Obituaries of the Swannanoa Valley

Carole Hamby



Carole Hamby Summey, 73, of Swannanoa, passed away peacefully into eternal life on Friday, October 23, 2015.

Mrs. Summey was born August 14, 1942 in Buncombe County to the late Douglas C. and Louise V. Hamby, Jr.

Carole is survived by her brother, William C. and wife, Nancy H. Hamby of Swannanoa, NC; her niece, Dr. Carrie L.H. and husband, Rev. Eric Atcheson of Vancouver, Washington; cousins, Alan, Hong-Bich, Paul and James Vernon of Westchester, PA; Laura, Ron and Micah Russel of Baltimore, MD; and Susan and Jeff Rivenbark of Wilmington, Del.

Carole was a lifetime member of First Baptist Church, Black Mountain. She retired from her life’s calling of elementary school teaching in 2001 after 37 years serving the Buncombe County School System at Black Mountain Primary and Oakley Elementary Schools and Jacksonville, Florida Public Schools.

In addition to her passion for educating young children, Carole’s priorities in life were focused on her family, especially her life-long companion, her Mother, and her love and concern for all animals, particularly her horses and rescue dogs.

Carole was particularly proud of her niece, Carrie, and she often told you so with no reservations!

A Celebration of Life Service was Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 11 a.m. in the Chapel of Harwood Home for Funerals. The family received friends immediately following the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to either the Mimi Paige Foundation or Brother Wolf Animal Shelter and Support Center.

The family wishes to express its gratitude to the staff of doctors, nurses and caregivers of sixth floor at St. Joseph Hospital and to the excellent nurse and staff of Mission Palliative Care, whose support and guidance of her family and loving care to her, were truly blessings. Arrangements are in the care of Harwood Home for Funerals. www.harwoodhomefor

Betty Grace

Fox Gragg


Betty Grace Fox Gragg, 75, of Asheville passed away Saturday, October 24, 2015.

Mrs. Gragg was born April 4, 1940 in Yancey County to the late Levi and Flora Johnson Fox. Betty loved horses, gardening, shopping and spending time with her family.

In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband, Marion Gragg and siblings, Roy, Donna Lee, Hubert, Juanita, Leon, Marianne, and Howard.

She is survived by her daughter, Debra Schrader (Gary); son, Tony Gragg (Glenda); sister, Annette Regan; brother, Arrlie Fox; granddaughter, Jennifer Radcliff; and great-grandchildren, Allessandre and Trey.

A Celebration of Life Service was held Monday, October 26, 2015 at 2 p.m. in the chapel of Harwood Home for Funerals with the Rev. Frank Cantrell officiating. Burial followed in Mountain View Memorial Park.

The family received friends one hour prior to the service. Arrangements by Harwood Home for Funerals, harwoodhomefor

Lucile “Lucy”

Ratchford Hestir

Black Mountain

Lucile “Lucy” Ratchford Hestir, age 92, died Saturday, October 24, 2015. A Texas native, Lucy was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Bluford B. Hestir Jr., and son , Brent Hestir.

Surviving are her daughter, Lynn Wegener and husband, Joe, son, Dr. Brad Hestir and wife, Dr. Jean Norris, daughter, Lee Silver and husband, Mike; grandchildren, Laura Wegener Paxton, David Wegener, James Wegener, Naomi Wegener, Travis Silver, and Kaysie Silver, and 8 great-grandchildren.

Lucy's received degrees from the University of Texas and Purdue University. She worked as an aeronautical engineer, inspecting planes for release for combat duty in World War II. Lucy served as Director of Personal Faith and Family Life for the Board of Women's Work of the Presbyterian Church U.S. She finished her career acting as Volunteer Coordinator for the Texas state department of human resources. Lucy was an active member of Black Mountain Presbyterian Church.

A memorial service was held at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church on Monday, November 2, 2015 at 2 p.m. with Rev. Mary Catherine Robinson officiating. A reception took place after the service. Condolences may be made to the family at

Blanche Jane Greene Walker


Blanche Jane Greene Walker, 86, of Lenoir, passed away Monday, October 26, 2015 at Gateway Nursing Center.

Mrs. Walker was born in Avery County to the late Baxter Greene and Mary Cook Greene. She was a housekeeper for Ridgecrest Conference Center for over 40 years and a member of Black Mountain Church of God where she was a Sunday school teacher, volunteer and the church custodian for several years. A loving devoted mother, grandmother who loved reading her bible, working puzzles, growing flowers and vegetables and enjoyed being outside and going for walks.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Spurgeon Walker, her son, James Walker, and three brothers.

Those left to cherish her memory are her sons, Billy Walker and Ernest Walker, both of Black Mountain; her daughter, Mary Walker Moore and husband Jim of Lenoir; three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A funeral service was held Saturday, October 31, 2015 in Pendry’s Chapel at 1 p.m. with Reverend David Crisp officiating. Burial followed at Friendship Baptist Church in Old Fort, NC. The family received friends prior to the service on Saturday from 12-1 p.m.

Pendry’s Lenoir Funeral Home is honored to be serving the family of Blanche Jane Greene Walker. Online condolences to the family may be placed at

Barbara Henline Gouge

Spruce Pine

Barbara Henline Gouge, age 81, of Dale Shook Road in Spruce Pine died Monday, October 26, 2015 at Care Partners John F. Keever Solace Center in Asheville.

Born on April 5, 1934 in Mitchell County, she was the daughter of the late Nelson P. and Belle Sparks Henline. In addition to her parents, she was also preceded in death by a brother, Howard Henline.

Barbara was a member of the Spruce Pine United Methodist Church and sang in the church choir and had played the piano for church and a quartet. She was a member of the Spruce Pine Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star for over 50 years.

Ms. Gouge was a retired librarian from Mayland Community College and enjoyed reading. She enjoyed being outside and gardening. She was a great mother and loved her family. She supported the arts and was active in Democratic politics and served on the board of elections.

She loved to travel and being a part of the Saturday morning Breakfast Club. She played basketball at Harris High School, coached basketball and was a UNC Tarheel fan.

Left to cherish her memories are her son, Eddie G. Gouge of Alexandria, VA; her daughters, Susan G. Clements and husband, John of Black Mountain and Linda Hollifield of Marion; her grandsons, Jonathan Levi Hollifield of Marion and Lukus Anderson Clements of Black Mountain; a brother, Phillip N. Henline of Spruce Pine; several nieces and nephews.

Services were at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, 2015 at the Spruce Pine United Methodist Church with the Rev. Jeremy Troxler officiating. Interment followed in the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church Cemetery. The family receive friends on Friday, Oct. 30, 2015 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. at the church.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorial donations be made to; Spruce Pine United Methodist Church, Givens Highland Farms Activities Account, or your local hospice.

Words of comfort may be left for the family at Webb Funeral Home in Spruce Pine, NC assisted the Gouge family.

Paul R. Becker

Black Mountain

Paul R. Becker, 64, peacefully passed to his heavenly home October 24, 2015, following a lengthy illness at the VA Hospital.

A proud Marine and Vietnam Veteran, he was a dedicated and loving husband, father, friend, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

He was preceded in death by his eldest son. He is survived by his wife, 2 wonderful sons, 4 beautiful granddaughters, 2 gorgeous great-granddaughters, and 1 handsome great-grandson. He was loved by most and will be missed by more.

A graveside service was held at noon, Friday, October 30, 2015 at the Western Carolina State Veteran’s Cemetery. Morris Funeral Home, 304 Merrimon Ave., is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent through