa; daughter, Teresa Gail Moretz; brothers, Clarence Biggs and Everett Biggs; and sister, Barbara Ledford.

Surviving are her sons, Perry S. Buckner, Jr. of Gainesville, GA, and John Buckner and wife, Loraine of Black Mountain, NC; daughter, Denise Hill and husband, Michael of Bradenton, FL; sisters, Lena Elliott of Asheville, NC, Roma Bertrum and husband, Al of Wildwood, FL; special daughter-in-law, Betty Buckner; 8 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and 4 great-great-grandchildren.

The family received friends at 2 p.m. Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at Swannanoa Free Will Baptist Church with the services immediately following with Rev. Perry Buckner, Jr. officiating. Burial was in Piney Grove Cemetery in Swannanoa, NC.

A very special thank you to granddaughter, Mechelle Roach and special caregiver, Nancy Hall. Also a special thank you to Amedisys Hospice of Elizabethton, TN for their loving care of mom during her final journey home. Arrangements are in the care of Harwood Home for Funerals,

Virginia Victoria Melton Setser

Virginia Victoria Melton Setser


Virginia Victoria Melton Setser, 95, of Swannanoa, entered Heaven's Pearly Gates Friday February 17th.

She was born March 29th, 1921 to the late William and Cordelia Melton. Virginia was a loving wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, sister, seamstress, cook, and caregiver with a great faith in God and our country. She was a member of Swannanoa Methodist Church.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, John; daughter, Brenda Brandon; brothers, Roy and Grady Melton; sister, Gracie Melton; and great-grandson, Gavin. She is survived by her daughter, Rita Deweese (Eddie); brother, Ray Melton (Mildred); grandchildren, Wendy Henkel (Chuck), John Pressley (Jayme), Jennifer Howard (Shane), Jason Deweese (Megan); great-grandchildren, Savannah, Shyanne, Chuck Jr., Gabe, Katelyn, Talan, and Jillian; sons-in-law, Tommy Brandon and Larry Pressley; the Dan Lee family; and nieces and nephews. 
A funeral service was held at Penland Family Funeral Home Swannanoa on Wednesday,  February 22nd at 2 p.m. with Rev. Wade Childers officiating.  The family would expresses their appreciation to the Brooks-Howell Home staff and residents, and to caregivers, Amy and Paula. Condolences may be made online at

Roger Baldwin

Roger O’Neil Baldwin

Black Mountain

Roger O’Neil Baldwin, 68, of Black Mountain passed away Wednesday, February 22, 2017.
  Mr. Baldwin was born August 25, 1948 in Columbus County, NC to the late Paul and Alice Baldwin.  
  Roger and his wife, Frankie have resided in Black Mountain since 2000 where they owned and operated Front Porch Grill until 2008.  He was a meat supervisor for over 50 years and was currently employed with the Biltmore Estate.  Roger was an avid fisherman, musician, and wood worker.  He was a past president of the Lions Club; past officer of the Kiwanis Club where he played music for 18 years on a country music show; and was a lifetime member of the White Cane Club, delivering canes to the blind. 
  Mr. Baldwin attended Mountain View Baptist Church and Tabernacle United Methodist Church.  
  In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by two nieces, Madeline Baldwin and Mallory Cranford.
  Roger is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Frankie Rhodes Baldwin; daughter, Paula Baldwin Edwards (Dale); grandchildren, Hilary Patterson, Emily and Nataly Caulder; stepgrandchildren, Angel, Nikki, and Harley Edwards; sister, Marsha Baldwin (Michael); brother, Paul Baldwin, Jr, (Jan); and numerous nieces and nephews.
  A Celebration of Life Service was held Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 2 p.m. in the chapel of Harwood Home for Funerals with David Ingram officiating. The family received friends immediately following the service at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Roger O’Neil Baldwin Memorial Fund, 591 Blue Ridge Rd., Black Mountain, NC 28711.   
  Arrangements are in the care of Harwood Home for Funerals,

Martha Chasteen

Black Mountain

Martha Elaine Bishop Chasteen, 80, of Black Mountain died Feb. 21 in Hospice Solace Center in Asheville.

She was the daughter of Ray Lewis and Mozelle Parish Bishop. She is survived by her husband, Horace Marion Chasteen, sons Louis Chasteen (Traci) of Swannanoa and Britt Chasteen of Black Mountain. She is also survived by grandchildren Allison Chasteen, Grayson Chasteen, Brittlee Loftin-Will, Taylee Newhouse-Logan and Marlee Chasteen, as well as by great-grandchildren Tanner Loftin, Ryder Loftin, Waylon Newhouse, Claire Malone and Cole Malone.

Services will be 2 p.m. Saturday, March 4 at First Baptist Church, Black Mountain, of which she was a member. Dr. David Rayburn will officiate. Burial will follow in the V.A. Cemetery.