Obituaries of the Swannanoa Valley

Patsy A. Watson Smith


Patsy A. Watson Smith, 71, of Marion, prayed for Jesus to take her home and he answered those prayers on Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 12:20 a.m. at home with her family holding her hand.

Mrs. Smith was born October 21, 1944 in Buncombe County to the late Delmar and Pearl McConnell Watson. She has previously been a resident of McDowell, Forsyth and Cabarrus counties. Patsy managed retail apparel stores for over 20 years. She worked diligently to nurture her three daughters 24/7 and provide a happy and loving home.

In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

Patsy is survived by her loving husband of 55 years, Gene Smith; daughters, Scarlett Miller (Donnie) of Charlotte, NC, Tammy Ferrell (Mark) of Cloverdale, VA, and Christie Hilliard (Milton) of Hillsborough, NC; sister, Alma Watson of Johnson City, TN; brothers, Ron Watson of West Jefferson, NC, John Watson of Concord, NC and Rick Watson of Swannanoa, NC; grandchildren, Nate Miller, Tyler Miller, Emily Hilliard, Chase Ferrell, Spencer Ferrell, and Rebecca Hilliard; many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews; and special friends, Cecil, Pam and Andrew Dunbar.

A Celebration of Life Service was held Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 3 p.m. at Harwood Home for Funerals with Chaplain Richard Anderson officiating. Burial will follow in Ridgecrest Memorial Park.

The family received friends from 1:30 to 3 p.m. prior to the service.

Flowers are accepted and appreciated. Those desiring to make a memorial contribution are encouraged to consider Hospice of McDowell County, 575 Airport Road, Marion, NC 28752.

Those serving as pallbearers were grandsons, Nate Miller, Tyler Miller, Chase Ferrell, Spencer Ferrell, and Andrew Dunbar, and nephew, William Davis.

Patsy loved her family beyond words. Her love for flowers, design, arts and crafts is on display everywhere she’s been. Her classic style, quiet manner, smile and quick wit was truly unique.

Sickness and pain in recent years have not allowed her to do many of her loves, but her sweet smile never faded.

Arrangements by Harwood Home for Funerals,

Rev. Fred Campbell Holder

Black Mountain

Rev. Fred Campbell Holder, age 89, died surrounded by loved ones on May 29, 2016, at Givens Highland Farms Healthcare.

Born in Harnett County, and raised in Lillington, NC, Fred served in the Coast Guard during WWII. He graduated from Davidson College and received an M. Div from Union Theological Seminary in 1954. During his career, Fred also earned an MA at PSCE and a Masters of Education in Guidance and Counseling from UNC-Charlotte. A life-long Presbyterian, Fred worked at the Board of Christian Education (PCUS) in Richmond from 1959-1965 and served several churches in the old Charlotte-Mecklenberg Presbytery, including Amity Presbyterian Church from 1966-1989. He was active in the Synod of North Carolina, including involvement with founding the chaplaincy at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh.

Fred and his wife Jean moved to their beloved Montreat in 1989, where Fred served on the Wilderness Committee, worked at the Nature Center and taught tennis through the Clubs Program at the Montreat Tennis Center. He also worked at the Presbyterian Heritage Center and served as Zoning Commissioner.

Fred is survived by Jean Seagrove Holder, his wife of 65 years; daughter Ann Holder and her partner Frances Kunreuther of Brooklyn, NY; son Patrick Campbell Holder, Patrick’s wife Kaoru Holder and grandson Ian Campbell Holder of Los Angeles, CA. One of nine children born to Daniel Campbell Holder and Hester Morrison Holder, Fred is also survived by his sisters Majorie Freedle of Sanford, NC, Ruth Hinson of Kernersville, NC, and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service was planned for Saturday, June 4, at 2 p.m. at the Black Mountain Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, donations in Fred’s memory can be made to Presbyterian Heritage Center, Montreat, NC (, the Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women, 112 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh, NC 27601 ( or the Highland Farms Employee Appreciation Fund, 200 Tabernacle Road, Black Mountain, NC 28711. Condolences can be made to the family at www.ashevillearea

Emory Allen “AJ” Johnson

Black Mountain

Allen “AJ” Johnson passed away peaceably on Thursday, May 26, 2016 at the age of 58. Allen was the youngest son of Kenneth D. and Joyce (Bowen) Johnson Sr. of Covington, Georgia. At an early age, he attended and joined the First United Methodist Church of Covington. He grew up and lived his early adult life in Covington.

After graduating Newton County Comprehensive High School in 1976, he later earned a degree form Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC). Allen was a born mechanic and loved working with his hands. This led him into several employment paths, always showing his gift of resourcefulness and problem-solving. He worked in the hazardous waste clean-up field for several years, which allowed him to travel the United States. After this endeavor, he owned and operated a successful trucking and hauling business.

Finally he relocated to the Black Mountain area where he did everything from heavy equipment operator and construction to working for Ingles Foods in one of their distribution centers.

Allen is survived by his brother Kenneth (Ken) D. Johnson Jr. and wife Sally, of Bostwick, GA along with a nephew David and Jessica Johnson, two great-nephews Chase and Dallas, two aunts, Emma Bowen and Charlotte Johnson all of Covington GA and several cousins. While Allen was never married or had children of his own, he did have a special young friend who he loved and cared for like a son, Jack Edwards, and a friend “Mr. Paul” Gendron both of Black Mountain.

Per his wishes, Allen’s body will be cremated and ashes scattered over Jackson Lake, with some ashes being interred next to his parents in Lawnwood Memorial Park, with a small graveside service at a later date. No visitation is planned.

Condolences can be made to the family at