Obituaries of the Swannanoa Valley

Black Mountain News
James Grass

James Hurst "Jim" Grass

Black Mountain

James Hurst "Jim" Grass, 94, of Black Mountain, passed away at home on Thursday, August 24, 2017.

Mr. Grass was born on December 9, 1922, in Perry County, Indiana, to the late Paul A. and Ruth Hurst Grass. The family moved to Friars Point, Mississippi, when Jim was a year old, and his sister, Mary Margaret, was three. Jim volunteered for the US Army on his birthday in 1942 in order to stay at Mississippi State College (now Miss. State University). He was called to active duty in 1943 as a Private, serving in the US, England, and the European continent. He served during the Battle of the Bulge, Rhineland, and in the Army of Occupation. In 1946, he completed foreign duty with the rank of First Sergeant and returned to Mississippi State.

In 1947, Jim started farming cotton on his own and rented land with one tractor and four mules. His endeavors were aided by six tenant families. Eventually he and his father combined their operations, and they worked together for many years.

During the summer of 1954, Jim met Evelyn Rivers Harlow. They married in 1955. They lived in Clarksdale where they raised their son Paul. Jim retired in December of 1982 from a happy and successful career as a farmer.

Jim and Evelyn moved to Black Mountain in 1994 and joined the Black Mountain United Methodist Church in 1996.

Active in Rotary for over thirty years, Jim was a Paul Harris Fellow. Their neighborhood around Dougherty Street enjoyed Jim's love for the land. For years he included several cotton plants in the neighborhood garden, as a nod to his Mississippi home and to the great interest of the local children who watched it grow each year.

Jim was a daily, beloved presence at his table at the Veranda Cafe, by far his favorite place to dine, meet with his favorite people, and connect with his community.

He was a cherished husband and father. Jim was a great gentleman and a treasured friend to all privileged to know him.

Mr. Grass was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Mary Margaret Grass Cox. He is survived by Evelyn, his wife of 62 years and their son, Paul Rivers Grass, both of Black Mountain, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Harwood Home for Funerals, 208 West State Street, Black Mountain, is assisting the family. Visitation was at Harwood Home for Funerals, ( on Thursday, August 31 from 6-8 p.m.

The Memorial Service was Tuesday, September 5, at 3 p.m. at Black Mountain United Methodist Church, 101 Church Street, Black Mountain. Reverend Mike Macdonald of Black Mountain UMC and Reverend David Blackmon of First Baptist Church, Asheville, officiated.

In accordance with Jim’s wishes, rather than sending flowers, please make memorial gifts to Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry, P.O. Box 235, Black Mountain, NC 28711, or Griot Arts, Inc., 278 Sunflower Ave., Clarksdale, Mississippi 38614.


Ruby Edwards

Ruby Eleanor Duckett Edwards


Ruby Eleanor Duckett Edwards, 89, of Swannanoa, died Monday, August 28, 2017, at Givens Highland Farms after an extended illness.

Born in Swannanoa on July 11, 1928, she was the daughter of the late William Ernest and Amanda Lovin Duckett. She was married for more than 46 years to James Marshall "Jack" Edwards, until his passing in May 1996. She was a lifelong resident of Buncombe County.

During her adult life, Ruby was primarily employed as a nurse and in supporting her husband in the family laundry and dry cleaning business.  She excelled in the gardening of fruits, vegetables and beautiful flowers. She was known to many for her integrity, selflessness and strong faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

In addition to her husband and parents, Ruby was predeceased by four sisters, Lena Pearl Adams, Hazel Belle Duckett, Mary Elsie Elliott and Helen Marjorie Lentz and three brothers, William Paul Duckett, Fred Allen Duckett and Carl Ernest Duckett.

Survivors include her two sons, Marshall Edwards of Prestonsburg, Kentucky and Kevin Edwards of Houston, Texas; granddaughters, Ame Russell, Camille Edwards and Marissa Edwards; grandson, Ethan Edwards; three great-grandchildren and a large number of nieces, nephews and friends.

Visitation was at 10 a.m. Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at Harwood Home for Funerals, Black Mountain.  Funeral services followed at 11 a.m., with the Revs. Randy Stone and Frank Cantrell officiating. Burial will be in Mountain View Memorial Park.

Memorials may be made to Meadowbrook Free Will Baptist Church, 204 Blue Ridge Road, Black Mountain, NC  28711 or to the Highland Farms Employee Appreciation Fund, 200 Tabernacle Road, Black Mountain, NC  28711. Harwood Home for Funerals is assisting the family.