Obituaries of the Swannanoa Valley

Sarah Jane


Berne, Indiana

Surrounded by family, Sarah Jane Baumgartner’s radiant spirit flew home on January 14, 2016 in her beloved mountains near Asheville, North Carolina, where she spent summers. She was born on October 2, 1944 to Hallman Schindler and Maxiene Lantz. Sarah had a strong faith in Jesus Christ and was generous, hilarious, and kind. She loved all regardless of race, religion, social status, or economic background, and had the rare gift of discovering common ground within any group of people. She reminded us to live fearlessly and simply love one another. Sarah lived out loud and found beauty in all things, but particularly enjoyed Edisto Beach, the Western North Carolina mountains, and Indiana sunsets. She was one-of-a-kind and will be greatly missed by all whose lives she touched.

Sarah is survived by her husband Dennie Baumgartner; siblings Sally Stuckey, Virginia Lichtenberger, Dick Lantz, and Janis Stover; daughters Holly Baumgartner and Heidi Kloepper; sons-in-law Shawn Swartz and Darren Kloepper; and grandchildren Sequoia Rose and Elijah Baumgartner, Madison, Caroline, Sarah, Joseph, Daniel, Will, and Tate Kloepper

A memorial service will be held at the First Mennonite Church in Berne, Indiana on Saturday, January 30 at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the First Mennonite Church in care of the Syrian Refugee Project, a cause dear to her heart and chosen by her. Arrangements by Northern Indiana Funeral Care of Fort Wayne, Indiana, northernindianafuneral

Lyman Brett White


Lyman Brett White of Swannanoa, NC, passed away on December 2, 2015 at the age of 87. Born in Nyack, New York to James Henry White and Lillian Victoria Owen White, Brett and his siblings (sisters Joy and Ruth, brother Harry) were raised in Bethel, Connecticut. Brett graduated in 1946 from George School, Newtown, Pennsylvania. He attended Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut before being employed as a Sales Representative and Office Manager with Bard-Parker, a division of Becton, Dickinson and Company.

Brett married Theodora N. Whittaker in 1951, and they had four daughters together. During this time, Brett pursued and accepted a position with Church World Service, the relief, development and refugee assistance arm of the National Council of Churches. The family was sent to Jerusalem, Jordan in 1963 where Brett and his team were instrumental in the building of roads, schools and wells to provide sanitary drinking water.

After three years, the family returned to the United States where Brett was involved with the relief effort in Haiti before accepting a position as an Associate Director for Material Aids at CWS headquarters in New York City.

Brett left CWS to pursue his interests in franchising and real estate syndication in Florida. A lifelong Quaker, Brett was associated with the Palm Beach Friends Meeting, the Miami Friends meeting and was a representative of or attended the Friends United Meeting, the Southeast Yearly Meeting and the Friends General Conference. Brett was the Business Director for Pendle Hill, a Quaker study, retreat and conference center in Wallingford, Pennsylvania from 1972-74.

A profound event in Brett’s life was the loss of his daughter, Marcia Robertson White, in 1979.

In 1986 Brett, a resident of Swannanoa, met Ruth Passmore Miller; he was devoted to her until her death in 2007.

Brett is survived by his second wife, Ellie J. Essink White, three daughters, Lorna Brett (Robert Willis), Kendra (Frank Skellen) and Camela (Benjamin Dicus), five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at the Swannanoa Valley Friends Meeting House on Center Avenue in Black Mountain, at 2 p.m. Feb. 6, In honor of his life, donations made be made to Church World Service (

Rev. John and

“Bunny” Bobak

Ocala, Fla.

The Rev. John Bobak Jr., former pastor of Faith Community Church in Black Mountain, went to be with God on Nov. 20. His wife, Agnes “Bunny” Kulhavy Bobak, went to the Lord on Jan. 8. The couple was living in Ocala, Fla., at the time.

John Bobak was born March 13, 1922 in Butler, PA to John and Leona Bobak. Serving God was always important to the family, and at the age of 14, the younger John felt called to the Christian ministry. He served in the U.S. Army in World War II as a medic. After his honorable discharge, he married Agnes “Bunny” Kulhavy, whom he had met at the annual Slovak Church of God camp meeting. He attended Anderson College in Indiana as they started a family.

