Sept. 13 Obituaries of the Swannanoa Valley

Black Mountain News

William Baumbach

Black Mountain

William Baumbach

William John Baumbach, 77, of Black Mountain, passed away peacefully on September 1,2018, at the John Keever Solace Center after a long illness. He was born in Manhattan, New York, on July 18, 1941, the son of William and Mary (Doherty) Baumbach. His parents, older sister, Mary Lou, and his twin sister, Joan, preceded him in death.

He attended Catholic grammar and high schools and St. John’s University. Bill served in the United States Air Force in Vietnam in the Philippines and worked for many years in hotel management in New York and Florida. He loved flowers and plants, watching sports of all kinds, classic cars, reading, Black Mountain and life. He was a member of St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church.

Bill was a kind and compassionate man with an infectious sense of humor. He is survived by extended family and his wife, Donna, whom he made smile every day for more than 35 years and who loved him with her whole heart.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made in his name to the church at 102 Andrew Place, Swannanoa, NC 28778, or the food bank of Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry at P.O. Box 235, Black Mountain, NC 28711. 

Condolences may be sent to the family at

Ruth Duckworth

Connelly Springs

Ruth Duckworth

Ruth Jordan Duckworth, 83, of Connelly Springs passed away Tuesday, September 4, 2018.

Mrs. Duckworth was born July 12, 1935 in Buncombe County to the late Edward and Allie Thompson Jordan.  Ruth was a woman of faith, loved the Lord and enjoyed spending time with her family.  She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, friend and will be missed by all who knew her.  Mrs. Duckworth was a member of Oak Ridge Baptist Church and had retired from Kearfott with 39 years of service.

In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband, Robert “Bob” Duckworth.

She is survived by her daughters, Kathy Duckworth of Connelly Springs and Elaine Shope (Terry) of Asheville; brothers, Earl Jordan of Nebo and Frank Jordan of Black Mountain; grandchildren, Benjamin (Pam) Sexton, Simon (Brandee) Sexton, Dakotah (Kaitlin) Duckworth, Holly Shope, and Brandon Shope; and great grandchildren, Tyler (Makala) Sexton, Christopher “Pooky” Sexton, Paislee Sexton, Delia Shope and Peyton Shope.

A Celebration of Life Service was held Sept. 7, in the chapel of Harwood Home for Funerals. 

The family received friends immediately following the service. 

Burial was in the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Burke Hospice & Palliative Care, 1721 Enon Rd., Valdese, N.C., 28690.

Arrangements by Harwood Home for Funerals (

Reba Koon

Cumming, Georgia

Reba Joyce Koon, age 81, of Cumming, GA, formerly of Mooresville, NC, passed away peacefully on Monday, September 3, 2018. Reba was born in 1937, to the late Parnell and Julia Lewis.

She was an educator and received her Master's degree from Winthrop College in SC. Reba was a talented artist, loved singing and going to the beach. She always kept her friends close to her heart. She attended Williamson's Chapel United Methodist Church in Mooresville. She was a loving wife, mother, nana and friend. In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband, Grady Gordon Koon, Sr. and brothers, Eugene and George Lewis.

She is survived by her children, Paula Jeanette Koon and Grady Gordon Koon, Jr., and his wife Carol Koon; granddaughter, Leigha Joyce Crum and her husband Patrick Crum; great granddaughter, Hadley Mae Crum; and loving true friend, Cloie Koon.

A memorial service was held on Friday, Sept. 7, at the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain.

Ingram Funeral Home in Cumming is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be made at

Sarah "Sally" Thomas

Black Mountain

Sarah "Sally" Pack Thomas

Sarah Pack Thomas, 95, of Black Mountain, NC passed away on Friday, August 31, 2018 in Asheville.  Sarah (Sally) was born in Beaumont, TX to Wallace Pack and Evelyn L. Pack on April 21, 1923. She was raised with her two younger siblings, Margaret Pack Buchanan (93) and Robert Wallace Pack (deceased). After attending boarding school in Dallas at the Hockaday School, she attended Grove City College in Grove City, PA where her family had a long history. She graduated in 1943 with a B.A. in History and married her husband, Horace J. Thomas III whom she met at Grove City College. They married as he went to join the Army Air Corps in World War II, and Sally lived with her in-laws while raising her two young girls, Sally Sue (Davis) and Lynne (Diaz-Rico). Once Horace (Bud) returned from the war, he attended law school. After his graduation, they relocated to Beaver, PA where he was a trust officer at Beaver Trust Company most of his career. Along came their third daughter, Carol, and they raised their girls in Beaver through high school. 

While a stay-at-home mom, Sally was involved in many community activities and was an avid reader, seamstress and mechanic. She constantly tinkered with a 1930 Model A named Millie which kept her busy.

She and Bud moved in 1971 to Bud’s parent’s home in Clinton, PA where they lived until his death in 1981. Sally then moved into Highland Farms in Black Mountain where she resided since 1986. She remained active as a member of the Montreat Scottish Society, Montreat Presbyterian Church, and as a library volunteer at Givens Highland Farms.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Horace J. Thomas III; her brother, R. Wallace Pack; and her parents.

Sally is survived by her daughters, Sally Sue, Lynne and Carol; her sister Margaret; a granddaughter, Eva; two grandsons, Daniel and Voltaire; and 2 great-granddaughters.

A memorial service for Sarah was held Sept. 8, at Montreat Presbyterian Church, Upper Anderson in Anderson Auditorium.

In lieu of flowers, anyone wishing to donate in her memory can do so to Montreat Presbyterian Church at PO Box 577, Montreat, NC 28757; the Resident’s Fund for Givens Highland Farms at 200 Tabernacle Rd, Black Mountain, NC 28711; or to the John F. Keever Solace Center in Asheville at 21 Belvedere Rd, Asheville, NC 28803.

The family wishes to extend their gratitude to the nurses of Interim Health Care and to the John F. Keever Solace Center in Asheville for their care and support in her final days. Penland Family Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Thomas Family. The online memorial register is available at

Robb Ross

Homosassa, Florida

Robb Ross

Robb E. Ross, M.D., 82, of Homosassa, FL, passed away on Sat., Sept. 1, 2018 at his home. A native of Beloit, Wisconsin, he was born Feb. 17, 1936 to Maurice and Charlot (Dackow) Ross, one of two children. 

Robb was a University of Florida alumnus who began his studies in the field of Pharmacy and graduated first in his class. He then went on to earn his doctorate in medicine and began a long 20-plus-year career in private practice in Holiday, FL. 

He retired to Homosassa in 1988 with his wife of nearly 31 years, the former Susan Miller, who survives him. 

A passionate lifelong golfer, Robb and Susan enjoyed playing golf together in Black Mountain, N.C. and Sugarmill Woods.  Dr. Ross also loved the outdoors in general and one favorite activity was cutting and gathering wood for their wood stoves.

Robb was also an avid collector of wind chimes. In addition to his wife Susan, he is survived by a son, Robb E. Ross, Jr. of Ft. Lauderdale; daughters Jill Kubinski of Clearwater, FL and Lisa Garneau (husband David) of Virgilina, VA and grandchildren Amanda  Kubinski of Clearwater, FL, Derek Kubinski of Tampa, FL and Nathaniel  Kubinski of Largo, FL. 

In addition to his parents, Dr. Ross was preceded in death by a son-in-law, Edward Kubinski of Clearwater, FL and a brother, Peter Ross of Brodhead, WI.  Wilder Funeral Home (, Homosassa, Florida.