Obituaries of the Swannanoa Valley

Black Mountain News
Randy Edwards

Randy “Papaw” Edwards


Randy “Papaw” Edwards, of Swannanoa, passed away Monday, November 28, 2016.

Mr. Edwards was born July 21, 1956 in Buncombe County. He loved to go camping and was an avid fisherman. Randy attended Calvary Free Will Baptist Church.

Randy is survived by his wife of 22 years, Linda Ruby Edwards; daughter, Megan Williams (Michael); son, Erik Edwards (Noel); parents, Jack and Ruth Edwards; sisters, Vickie Hughes (Charles) and Tammy Edwards; and the special loves of his life, his grandchildren, Jaden, Destin, Malakai, Maliah, and Eli.

A Celebration of Life Service was held Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 12 p.m. at Calvary Free Will Baptist Church with Josh McDevitt officiating. Burial followed in Sky View Memorial Park. The family received friends one hour prior to the service time at the church.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the nursing staff of CICU at Mission Hospital. Arrangements are in the care of Harwood Home for Funerals,

Agnes Massey Wooten


Agnes Massey Wooten, 84, passed away Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at her residence.

Mrs. Wooten was born in Black Mountain, NC to the late D.L. and Alice Gentry Massey.  She was also preceded in death by her husband, James Edward Wooten and her companion Arnold Guffey and by all of her eleven brothers and sisters.

Agnes is survived by her niece, Mollie Caldwell; nephew, Herbert Smith, and several other nieces and nephews.

Mollie Caldwell would like to express her grateful appreciation to the Home Watch caregivers, Lindy and Natasha for their excellent care of Agnes. 
    A funeral service was held at 1 p.m. Thursday, December 1, 2016 in the chapel of Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian with Pastor Justin Lowe officiating.  The family received friends from 12-1 p.m. prior to the service.
    Interment followed at Mountain View Memorial Park in Black Mountain.   In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, 31 Glendale Avenue, Asheville, NC 28803. An online memorial register is available at

Russell Elliott Vannatta


Russell Elliott Vannatta, 90, of Marion, North Carolina, passed away Monday, November 28, 2016 at his residence.

Mr. Vannatta was born in Quincy, Illinois on March 16, 1926 to the late Elliott R. and Anna Margaret Schildt Vannatta. He was married to his wife of forty nine years, Idalee Fox Vannatta, who preceded him in death in 2014. He was enrolled with the NROTC program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute prior to serving his country proudly in the United States Navy. Mr. Vannatta attended the Management Development program at Harvard University and served in the paper industry for many years as an engineer and executive.

A longtime Rotarian, Mr. Vannatta was a member of the Rotary Club of Marion. He was a member of the Master Gardeners Club and was a mentor to school children in the community. He was a past Commodore of the Sarasota Yacht Club and was affiliated with the Guardian Angel Program. While in South Carolina, Mr. Vannatta was active with the Boy Scouts of America. His legacy will always be remembered by those whose lives were made better by his lasting influence.

In addition to his wife and parents, Mr. Vannatta was preceded in death by a step daughter, Christy Cooper; and a great-grandson, Jonathan Keil.

Those left to cherish his memory include a daughter, Karen Rozzi & husband Arthur of Cincinnati, Ohio; three sons, David Vannatta & wife Robyn of Cincinnati, Kevin Vannatta & wife Rebecca of Bloomington, Illinois, and Tim Vannatta & wife Jeannie of Loveland, Ohio; two stepdaughters, Cathy Montgomery & husband Matthew of Danville, New Jersey and Anne Cooper of Black Mountain, North Carolina; a brother, Truman Vannatta & wife Joyce of Springboro, Ohio; eleven grandchildren; and eighteen great-grandchildren.

A memorial service was conducted at 11 a.m., Saturday, December 3, 2016 at the Westmoreland Chapel in Marion. Rev. Bob Tuttle will officiate. Military honors were rendered by the United States Navy. The family received friends from 10 am until 11 am, prior to the service at the funeral home. Inurnment will follow at a later date at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Cincinnati.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of McDowell County, 575 Airport Road, Marion, NC 28752; or The Rotary Club of Marion, Marion Community Building, 191 N. Main St., Marion, NC 28752. An online register is available at

Marjorie Ann Evans Starrs

Black Mountain

Marjorie Ann Evans Starrs, 92, of Black Mountain, NC died of cancer on November 29, 2016.

A native of Franklin, PA, Mrs. Starrs was born March 14, 1924 to the late Eldridge D. Evans and Ruth V. Rogers Evans.

Mrs. Starrs graduated in 1942 from Rocky Grove High School in Pennsylvania as Class Valedictorian. She attended Allegheny and Edinboro Colleges, graduating in 1947 with a Bachelor's Degree in Education and began teaching elementary art in Franklin, PA. After moving to Las Vegas, NV, she married the late Andrew Starrs in 1950, and continued teaching and raising a family in several Western cities.

Moving to NC in 1965, she continued teaching at Wake and Vance County School, and earned a Master's Degree at Duke University. Following retirement and the death of her husband in 1994, she moved to Black Mountain, NC and resided with her son until her death.

"Margie" was a lifelong Unitarian Universalist and cherished her relationships with family, friends, and students and will be remembered for her passion, jovial demeanor, open-mindedness, and the continuous support of her siblings and offspring with their education and professional goals.

Survivors include her children, Ann Starrs of Kittrell, NC, and Chris Starrs of Black Mountain, NC; granddaughter, Katherine Starrs of Black Mountain, NC; sister, Julie Evans Rogers, and brother, James Evans, both of Spartanburg, SC. Condolences may be made online at