Pastor of Faith Community Church for about 10 years, John served as pastor of six different congregations, including Royal Chapel in Hickory. After retiring, he served as interim pastor at numerous churches. He was a volunteer chaplain at Veteran’s Hospital in Swannanoa. A memorial service was held at the College Park Church of God in Ocala on Nov. 30 and at Royal Chapel on Dec. 13. Internment was at Bushnell Veteran’s Cemetery.

Bunny Bobak was the sixth of seven daughters born to immigrant parents. She was born in Sharon, PA on May 2, 1923. After graduating high school in June 1942, she entered the defense industry during WWII. After the war, she married John Bobak and helped him earn his degree to become a minister of the gospel while they started a family of two girls and a boy.

Bunny volunteered in childen’s and women’s ministries while developing her skills in various crafts, as well as sponsoring parolees from the women’s prison in Swannanoa. After retiring in Black Mountain, the couple moved to Ocala, Florida to live closer to their two daughters and grandchildren. There they volunteered at the local Church of God until their health limited their abilities.

They are survived by two daughters, Doreen McRae of Ocala and Nadine Long of Palatka, Florida; one son, Rodney Bobak of Morganton, NC; six grandchildren, Kelle McRae Boyer, Mark McRae, Justin Long, Katie Long, Sarah Bobak and Jonelle Bobak; six great-grandchildren, Kayla McRae, Micah McRae, Mya McRae, Katherine Boyer, Nathan Boyer and Brandon Boyer; and Bunny’s youngest sister, Ruth Kulhavy Rucek.

A memorial service for Bunny will be held in Ocala on Jan. 30.

Doris Lynch

Old Fort

Sister Doris Lynch Corpening (MomMaw) departed this earthly life and entered into eternal life on January 19, 2016. Sister Doris was a faithful member of the Catawba View Missionary Baptist Church where she served as head of the Hospitality Ministry, Secretary of the Pastor Aid Ministry, and a member of the Gospel Choir.

She is preceded in death by her husband Kenneth (Cocky) Corpening, sons , Allen, James Edward and Kenneth Jr., and sister Mary Kyles.

Those left to cherish her memory are two daughters Wilma (Bert) Lytle of Black Mountain, NC, and Rev. Teresa Kelly of the home; two sons Paul (Sherry) of Columbia, Missouri and William Corpening of Spindale, NC; 14 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.

Homegoing services will be held at Catawba View Missionary Baptist Church, Old Fort, NC on January 28, 2016 at 2 p.m.. Visitation will be at 1 p.m.; the Rev. Ronald Sullivan will officiate. Interment will immediately follow at Campground Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Hart Funeral Service, Asheville, NC.

Elizabeth Hauser

Black Mountain

Sarah Elizabeth Hauser went to reside with her Father in Heaven on January 21, 2016, shortly after her 9 month birthday.

Sarah was diagnosed at 16 weeks in utero with a rare congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Although Sarah’s illness made her body fragile, her spirit was full of joy and laughter.

During Sarah’s short life she touched many hearts. Her gentle smile and sweet temperament were enjoyed by all around her. She was full of grace that showed all that each and every day is a blessing and an opportunity to create lasting memories.

Sarah is survived by her devoted parents, David and Crystal Hauser of Black Mountain, NC; sisters Lila and Eleanor Hauser and brothers Charles and William Hauser. On her mother’s side: great-grandparents Spencer E. Leifheit, Sr and Delores Dorothy Melton of Tucson, AZ; grandparents Ray and Susan Ratheal of Bristol, TN; Aunt April Jones and Uncles Brad Ratheal and Ray Ratheal; cousins Gally, Fox, Victor and Jackson, Jr. Jones and Kylee, Tyler, Karsten and Selah Ratheal. On her father’s side: great-grandmother Phyllis Cunningham of Canton, NY; grandparents Lawrence and Barbara Hauser of Cornelius, NC; Aunts Christine Mason and Kate Smith and Uncle Matthew Hauser; cousins Brody and Calen Smith and Oliver and Tessia Mason.

The memorial service will be held Friday January 29, 2016, from 6-8 pm at First Baptist Church, 130 Montreat Road, Black Mountain, NC. There will be a collation after the service.